When it comes to teacher preparation, we have seen people get so radically focused on inputs that they ignore what is really going on with people moving into the classroom. Others are focused on outputs and trying to draw a conclusion on the best teacher preparation programs but quickly find that there is more variation in programs than between programs.

So it is great to read the recent study Peering Around the Corner by Chad Aldeman and Ashley LiBetti Mitchel

At this point, the single best predictor of who will be a great teacher next year is who was a great teacher this year. But that’s it. Admission criteria, number of content courses, hours of student teaching, Praxis exam scores — these inputs have no bearing on a teacher’s future effectiveness. Yet states continue to closely regulate them, and even add new requirements, year after year. This results in a set of requirements that amount to little more than barriers — new ways to keep potential teachers out of schools and discourage programs from innovating.

WOW – so very true. Yet everywhere we go, states are trying to put in more barriers to teaching thinking that it will improve teacher quality.

The authors have a series of recommendations that sound very much like an outline of the Teachers of Tomorrow program  – – note that they also recommend alternative teacher certification!

  1. Make it less risky to try teaching  – – our teachers don’t pay until they get a job significantly reducing the risk
  2. Give schools and districts, not preparation programs, responsibility for recommending a candidate for licensure and require that recommendation to be based on a track record of effectiveness
  3. Measure and publicize results
  4. Unpack the box of good teaching – – (full admission I really hate the “unpack” trend in ed policy)

They end with asking states to stop following trends like GPA, more clinical hours,  and better assessments that don’t have solid research behind them and “should invest strategically in research on what makes a good teacher, and only then use that research to make policy.”

We absolutely love this paper!!