Study: U.S. Teacher Training 'Dismal'

A report released on Tuesday by the National Council on Teacher Quality finds that U.S. teacher training is “an industry of mediocrity” that produces teachers without a clue.

“The results were dismal,” said Kate Walsh, president of the bipartisan research group. Walsh told Reuters that new teachers "don't know how to teach reading, don't know how to master a classroom, don't know how to use data."

The comprehensive study conducted detailed analyses of 608 colleges and universities that have teacher training programs and partial data on 522 more institutions and programs that account for training 170,000 new teachers each year, or roughly 80% of all new teachers in America.

Several colleges attempted to thwart the study. Some even tried to block the Council from obtaining data about their teacher training programs.

"Our members feel like they've been strong-armed," National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities director Stephanie Giesecke told Reuters. "These are not valid ways of rating our programs."

The dissenting institutions took issue with the Council’s methodology, which examined a host of factors including: selectivity of admissions into teacher education programs, whether would-be teachers have to take extensive course work in the areas they will teach in, and hands-on classroom teaching to train future educators the most effective teaching methods.

Universities in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Missouri went so far as to fight the National Council on Teacher Quality in court. The Council prevailed against the colleges.

The study will hardly come as a surprise to most Americans who already know and believe America’s education system is broken. According to Gallup, over half (53%) of Americans are “dissatisfied” with the quality of American public education.

"Teacher preparation needs to be reformed from top to bottom," said Superintendent of the Houston Independent School District Terri Grier.

The National Council on Teacher Quality receives funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, and others.


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