Report on teacher training programs rips local universities

A report released last week by the National Council on Teacher Quality, an advocacy group founded in 2000 and boasting board membership of veterans from the former Reagan, Clinton, and George W. Bush administrations, blasts the quality of education in teacher-training programs at 1,130 universities across the country, including several here in San Diego.

Programs with low standards for acceptance - three-quarters of teaching programs studied aren’t limited to students in the top 50 percent of their high school graduating classes - are churning out far too many teachers, the Council says. Of 239,000 teachers trained each year, only about 98,000 land jobs in education.

Further, the training these prospective educators receive is substandard – three in four education programs don’t use the latest available techniques in preparing teachers to help students learn to read, and only seven percent ensure that student teaching is done under the supervision of a veteran with proven effectiveness (most are paired with any teacher willing to allow a student in the classroom).

The report ranks schools on a one-to-four star program, with the weakest receiving no stars and a “Consumer Alert” warning. After doing ten pilot studies, a ratings system with 18 criteria including classroom management, math teaching skills, and several relating to reading development were adopted for use in the overall study.

Overall, local results were disappointing. CSU San Marcos received one star for its secondary education graduate program, while its elementary program received zero. San Diego State University and the University of San Diego received the same rankings. Point Loma Nazarene University fared slightly better, receiving one star for its elementary program and 1.5 for secondary education.

The standout, and the only local school to make the report’s “honor roll” by earning three or more stars (just nine percent of all schools studied achieved this rank) was UC San Diego, earning 3.5 stars for its secondary education graduate program. UCSD does not offer elementary education coursework.

Local for-profit Bridgepoint Education, which offers education training via its Iowa-based Ashford University mainly to online students, was not included in the rankings.

“A program’s low rating does not suggest that many of its graduates don’t go on to become capable teachers,” cautions the report. “What the low rating does suggest is that the program isn’t adding sufficient value, so that someone who wants to become a teacher would be better off investing time and tuition dollars elsewhere.”

“Good programs will thrive. Weak programs will either improve or wither.”

The full text of the report is available here.

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Typical. This post has been up for about a full day, and not a single comment. Anyone who came out of those low-scoring programs should be up in arms, especially if he or she completed the program recently and is still unemployed.

The comment about how people may still become successful teachers is a good one. Most of what is required is not really teachable, but is rather part of the teacher's personality, attitude, and dedication. But we still insist that teachers in the state have a minimum of a "fifth year" of college to be qualified.

The high ranking of the UCSD program is a bit of a surprise. I wasn't impressed by it, and the recommendation is that it drew a better student than the others. A couple decades ago, that campus did have elementary teacher preparation; why it was dropped is anyone's guess. They did emphasize fields that were not glutted with teachers, such as math, science, and English. There are always plenty of those who want to teach social studies, PE, music, and vocational subjects.

The surprising part is the comment that the system is turning out far more teachers than are hired. All I've heard for years is that there is either a current "shortage" of teachers, or a looming shortage. Maybe ten years ago, we had a VUSD trustee heavily involved in some sort of program to insure that the teachers who would be needed in the future were there. At the time it seemed silly, and if the statistic that the US currently overproduces teachers by a factor of about 2.4:1 is true, was definitely goofy. There are spot shortages in certain fields at certain times, but here in San Diego County, no teaching job ever goes unfilled by a qualified person. Heck, to most of the nation, this is the Garden of Eden, and thousands of people will do almost anything within reason to locate here.

This is a bogus study, done by a bogus group--all very pro Common Core, which is quite the rage these days.

The worst of it is that data mining becomes the driving concern with Common Core.

All part of the corporatization of the public school system, something that I find wrong and frightening.

OK, Eastlaker, valid or no, that study should be provoking a huge number of comments, and only you and I have bothered. This is typical of what I've seen before when a blog post involved UCSD. As in no comments at all, no outrage, no braggadocio, no nothing. Is anyone reading these blogs?

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