WASHINGTON – Within five years of beginning their careers,50 percent of teachers leave the field. Teachers in urban schools can last as little as 18 months.
A new teacher-education plan aims to stop that.
The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education released a new teacher education plan at a panel discussion held Tuesday.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan endorsed the plan,saying it is time to “turn teacher-preparation programs upside down.”
He said holes in the teacher-education system have caused the U. S. education system to fall to 24th among 30 industrialized countries.
To construct the plan,NCATE assembled a panel of 10 education experts from schools,colleges,universities and teachers’ unions.
Nancy Zimpher,chancellor of the State University of New York,said previous reforms have merely tweaked the education system created in the 1950s. She said the new plan is “breaking the mold to create something new.”
Zimpher and Dwight Jones,Colorado’s education commissioner,co-chaired the panel.
Instead training teachers primarily in academic settings,education colleges will use the medical school model of focusing on clinical practice. Student teaching projects may begin as early as freshman year so prospective teachers will have a wider repertoire of techniques to use when they have their own classrooms.
NCATE wants to improve the education system beginning with elementary school so prospective teachers will arrive at their teacher-training programs with better academic records.
To ensure the plan’s effectiveness,the plan recommends a national accountability program to gauge each teacher’s effectiveness.
Frederick M. Hess,director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research,presented some concerns.
Hess said he didn’t find anything in the plan about how much it would cost or how it would paid for,except that it would be more expensive than the current system.
Zimpher rebutted this claim,saying the plan would save money in the long run by keeping teachers from leaving the profession.
Eight states have agreed to test the plan. California,Colorado,Louisiana,Maryland,New York,Ohio,Oregon and Tennessee are taking steps to adopt NCATE’s clinical preparation system. Zimpher said the next step is to create state-level task forces to oversee how the plan is put into effect.