College of Education can learn about itself

CEHD should participate in a national teaching program review.

No factor is more important to the quality of education than the quality of the teacher. With so much at stake, it would be good to know just how well teacher preparation programs are equipping tomorrowâÄôs teachers âÄî and their students âÄî up for success.

To answer this question, the National Council on Teacher Quality has partnered with U.S. News & World Report to launch a review of the more than 1,400 teacher preparation programs around the country. NCTQ will look at whether the programs select academically capable students, ensure they know the subjects they will teach and equip them with the techniques they need to help their students achieve. The review will let aspiring teachers know where they can get the best preparation, and encourage other programs to emulate the models of their field.

In the 2008-09 academic year, the University of MinnesotaâÄôs College of Education and Human Development produced more than 300 of the 4,500 new teachers who graduated in Minnesota. Yet despite its key role in filling the stateâÄôs ranks of educators and despite being sent a formal request to participate in July, as of this week, CEHD has not indicated that they will cooperate with the review.

As a student at the University and an active member of Students for Education Reform, I urge CEHD to embrace transparency and participate in this report. The devastating racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps in our K-12 education system can be significantly decreased by improving our teacher preparation programs. NCTQâÄôs review âÄî and CEHDâÄôs participation âÄî is the first step.

Current and prospective University students deserve access to information about the quality and effectiveness of the education program they have chosen or are considering. If our program is strong, then we could be validated by a rigorous national study. If we fall short, we can find out what is working and what is not and start making major improvements to ensure all teachers are student-ready before they enter the classroom.