Monday, July 27, 2009

Teacher preparation and Race to the Top

The Race to the Top grant's draft criteria say applications will be evaluated for the quality of their plans for "Reporting the effectiveness of teacher and principal preparation programs."

That is, the federal Education Department will look at:
The extent to which the State has a high-quality plan and ambitious yet achievable annual targets to link a student’s achievement data to the student’s teachers and principals, to link this information to the programs where each of those teachers and principals was prepared for credentialing, and to publicly report the findings for each credentialing program that has twenty or more graduates annually.
That draft language doesn't give a year when states must tell the public about the student achievement of the graduates from each teaching program--but it does look like states with plans to get it done quickly will have a competive advantage for getting grants.

The draft also doesn't require specific consequences for the weakest programs--but it does say that public reports will let the whole state know which are weakest.

And yet, even with those caveats, the teacher preparation element of the RTTT draft looks to me like an important push in a direction that could make an important difference.

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