U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s call for an overhaul of teacher preparation programs is certainly warranted. Reports such as Arthur Levine’s in 2006 have highlighted weaknesses in the training received by many graduates of traditional, university-based teacher preparation programs.
I’m one however who believes that there is role both for university-based as well as alternative providers of teacher preparation, such as Teach For America and The New Teacher Project. In a policy brief for the New Teacher Center (and related blog post), I discuss some promising partnerships between institutions of higher education and school districts — teacher training pipelines that by and large provide the hands-on experience and training called for by Secretary Duncan and contained within many other diagnoses of what ails traditional teacher prep.
Likewise, the Carnegie Corporation’s Teachers for a New Era initiative provides evidence of what effective university-based programs can and should look like.
To answer the Secretary’s call, we needn’t start from scratch.
UPDATE: Alexander Russo has the text of the Secretary’s speech here. Secretary Duncan singles out Wisconsin-based Alverno College (among other institutions) and the state of Louisiana for praise. I also discuss both Alverno College and Louisiana’s teacher preparation accountability system in my policy brief.