Standardized Teacher Training Initiatives Re-Emerge

The Obama Administration formally announced an initiative to improve teacher trainings across the U.S. on Friday morning. The initiative was previously introduced by Education Secretary Arne Duncan in 2012, but is now being drafted for implementation within the next year.

The program hopes to track teacher’s progress in the workforce in order to determine the most effective teacher preparation programs in the country. The initiative operates under the logic that successful training programs produce the best educators, who in turn provide the best education for students across the country.

The initiative would standardize state teacher education programs, focusing on metrics like teacher retention rates, employment trends post graduation and students’ test scores. New financial aid packages in teacher education programs would factor in the student test scores of graduates of that college and state rankings of teacher training programs will also partially determine TEACH grant eligibility, an effort by the government to support and fun the most successful training programs in the country.

Teacher effectiveness has been in the education reform spotlight as Common Core standards are incorporated in schools across the U.S. this year, linking teacher evaluations to standardized test scores. The Obama administration considers the teacher training initiative a similar step in the right direction, providing support for teachers throughout their careers where there has been none before.

According to the White House blog, “the vast majority of new teachers – almost two-thirds – report that their teacher preparation program left them unprepared for the realities of the classroom. Moreover, for decades, institutions that prepare teachers have had lacked the feedback needed to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and had little information on where program graduates go to teach, how long they stay, and how they perform in the classroom. Educators and leaders across the country are exploring new and innovative efforts to make teacher preparation more hands-on, relevant, and effective.”