Colorado received a near-failing mark – a D-minus – on its teacher policies last year from the National Council on Teacher Quality, but there are signs the state may be improving, according to the organization’s vice president.
Sandi Jacobs, who spoke in Denver on Friday, said Senate Bill 10-191, the educator effectiveness law, could vault Colorado forward. But the potential for botched implementation remains significant.
“The recommendations released by Colorado’s Council for Educator Effectiveness, and what the State Board decides to do with those recommendations, are what will likely determine whether Colorado will stay a leader in this race – or if the state’s cutting-edge teacher reform agenda is running out of gas,” Jacob’s wrote in a blog post for Education News Colorado.
Late in 2009, NCTQ released a state-by-state study of teacher preparation programs and Colorado’s did not fare well. The study found that while most programs in Colorado provide some exposure to the fundamentals of “the science of reading,” only six of the state’s 15 teacher preparation programs adequately prepare their students to teach reading and only two cover the mathematics content that elementary teachers need.
But the problem is national in scope, Jacobs said Friday. She showed a slide that illustrated that teachers certified through traditional programs, teacher certified through alternative programs and uncertified teachers had almost identical impacts on their students’ math performance.
Click on graphic to enlarge.
“We (at NCTQ) are dismayed that there is no difference but we think that there really could be, and should be. When you send in a teacher with the knowledge and skills, she needs to get the job done over someone who hasn’t had that preparation,” Jacobs said.
NCTQ has been a relentless critic of the quality of teacher preparation programs across the country. In January, the council announced it would join forces with U.S. News and World Report to rate the quality of over 1,000 teacher preparation programs. The first rating survey will be released in the second half of 2012.
News of the survey created an uproar in some higher education circles. The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education has publicly chided NCTQ for methodological weaknesses, and some colleges and universities have said they will not participate in the survey.