The attempt to evaluate teacher colleges is getting nasty

5 Feb

Trip Gabriel has an article in the New York Times, Teachers Colleges Upset By Plans to Grade Them about the coming U.S. News Report on teacher colleges.

Now U.S. News & World Report is planning to give A through F grades to more than 1,000 teachers’ colleges, and many of the schools are unhappy, marching to the principal’s office to complain the system is unfair.

Numerous education school deans have protested that the ratings program’s methodology is flawed since the program was announced last month. In a letter last week, officials from 35 leading education colleges and graduate schools — including Columbia, Harvard, Michigan State and Vanderbilt — denounced an “implied coercion” if they do not cooperate with the ratings.

U.S. News and its partner in the ratings, the National Council on Teacher Quality, an independent advocacy group, originally told schools that if they did not voluntarily supply data and documents, the teacher quality group would seek the information under open-records laws. If that did not work, the raters planned to give the schools an F.

That got the attention of educators.

Brian Kelly, the editor of U.S. News, said the push-back from education schools was evidence of “an industry that doesn’t want to be examined.”

This project is being underwritten in part by the Carnegie Corporation and Broad Foundation.

The National Council on Teacher Quality has information about the project at their site:

This effort asks teacher colleges to submit information about their programs. Some colleges have been reluctant.

Stephen Sawchuck is reporting in the Education Week article, Advocacy Group Sues to Get University’s Teacher Ed. Syllabi:

Do public institutions that prepare public-school teachers have the right to keep their education-course syllabi private?

That’s essentially the question raised by a lawsuitRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader filed Jan. 26 in Wisconsin by the Washington-based National Council on Teacher Quality, which seeks to compel the University of Wisconsin and several of its campuses to provide such information under the state’s open-records law.

The move comes as part of NCTQ’s project to rate every school of education on up to 18 standards. (“Grading of Teacher Colleges to Be Revamped,” Feb. 9, 2011.) Many institutions are not voluntarily participating in the controversial review, and are turning over materials only in response to open-records requests filed by the council, a private nonprofit research and advocacy organization.

The University of Wisconsin provided some materials in response to NCTQ’s request, but stopped short of releasing course syllabi.

The Wisconsin Board of Regents and the [University of Wisconsin-Madison] have adopted policies providing that course materials and syllabi are the intellectual property of the faculty and instructors who create them. … Such intellectual property is subject to the copyright of the creator,” a university public-records custodian asserted in a letterRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader to NCTQ.

All Wisconsin campuses with teacher education programs have sent similar letters or refused to turn over syllabi, university spokesman David Giroux said. So far, the university has not responded to the lawsuit.

We’re looking at this very carefully,” Mr. Giroux said. “It’s very complicated.”

Lawsuits Ahead?

Since announcing the review in January 2011, many teachers’ colleges and their associations have criticized the NCTQ project, arguing that its methodology is flawed and that the review is ideologically driven. (“Education Schools Refuse to Take Part in U.S. News-NCTQ Review,” April 27, 2011.) NCTQ has denied those claims.

The Wisconsin lawsuit was filed in part because so many campuses were involved, said Arthur McKee, the managing director of teacher-preparation studies for NCTQ.

It seemed very clear it was being coordinated, so we decided the best way to approach it was to take action against the whole system,” he said.

Other public universities have made similar assertions, the council says. They include: Arkansas State University; Kansas State University; three Minnesota State University campuses; two Montana State University campuses; the University of Montana; three University of Nebraska campuses; Southwest Minnesota State University; Southeast Missouri State University; and William Paterson University of New Jersey.

Education Week’s calls requesting comment from two of those institutions, Montana State and the University of Nebraska, were not immediately returned.

Further lawsuits are possible, but the but the council would prefer to work out agreements with the institutions, Mr. McKee said. Of states’ flagship public institutions, 37 of 51 are cooperating with the review, he added.

Bottom line, education is a partnership between the student, parent(s) or guardian(s), teacher(s), and school. All parts of the partnership must be involved. Students must arrive at school ready to learn. Parents must provide an environment which supports education and education achievement. Teachers must have strong subject matter knowledge and pedagogic skills. Schools must provide safe environments and discipline. Communities are also part of a successful school system and outcome for community children. Education is a partnership.

The National Council on Teacher Quality is looking at one part of the partnership, the preparation of future teachers. It’s about time.

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

One Response to “The attempt to evaluate teacher colleges is getting nasty”


  1. Report: Measuring teacher effectiveness « drwilda - June 13, 2012

    […] The attempt to evaluate teacher colleges is getting nasty […]

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