Holding Colleges Accountable
Last fall, a report from the Education Schools Project found that 62 percent of the graduates of teacher-preparation programs thought they’d been badly prepared. Julia Steiny, a former member of the Providence, Rhode Island, school board, offers this solution: remove the bureaucracy of state certification and instead hold university education departments responsible. Steiny interviewed many education professors and deans over the course of a year, and all said their programs each have at least one current student who they would not personally certify. “Often those less-than-desirable students had poor people skills but were academically high performers,” Steiny explains. The lack of partnership between colleges and practicum school sites is only hurting the cause: Colleges "get incredibly out of touch and teach a lot of theory and methodology that has no practical application.” Steiny argues that by making the diploma the certification, schools will become known for producing excellent, satisfactory, or poor teachers, and thus create a new survival-of-the-fittest mentality for college education programs nationwide. Would putting teacher certification into universities' hands produce higher-caliber teachers? How well do you feel your university prepared you for your teaching career?