WASHINGTON—Statement by Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, on the Education Trust’s report, "Preparing and Advancing Teachers and School Leaders—A New Approach for Federal Policy."
"The Education Trust should be commended for its continuing dedication to improving teacher preparation and recognizing its importance in strengthening educational quality for all students, especially poor, minority and at-risk students.
"The trust’s recommendations support many of the points made in our 2012 "Raising the Bar" report, including the need to raise the rigor of teacher preparation programs, support prospective teachers with effective clinical experiences to assure their readiness to enter the profession, and apply standards equally to traditional and alternative programs. Where we differ is on how to hold teacher preparation programs accountable.
"The trust recommends an accountability system for teacher preparation programs that relies on how well its graduates’ K-12 students do on standardized tests. This back-mapping measurement is inappropriate and unsound as a high-stakes measure of the performance of teacher preparation programs, given all the variables involved. It would have been far more helpful to focus on how to help improve all programs, rather than pointing out examples of states that use test scores as performance measures.
"The AFT believes that all stakeholders must collaborate to ensure high standards; that teaching should have a bar-like, universal entry assessment that includes clinical practice, content knowledge and performance assessment; and that practicing professionals in K-12 and higher education should be the primary actors in ensuring the quality and coherence of teacher preparation. We are pleased that the Education Trust’s recommendations echo many of these suggestions for improving teacher preparation."