The report "NCTQ Teacher Prep Review," from the National Council on Teacher Quality, inadequately represents the preparation that English/language arts teachers receive. We agree with Linda Darling-Hammond who urges readers to take the report with an entire shaker of salt. Based on publicly available data such as syllabi, catalog descriptions, and self-reports from a mere fraction of the institutions evaluated, NCTQ focused only on a limited number of input measures.
Teacher education programs should be assessed and critiqued on more than that. And they are. In the past two decades, I have seen an ever-quickening pace of self-examination and improvement in teacher education. Numerous English/language arts programs engage in thoughtful, rigorous peer review through NCATE and CAEP that requires evidence of teacher performance and ability to improve student achievement. Such reviews focus on outputs such as demonstration of knowledge through instructional planning and assessment of student learning.
In 2011, CEE wrote an analysis of the plans announced by NCTQ/U.S. News & World Report, expressing our concerns and offering suggestions for improvement of the methodology. Now that the report is published, those concerns remain.
The Conference on English Education welcomes efforts to improve the quality of teachers, which is the end toward which we have dedicated our organization. An evaluation system that teacher educators would endorse would be a great contribution to those who prepare teacher candidates for the complex and challenging work that awaits them in a shifting demographic and policy landscape. However, such a system must go beyond what is stated on course syllabi and program descriptions and look more widely and deeply at the factors necessary for success in 21st century classrooms.
The NCTQ report does not do that.
Louann Reid, Chair
Conference on English Education