Open Response from the College of Education to the NCTQ Teacher Prep Review
As you may know, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ, a self-appointed watchdog group based in Washington) published ratings yesterday from a deeply contested review of teacher preparation programs nationwide. Here is the link to the online version of their Teacher Prep Review: http://nctq.org/dmsStage/Teacher_Prep_Review_2013_Report.
We applaud efforts that direct attention to improving teacher education and welcome new information and credible feedback in working to continually improve the quality of our teacher preparation programs. Education deans in Florida and across the nation, though, have criticized the standards and research methods of NCTQ’s two-year review, which relied heavily on document review, and pointed out the council’s documented bias against higher education-based teacher preparation programs. The council’s document-based research methods are analogous to reviewing restaurants solely by their menus without visiting the place or tasting the food. The 800-member American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) discouraged its members from cooperating in the review and many, including UF, released their documents (college catalogs and handbooks, course syllabi and other materials) only after receiving formal open-records requests.
I encourage you to examine the NCTQ report and read the AACTE’s response on their website linked above, and be aware of articles in the popular media. The position of the UF College of Education on the Teacher Prep Review is similar to that of the AACTE.
Please be aware that UF’s College of Education welcomes transparency and has been continuously accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, the nation’s primary accreditor of teacher-preparation programs, since its founding in 1954. New data systems available from the Florida Department of Education provide substantial evidence of the high quality of teachers graduating from University of Florida programs. Through ongoing self-evaluation, surveys of Florida school principals and our graduates, and new advances in monitoring student achievement in the classrooms of our teacher-graduates, UF’s College of Education, rated 30th nationally and No. 1 in Florida among public graduate education colleges in the latest rankings by U.S. News and World Report, is continuously improving how we measure the readiness of our students to graduate and positively impact student achievement in their classrooms.
Our teacher-education candidates have a 100% pass rate on the Florida Teacher Certification Exam, and our education alumni and school principals continue to inform us that our graduates are well-prepared when they enter the classroom on their first day on the job. We are confident that education students who study at the University of Florida will continue to have a competitive edge when they enter the job market and will make a positive impact on their students’ achievement.
Feel free to contact Dean Glenn Good (email@example.com) or Associate Dean Tom Dana (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions or comments about this matter.