A portion of current Title II funding should also be reserved for studying what works in teacher education and the characteristics that make for excellent teachers. Research in these areas is generally poor in quality, with a greater focus on teaching than learning on the part of students in graduates’ classes.
The potential impact of this program is to increase the quality of future teachers and both to raise the floor and ceiling for teacher education programs in the United States. Until we better prepare teachers entering the profession, little else education reformers do will improve American students’ achievement compared to their international peers. Congress need only look to the states to determine a path forward that incentivizes — not inhibits — the innovative work already being done on teacher prep.
Almost everyone agrees teacher prep programs can be better. Now let’s make them better.
Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, is former president and professor of education at Columbia University’s Teachers College.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.