Over 25 Groups Back Obama Teacher Prep Reg: “An Education Equity Mandate”

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By Hajar Ahmed

The Obama administration’s teacher education reform plan won an influx of support from more than 25 education advocacy and service organizations this week. Advocacy groups that haven’t been aligning of late with respect to K-12 school accountability issues all echoed the same theme in comments submitted to the U.S. Department of Education.

Groups including Teach For America, the Center for American Progress, Deans for Impact, Education Trust, and the California Business Round Table all called for the Obama administration’s teacher preparation rule-making plan to go forward and for States to rate teacher education programs based first and foremost on teacher candidate outcomes, including candidate performance in PK-12 classrooms. The largest coalition, led by Democrats for Education Reform, called for the Education Department’s final rule to:

  • Ensure use of multiple measures by states in rating traditional and alternative route teacher preparation program effectiveness;
  • Ensure that no state rate a program as effective or higher absent evidence that teacher candidates go on to generate satisfactory student learning outcomes in K-12 classrooms;
  • Encourage states to create at least four teacher preparation program evaluation performance categories (i.e. low-performing, at-risk, effective, and highly effective) that meaningfully differentiate preparation programs;
  • Establish a link between state program evaluation results and institutional eligibility to participate in the TEACH “grant/loan” program; and
  • Require states to report publicly to prospective teacher candidates, employers, and others teacher preparation program evaluation results.

Notable is that supportive groups still called for a number of improvements in the Education Department’s regulatory effort, including ensuring that State teacher preparation program evaluation efforts be driven by a “rigorous and streamlined” set of requirements. Advocates called for an assurance that all teacher preparation programs be evaluated on an equal basis and for a removal of carve-outs based on subject matter (the NPRM exempts STEM programs). The DFER led group also called on the administration to drop the requirement that States survey program graduates and incorporate student growth data in non-ESEA required tested grades and subjects.

Below is a list of groups that submitted supportive comments to the Department of Education. At least 200 individuals submitted similar supportive letters as well.

A+ Denver
Aspire Public Schools
Association of American Educators
California Business Roundtable
Center for American Progress
Civic Builders
Deans for Impact
Democrats for Education Reform
Education Reform Now
Ed Trust
EdVoice
Educators 4 Excellence
Great Oakland Public Schools
Green Dot Public Schools National
Kevin Carey, New America Education Policy Program
National Council on Teacher Quality
Reading and Beyond
Relay GSE
Students Matter
StudentsFirst
Success Academy Charter Schools
Teach for America
Teach Plus
The Mind Trust
Third Way
TNTP
Urban Teacher Center

Teacher Preparation Coalition Comments Sign On Letter