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An educational priority: new teachers, ready for the classroom

Feb 6, 2013
Dane Linn

Oftentimes, our favorite subject in school had more to do with who was teaching it than it did with the actual subject matter.  Teachers are incredibly important to the learning process and to ensuring all students are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in college, career and life.

That’s why it is particularly alarming for me to read the National Council on Teacher Quality’s (NCTQ) 2012 State Teacher Policy Yearbook. For its 2012 installment, NCTQ explored the question: What are states doing to ensure that they are systematically preparing classroom-ready new teachers?

The good news is that many states are investing resources into better identifying effective teachers and helping those who are already in the classroom be more effective. Unfortunately, NCTQ also found that most states are not setting rigorous enough standards or high enough expectations for what teachers should know to be licensed and are thus missing an opportunity to get it right from the start.

NCTQ reports that of the 1,730 undergraduate teacher preparation programs reviewed, 1,174 are not sufficiently selective in their admissions policies.  A breakdown by state shows that in 30 states, 75 percent or more of programs fail to set a high enough bar for program admissions. Pennsylvania ranks the best, with only 22 percent not sufficiently selective; but not one program in Alaska, Connecticut, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota or West Virginia is selective enough.

Improving teacher quality is a priority issue for BRT CEOs because they know how incredibly important the person at the front of the classroom is to student learning and achievement.  With results like these from NCTQ, we know that we have to remain laser-focused on this issue.  It’s too important to the future of America and Americans for us not to be.