Education Week - June 12, 2013 - (Page 39)

EDUCATION WEEK n JUNE 12, 2013 n 39 tion will be judged. With the renewed focus on teacher preparation across the nation, this is an opportune time for CAEP and others to influence changes in the states. To many people, the most important outcome of a preparation program is teacher effectiveness—the extent to which program graduates help their K-12 students learn. High-quality instruction is the main in- school driver for student achievement, yet only a few states assess teacher effectiveness in this way. Even so, about 20 states are headed in this direction through federal Race to the Top grants and other initiatives. Whether university faculty and administrators support this direction, analyses and judgments will be made about their programs based on the performance of program graduates. The classroom-teaching performance of program graduates is a key outcome that programs, accrediting bodies, and states ought to use as a quality measure. No single measure tells us everything about a program or its graduates, and so we think classroom-teaching performance is a second key outcome measure. In fact, there are two performance-related measures here: the teaching performance of candidates during the preparation program and their teaching quality after graduating. As the Measures of Effective Teaching, or MET, project has reported, a system of classroom observation must support fair judgments based on reliable and valid findings for individual teachers and for groups of teachers. Currently, only a few classroom protocols used by teacher education programs or in schools meet standards of rigor. Production of new teachers in high-demand fields is highly relevant to the needs of schools and their students. For this rea- son, program accountability and accreditation should judge how well each program contributes effective teachers for shortage fields and high-need schools. Given chronic overproduction of new teachers by some programs, states ought to enact policies that cap the number of new teacher licenses granted in low-demand areas like elementary education and create more incentives that attract students into high-demand fields, such as mathematics and the physical sciences. Preparation-program accreditation and accountability must take account of the content knowledge and professional knowledge of teacher-candidates and program graduates. Praxis and similar educator assessments have been used by states for many years, but few outside (or inside) the profession see them as credible indicators of teacher knowledge or skills. According to the National Research Council, these tests are not designed to “predict the degree of teaching success a beginning teacher will demonstrate.” And the U.S. Department of Education says 95 percent or more of all those who take teaching exams in the United States pass. CAEP’s draft standards document calls for 80 percent passing scores for all program graduates as a quality indicator. The draft PAGE 40 > EDWARD CROWE is a senior adviser to the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation in Princeton, N.J. MICHAEL ALLEN is a Washington-based education consultant. CHARLES COBLE is the co-director of the Science and Mathematics Teacher Imperative initiative of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. The three authors are partners in Teacher Preparation Analytics LLC, in Washington. Teaching Toward Utopia By Julie Gorlewski O RONALD THORPE President and CEO, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Board certification [for teachers] needs to become the norm, not the exception. It should be what every practitioner aspires to and what the profession expects and supports. Every other profession has followed this model. In medicine, more than 90 percent of physicians are board-certified. In education, the number is less than 3 percent. Professions build the public trust and eventually their own status through the consistency of skills and knowledge found throughout those who represent the profession.” ANNE UDALL Vice president of professional development, Northwest Evaluation Association It is clear to me that there is a growing need to introduce assessment literacy in preservice programs. Assessments can be one of the most significant tools available to a successful educator. But such a reality demands teacher-preparation programs that teach assessment literacy.” ne of the greatest challenges for teachers is preparing students to live in—ideally, to succeed in—a world that does not yet exist. Teacher PREP In a democracy, teachers must prepare students to participate in the creation of that world. As teacher-educators, we seek to prepare our students to prepare their future students for this approaching reality—a world that they must imagine and construct, simultaneously. Teaching future teachers, like standing in a mirrored room, is endlessly reflective. It is both fascinating and terrifying. This work involves more than transmission of content; it requires commitment to a future we cannot fully envision. It requires commitment to the people in front of us, materially and metaphorically. A democratic society needs participants who think critically and act ethically. Teacher-educators, then, must model these characteristics. It is not enough to be compliant and obedient policy implementers; we must critically evaluate policies, advocate for our students and their future students, and work within the system to effect change. We cannot expect to cultivate thoughtful educators who are passionate about their craft and devoted to their students if we do not embody these qualities. This is not linear work; it involves knowledge, skills, and the proper dispositions. It takes time and requires explicit attention to every decision we make. It cannot be standardized, nor can it be measured by a standardized instrument. Teacher preparation is a labor of love that cannot be reduced to modules in a training program. Current reform movements aim to improve teacher education by, among other things, imposing a standardized final assessment for certification. Regardless of its particulars, this approach denies what decades of research have confirmed: High-stakes standardized assessments have detrimental effects on students and learning. Standardized assessments promote competition, narrow curriculum, and focus on lower-level thinking. They undermine the trust that is essential to the relationship between student and teacher. As teacher-educators, we confront a version of the dilemma that K-12 teachers deal with every day: How can we comply with mandates without modeling submissive obedience? Where is the space between cooperation and resistance? We cannot ignore required assessments. Because our students seek certification, we are obliged to participate. But, at the same time, we must model active citizenship, critical thinking, and advocacy for ethical practice. To do this, we must remain steadfast in our commitment to critical reflection and continuous improvement. I began my career in the field of education as a secondary school English teacher. The experience of working with young people who hated school and resisted the attempts of their teachers to engage them made me wonder what had happened between kindergarten and 8th grade. Why had such eager learners become so disaffected? I earned a master’s degree in elementary education, through which I learned a great deal about teaching, then spent over 15 years as a classroom teacher, discovering, but never perfecting, the craft of the practice. Still seeking to understand the interconnections among students, schools, and society, I earned a doctorate and entered higher education. As a teacher-educator, I continue to wrestle with the same enduring tensions that I faced in my K-12 classrooms. These tensions involve big questions, such as: How can I develop meaningful, constructive relationships with students? How can I balance high standards with reasonable expectations? What knowledge and skills are essential, and what learning experiences will support these? How should student learning be assessed? My concerns extend as well to what seem to “ Teacher preparation is a labor of love that cannot be reduced to modules in a training program.” be trivial issues: Should attendance and participation count toward achievement? Are group grades fair? Do late submissions result in a lower score, regardless of quality? Does this moment call for pushing or patience? All these questions emanate from one guiding principle: How can I improve? Not how can I improve my students’ scores, but how can I improve the process of teaching and learning, a process that is complex, multifaceted, social, and intensely human. To improve my practice requires critical, authentic reflection wherein I consider what worked, and what didn’t, and why. PAGE 40 > JULIE GORLEWSKI is an assistant professor of secondary education at the State University of New York at New Paltz and an incoming co-editor of English Journal. Her published works include Power, Resistance, and Literacy: Writing for Social Justice (Information Age, 2012) and a forthcoming co-edited volume, Left Behind in the Race to the Top: Realities of School Reform (Information Age). “

