Educators Endorse Teacher Ed Rankings From NCTQ, U.S. News

Here is an update for the teacher education program rankings project, due out in 2012.

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The National Council on Teacher Quality's National Review of Education Schools, which is being done in partnership with U.S. News, is well underway. The goal of the review is to rate more than 1,000 of the largest teacher preparation programs in the United States by awarding grades based on each program's performance in 17 different standards on key elements of the design of a teacher training program, including the selectivity of their admissions, how well schools prepare teachers to teach reading, and classroom management training. The current goal is to publish the results in fall 2012.

Here's an update on the project: NCTQ has posted a great deal of information on its website about the standards and indicators that it plans to use in the rankings, and has published a detailed Frequently Asked Questions document that covers many of the issues that relate to the rankings.

Since NCTQ started the review in early 2011, many in the teacher education community have spoken out against NCTQ's ranking project. Both NCTQ and U.S. News have received protest letters detailing concerns with the review. NCTQ has created a web page, Transparency Central, that has many of those letters on it as well as an up-to-date, state-by-state status of how the data collection efforts are progressing and whether NCTQ is using open records requests to try to obtain the survey data.

There are many leaders in the field of education who are openly backing NCTQ's efforts. A number of leaders in education and education organizations from across the country are endorsing NCTQ's work; those endorsements are listed on Support for NCTQ's National Review of Teacher Prep.

One of the recent endorsements for NCTQ's rankings came from eight state school education chiefs who are part of the Chiefs for Change group, a coalition of state school chiefs that favor education reform. They said in their endorsement that:

[G]reat teachers make great students. Preparing teachers with the knowledge and skills to be effective educators is paramount to improving student achievement. Ultimately, colleges of education should be reviewed the same way we propose evaluating teachers—based on student learning. Until that data becomes available in every state, Chiefs for Change supports the efforts of the National Council on Teacher Quality to gather research-based data and information about the nation's colleges of education. This research can provide a valuable tool for improving the quality of education for educators. Schools of education must equip teachers with the ability to effectively prepare students for an increasingly competitive global economy because the true success of these programs is measured by K-12 student achievement—whether students taught by graduates are being equipped for success in college and their careers." 

It's clear that some in the education field agree with the evaluations that NCTQ and U.S. News are working on, while others strongly disagree. NCTQ and U.S. News will continue to move ahead with teacher preparation program rankings.

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