They’re All Bachelors of Education

by Dave Schuler on July 1, 2013

You might want to take a long, sobering look at the National Council on Teacher Quality’s evaluation of teacher preparation programs. The review evaluates programs on a number of factors including selection criteria, content preparation, and student teaching, granting a high score of four stars to a low of no stars at all.

Of the 2,420 programs sampled, only four teacher preparation programs in the country received four stars: the secondary education programs of Furman University in South Carolina, Lipscomb University in Tennessee, Ohio State University, and Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. 105 programs received three or more stars and 162 programs received no stars at all.

Considering local schools I found it gratifying that Chicago State University’s undergraduate elementary school teacher preparation program received three stars. A considerable number of Chicago State graduates go on to serve Chicago public schools. On the more sobering side Northern Illinois’s graduate program in elementary education, Roosevelt University’s graduate program in secondary education, and the University of Illinois at Chicago’s graduate program in elementary education all received no stars, meaning that after completing their programs their graduates were no better prepared than when they began.

A number of prestigious and pricey private ed schools in the area received only one star.

It seems to me that this review is useful for a number of reasons. First, if you or someone you know is considering attending one of those prestigious and pricey private ed schools, you might think about just what you’ll be getting for your money. Smart, hard-working students can go to bad schools just as poor, slacker students can attend top-rate schools. Both inputs and outputs are important. But you might as well get what you pay for.

Second, if you or someone you know doesn’t have the budget to attend an expensive school, it’s good to know that there are public schools that have top-flight programs.

Third, tax-payers might be interested in what their tax dollars are buying. That might be especially true in the Golden State where an alarming number of the California State education programs were goose-egged.

This review also highlights a problem with teacher compensation. The smartest, hardest working graduates of top-flight programs are on the same salary schedules as the lowest-performing grads of the poorest programs. The upside I suppose is that the reputations of schools are hardly secrets within the educational community and the school that you’ve attended might well affect how your application for employment is viewed.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

TimH July 1, 2013 at 9:53 am

There’s another benefit to this list. If the Chairs, Deans, and professors at 1, 2 and even 3-star programs are serious about their mission (and I think most probably are, within a limit of not wanting to lose their jobs – you don’t go into the field for the money or prestige), they’ve now got examples they can look up to and learn from.

(As a side note: What does it mean that Chicago State is putting out a large number of apparently well-qualified graduates, and yet the CPS system is still what it is? Teacher quality isn’t everything.)

PD Shaw July 1, 2013 at 10:33 am

“University of Illinois’s graduate program in elementary education all received no star”

More precisely, it was U of I’s Chicago Campus received no star.

When this list came out, I found it interesting that Illinois Statue University (located in Normal, IL no less) with the state’s largest teaching program and one of the largest, if not the largest, undergraduate teaching programs in the country, ranked middling (receiving 1 to 2 stars), while other schools without reputations as teacher’s schools did better. U of I’s main campus received three stars for a program, but so did a few of the nonflag ship public universities in the state that are cheaper and easier to get into.

The rule of specialization would have told me, and perhaps still does, that ISU would be a good place to go to become a teacher. I doubt any consequences from a job search when being interviewed by fellow alum, but perhaps not good if seeking to work elsewhere in the country.

Dave Schuler July 1, 2013 at 10:35 am

Thanks. That was a typo. Fixed.

PD Shaw July 1, 2013 at 4:00 pm

@TimH, I suppose the answer that you would receive from programs that were not graded well is that this grading system attempts to measure inputs, not outputs. Here is a page that links to criticisms of the report:

http://aacte.org/resources/nctq-usnwr-review/responses-to-2013-nctq-us-news-a-world-report-review.html

I’m stuck with my own bias that good teaching, beyond requiring a certain level of academic knowledge, is more of a skill than advanced knowledge. I’m more suspicious of graduate courses, outside of STEM.

Dave Schuler July 1, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Most of the programs evaluated were undergraduate programs, PD. They’re indicated as “ug”.

jan July 2, 2013 at 1:54 pm

O/T for thread here. But, on topic for what is going on in Tahrin Square protests. Here are some photos from the revolt going on in Egypt — ones the MSM wouldn’t dare to publish, let alone report on.

Yes, we have become beloved abroad because of Obama’s friendlier foreign policy and understanding of the ME culture.

michael reynolds July 2, 2013 at 3:46 pm
Red Barchetta July 3, 2013 at 7:32 am

I think you completely missed, or intentionally missed, the point, Michael. Its not whether there are two sides, or that the existence of each is getting reported. Its the unwillingness to attribute this mess to any of the policies of Obama or former SOS Clinton. Innocent bystanders I guess.

I looked at all 58 pics. Only one even mentioned Obama. Long gone are those heady days when Chris Mathews slobbered into his mic in Obama adulation at Mubarack’s overthrow “its almost like it took Obama to make this happen.”

Indeed.

MaryRose July 6, 2013 at 8:51 pm

I fail to see the value of an educational degree. Given the lack of transferable job experience once you have 10 years experience I would encourage those who would like to teach to major in math, science, history, languages….

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