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Urban Cities Group Backs Education School Review

The Council of the Great City Schools has thrown its weight behind a controversial review of the nation's colleges of education currently being conducted by the National Council on Teacher Quality and U.S. News and World Report.

In a letter sent on Friday, the CGCS, which represents more than 60 urban districts, said it supports the study because it's concerned that too many programs graduate teachers who are not academically prepared to provide instruction in urban school systems. The decision to endorse the review apparently took place at its recent executive council meeting in Cincinnati.

It's the second major endorsement for the review. Earlier this summer, eight of nine state education "chiefs for change" put their stamp of approval on the project, which will rate the schools on up to 18 standards.

CGCS praised the council in particular for including such factors as reading instruction, preparation for teaching English-language learners, and core-content knowledge.

"Your study has the potential of advancing the national discussion on teacher preparation and furthering our understanding of why some new teachers come to our urban classrooms better equipped to serve our diverse students than others," CGCS Executive Director Michael Casserly writes.

He also outlined a few concerns with the review. Though CGCS believes the review is being conducted transparently, Casserly writes, "we are concerned that your data-collection process may make it difficult to get a complete picture of the field, a situation prompted in part by resistance from those being studied."

The review has already generated a considerable amount of opposition from university-based programs, so much so that NCTQ is tracking all the institutions that are participating willingly and those to which it's submitted open-records requests.

Will the council's endorsement encourage more voluntary participation? We'll have to wait and see.

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