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Washington teaching programs rank low in new national study

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SEATTLE — All parents want their kids to have great teachers, but according to a new study our colleges and universities aren’t doing a good job of training them.

The National Council on Teacher Quality spent the past eight years analyzing more than 1,000 graduate and undergraduate teaching programs, rating them with one to four stars.

Washington State University was the only school in Washington to make an honor roll rating of three or more stars.  The University of Washington’s Bothell and Tacoma campuses got no stars at all.

The executive director of the group that sets teacher certification standards in Washington feels the report is flawed.

“We found the report disappointing,” said Jennifer Wallace of the Professional Educator Standards Board. “They looked at things like syllabi, textbooks, required credits but not outcome measures, and if these preparation programs produce teachers that have a positive impact on students.”

Seattle Public Schools parent Erica Strauss says her daughter will start fourth grade in the fall, and has been happy with her teachers so far.

“We’ve been fortunate with my daughter’s education to have pretty experienced teachers who have great classroom management skills.  Personally, I’m not sure anything could prepare you for taking on 30-32 kids all day long except the act of doing that job,” said Strauss.

The NCTQ report says it’s too easy to get into most teacher training programs and that there should be much more rigorous standards.

“There is just no excuse for this.  We need to elevate the rigor.  This report will help focus attention on how we’re training our teachers.  It is not fair to the teachers and students that we’re not setting a higher bar,” said Liv Finne with the Washington Policy Center.

State Schools Superintendent Randy Dorn released a statement regarding this:

“We can always learn new things by analyzing what works and why. I’m not sure this study used the best methodology to determine the real quality of teacher prep, but I do think there is room for improvement. Specifically, I believe Washington’s teacher candidates should spend more time participating in a higher quality student teaching experience before they receive certification.”

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1 Comment

  • Teacher1

    This study is invalid. I am offended and appalled that Q13 would bring this up as newsworthy, without speaking with professionals. Measuring quality on textbooks? Obviously the standard of success is just possessing the information! The fact that WSU was the only high rated program should give you a hint at the ridiculousness of this study.