New Report: Views of Education Professors

Posted on October 04, 2010

What are they thinking?

Lately, teacher colleges and teacher preparation have come in for scrutiny and heavy criticism. Authors of a new report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute surveyed a diverse group of education professors on this and a range of issues facing the teaching profession, such as teacher tenure, state and national standards, measures of accountability, and alternative certification programs. The authors state that the ranks of teacher educators are “suffused” with “idealism, good intentions, and progressivist thinking,” showing less concern for educator challenges like managing classrooms and student discipline, implementing differentiated instruction, and working with state standards. They found that most education professors believe their field needs to change, yet are ambivalent about alternatives that recruit teachers through nontraditional paths (with the exception of Teach for America). Most professors offer some support for a number of policy initiatives aimed at improving the teaching corps, but oppose the use of student assessment data to evaluate teachers. Many of the questions in the survey yielded near 50-50 splits, indicating a professoriate that is increasingly segmented into opposing camps. The authors based their report on survey findings from a nationwide, randomly selected sample of 716 teacher educators in four-year colleges and universities.

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