WASHINGTON—AFT President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement on the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education’s report on the state of teacher preparation; “Colleges of Education: A National Portrait” indicates that enrollment at teacher colleges and in teacher prep programs is down, despite a growing need for teachers:
“This report sounds the same alarm bell we’ve been hearing from our members: that aspiring teachers are finding it more and more difficult to enter the field and stay in the profession long-term. Stagnant wages, insufficient training and support, and overreach from so-called reformers who want to deny educators the latitude they need to build thriving classrooms, have led to this impending crisis. Declining enrollments and teacher shortages lead to emergency certifications and other short-term solutions, but they don’t solve the issues at the root of preparing teachers. We wouldn’t let an untrained pilot fly an airplane, how can we send an unprepared teacher into a classroom?
“We are constantly working to strengthen our public schools, and one critical factor in ensuring our teachers know what to teach and how to teach it is teacher training. But the report’s conclusion—that the perception of teaching as an undesirable career is the main reason for the enrollment declines—requires solutions beyond teacher prep. If the actions of teachers, parents and communities in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona and beyond this spring weren’t enough of a wake-up call to invest more in public education, the findings in this report should be.”