Review of Proposed 2015 Federal Teacher Preparation Regulations

Posted by National Education Policy Center on February 2, 2015

The problem with teacher-prep mandates

A new report from the National Education Policy Center finds that proposed federal regulations that place new mandates on teacher-education programs would likely harm, rather than help, efforts to improve educational outcomes. The proposed Teacher Preparation Regulations, issued under Title II of the Higher Education Act, would require states to assess all teacher-preparation programs annually and rate them as “exceptional,” “effective,” “at-risk,” or “low-performing,” based in large part on an approach that attributes gains in student test scores to teachers, then attributes teacher “scores” to the teacher-education programs they attended. The regulations also would require states to offer technical assistance to programs rated “low-performing,” which would also risk losing state approval, state funding, and federal financial aid for students. The reviewer finds the draft regulations underestimate implementation costs. They would blame individual teachers — rather than root systemic causes — for the gap separating outcomes of affluent and white students from those of disadvantaged and/or minority students. The reviewer finds the regulations rely on narrow definitions of “readiness to teach,” and will discourage teachers from working in high-needs schools. They may also limit access to the profession for prospective teachers of color and those from lower-income backgrounds by choking off federal financial aid.

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