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December 2011 - A Busy Month on Teacher Prep

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While I've said this in previous posts, anyone at any level can be a manager of talent. We know that superintendents, HR directors, principals, and mentors are all talent managers in education. But, so are professional association representatives, education reform groups, public officials, and education leadership organizations. December 2011 has been a busy month in the national conversation about educator effectiveness, and talent managers at all levels have been involved in the discussion.

Below are five examples of various groups thinking on this issue. I recommend that all talent managers, education reformers, and policymakers read what these groups have to say as they are going to have a significant voice in the educator effectiveness conversation in 2012 and beyond.

Professional Association Representation: Nation Education Association
On December 8, 2011, the National Education Association released, "Leading the Profession: NEA's Three-Point Plan for Reform," outlining three areas in which the NEA believes steps should be taken to transform the teaching profession. It included a statement from NEA President Dennis Van Roekel that discusses global competition in the 21st century and proclaims that the United States "can no longer coast on our past accomplishments." Van Roekel goes on to say, "This environment requires teachers to have a wide range of skills and strategies to keep students engaged and learning beyond the basics. Now, more than ever, we will not meet the challenges that confront us without a highly skilled and effective teaching force."

The NEA developed their "Three-Point Plan for Reform" using ideas from NEA members and a report compiled by the independent Commission on Effective Teachers and Teaching, a panel of 21 teachers and education leaders.

Educational Reform Organizations: Teach for America
USA Today published an op-ed on December 20 written by Dennis Van Roekel, president of the NEA, and Wendy Kopp, CEO of Teach for America, titled "3 Ways to Improve the USA's Teachers." The two leaders urge Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and the U.S. Department of Education to keep a few things in mind as they begin implementing a new blueprint for teacher education reform. The article urges U.S. education leaders to look at using data to improve teacher preparation, bring new talent to the teaching profession, and give teachers opportunities for continuous professional development.

Nonpartisan Research Policy Groups: National Center on Teacher Quality
This week, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) posted a short, but very interesting blog entry related to teacher preparation. It begins with a quote from NCTQ President Kate Walsh from testimony she gave before Congress earlier this year. "It's easier to get into an ed school than to become a college football player," she says. After reading the post and reviewing the "fast pack" of research the organization prepared, I was completely blown away.

State Government: State of Iowa
After months of work, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds, Education Commissioner Jason Glass, and others from the state's Department of Education released, "One Unshakable Vision: World-Class Schools for Iowa." The plan identifies a wide variety of talent management improvements such as more in-class training for new teachers, mentoring, changes in college class curriculum to include more content-specific courses, scholarships for individuals willing to go into high-need subjects, as well as new requirements and screening processes for teacher preparation programs.

Educational Leadership Organization: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)
In the ASCD December 23, 2011, blog post, "Lessons From Abroad," Gene R. Carter, executive director and CEO of ASCD, discusses foreign education system best practices. He notes that Ontario, Finland, and Singapore are highly selective when it comes to program entry. Carter suggests that, "The United States needs to focus on strengthening teacher education programs so that they help teachers become innovators and researchers in education, not just deliverers of curricula."

I find it interesting that all these groups are talking about the same strategies of improving the teaching profession. As we look forward to 2012, I'm sure we will hear from other individuals and organizations, specifically from the higher education community, about teacher preparation and effectiveness. I'm excited to see what happens next!

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