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - June 12, 2013

Education Week - June 12, 2013
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Obama Plan Champions E-Rate Fixes
States Seek Flexibility on Testing
FOCUS ON: SCHOOL LEADERS: Chicago Initiative Aims to Upgrade Principal Pipeline
Questions Arise About Algebra 2 For All Students
Year-End Exams Add Urgency to Teaching
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Race on to Ready N.Y.C. Teacher Reviews
Districts Turning Summer School Into Learning Labs
Preschools Aim to Better Equip Low-Income Parents
After Early Progress, SIG School Struggles To Improve
Progress, Persistence Seen in Latest Data on Bullying
INDUSTRY & INNOVATION: ‘MOOC’ Plan Could Spawn Dual-Enrollment Courses
Virginia Joins Ranks of States Creating State-Run Districts
Blogs of the Week
NCLB Bills Split Over Federal Role in K-12
Policy Brief
States Fold Teaching Into Preschool Rating Factors
Peer Review Quietly Put On Hold For State Assessment Systems
State Opposition Jeopardizes Common-Core Future
OP EDUCATION: Are New Teachers Ready to Teach?
EDWARD CROWE, MICHAEL ALLEN, & CHARLES COBLE: A Good Time for Progress in Teacher Prep
JULIE GORLEWSKI: Teaching Toward Utopia
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
OTIS KRIEGEL: ‘You’ll Get the Hang of It’

Education Week - June 12, 2013