Preparing Teachers: Building Evidence for Sound Policy

Posted by on May 10, 2010

How much difference does the difference make?

Which pathway produces better-qualified teachers has been the subject of debate, but the distinction between traditional and alternative pathways is not clear-cut, according to a new report from the National Research Council on teacher education programs. Scant data limit the ability to draw conclusions about which approaches are effective or how to design better ones. There is broad overlap in content and practice between school categories, and as much variation within each category as between them. The study recommends that the U.S. Department of Education develop a national education data network to integrate existing information on teacher preparation, drive the collection of new data, and provide needed information to researchers and policymakers working toward better approaches to preparing K-12 teachers. More than 200,000 students complete teacher preparation programs in the U.S. every year. Between 70 and 80 percent are enrolled in traditional bachelor’s or master’s degree programs in colleges and universities. The rest enter through one of about 130 alternative routes, such as Teach for America or Teaching Fellows, which seek to recruit and train teachers without traditional degrees or certification.

See the report:

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