Posted by: Bill | April 15, 2009

Tide is turning

I’ve only been part of the self-described education reform crowd for 7 years. I’m aware that is not a very long time. It’s long enough to get the feeling that the tide is turning in the teacher education and preparation world. Alternative certification has been growing steadily for 15-20 years, as have public charter schools. <need a stat here>

Authentic alternative certification (such as ABCTE) is still a very new thing. Colleges of Education are very much against alt cert programs that are not run by…colleges of education. Imagine that. (As the National Council on Teacher Quality reminded the education communicty, most of these programs are not alternative at all.) The arguments they use involve standards and accusations of deprofessionalizing the teaching workforce.

As the Core Knowledge blog reports, according to Katherine Merseth, the “dirty little secret about schools of education is that they have been the cash cows of universities for many, many years, and it’s time to say, ‘Show us what you can do, or get out of the business.’” I note that the tide may be turning here because Katherine is the director of the teacher education program at Harvard University. This is the not the first time this has happened, but in my time here at ABCTE, it has started to happen more often. Reform and, dare I suggest, accountability from within are going to work out much better for all of us.

The state of Louisiana embarked about a phased reform effort of its Teacher Education Initiatives in 2001. It is thorough, open-minded and concentrates on outputs and accountability. Louisiana was ahead of the curve, but it definitely feels like the tide is turning. If I were cynical, I would note that none of this guarantees better education for students, but I am not. I remain hopeful.

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