In November 2010, an expert panel of educators recommended a sweeping overhaul of teacher training programs, with calls for more practical classroom experience for potential teachers, a heavy reliance on data to identify best practices, and a more rigorous accreditation process.
Now, the two groups that accredit teacher-training programs in the United States (which are in the process of merging) are vowing to follow through on the panel's suggestions and increase accountability for teacher training, by taking a harder look at not only how prospective teachers perform in college, but also how students of those teachers perform at the elementary and secondary schools where they eventually teach.
"We are on the cusp of a revolution in educator preparation's access to and use of data for program accountability and improvement," said James G. Cibulka, president of the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education.
The new entity, a merger of the National Council and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council, will be called the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.
In addition to the enhanced use of data on academic performance, the new accrediting standards for teacher-education programs will require the programs to raise their bar for recruiting and accepting students.
The new accrediting council will be governed by a commission representing deans of schools of education as well as people who have been critical of teacher training. "There is considerable diversity of commission members," says an e-mail message from the new entity. "This is not simply higher ed doing the same thing. The commission will contribute to 'turning teacher ed upside down.'"