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Michigan Gov. Targets Teacher Entry Standards

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder included several new ideas focused on raising standards of entry for teachers in a wide-ranging proposal to the state legislature on education reform.

You can read my colleague Sean Cavanagh's write-up of the proposals, which run the gamut from performance pay and tenure reform to more online learning and school choice. But one thing that caught my attention in particular was the level of detail paid to teacher preparation and entry standards in the profession.

Among other things, Gov. Snyder called on the state board and department of education to:

•Ensure that teacher education programs require candidates to be able to instruct to the Common Core State Standards, now approved in all but a handful of states, and increase clinical experience;
•Increase the "cut scores" on teacher licensing tests;
•Ensure districts rigorously assess teachers' skills on the job;
•Better link continuing education/recertification requirements to activities that build teachers' skills;

Teacher education reform has been in the news lately, but not really at the top of the list for state governors or legislatures that have been focusing efforts or on changes to their teacher evaluation systems (or in curbing or doing away with collective bargaining).

Michigan, though, is an interesting state as far as teacher education is concerned. It produces far more teachers than there are actual teaching positions in the state and is known as an exporter of teachers to other states. So, if there's a competitive "marketplace" that could give an edge to some of these reforms, it is probably Michigan.

The reference to the Common Core State Standards Initiative is also notable. I've not heard much discussion so far about the ways in which teacher preparation will have to adapt to new content standards. Snyder's inclusion of CCSSI got me thinking about how well current teacher education programs prepare students to work with state content standards or with the curriculum at use in the local districts teachers are likely to work (many schools supply a majority of their teachers to one district).

Got any good examples of teacher-education programs that align to state or local content standards? Let us all know.

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