Teaching Time: It’s All About the Preparation

Many things can be said about teachers. A number of good ones are dramatically underpaid. Some classroom veterans who don't want to adapt likely make too much (simply due to longevity) based on their current contributions.

One of the few things people can agree upon is that a quality teacher is the most important factor in student achievement. With that in mind, it's not only the classroom leaders — but also those who prepare them for their careers — who are under increased scrutiny.

This Stateline story focuses on a growing number of states raising the bar on teacher preparation. It includes the following from Indiana and legislator Dennis Kruse, chair of the Senate Education and Career Development Committee.

In Indiana, the General Assembly this spring approved Senate Bill 409, which requires the state department of education to develop rules, standards and benchmarks of performance for teacher education programs and those who complete the programs. Under the legislation, the state will develop a rating system for teacher preparation programs. State Sen. Dennis Kruse, an author of the bill, said that after the legislature adopted tougher standards for teachers in 2011, lawmakers realized they had to hold the schools who train teachers accountable as well.

“We felt it was not really being fair to the teachers if they aren’t being trained correctly, so we felt we ought go to back to the schools to see which schools of education in Indiana are turning out teachers” who are effective, said Kruse, a Republican. “The ultimate goal is for students to succeed in the classroom and one of the best ways is to have an effective or highly effective teacher teaching them.”

Read the full story to learn about efforts in other states and at the national level.


Ice Chills Big Day at Statehouse

What was shaping up to be a day of MAJOR committee hearings at the Statehouse on Wednesday fell victim to Mother Nature. Among the bills that were scheduled for debate — and we mean real debate:

  • A lengthy immigration battle was set for the Senate chambers; it has been moved to the afternoon of Feb. 9. Senator Mike Delph had promised a few weeks ago to pursue Arizona-type legislation, but word in recent days was that some of the more stringent provisions were being deleted. Either way, passions will be on display.
  • Assignment of benefits was scheduled to reappear in the House. This controversial health care billing procedure would potentially raise costs for employers and employees.
  • An education double-header was on tap. Teacher quality was to be the focus of the Senate Education and Career Development Committee in the afternoon, following the House Education panel tackling reform initiatives in an early gathering in the House chambers.

All these issues may end up on committee agendas next Wednesday, or some special meetings may be arranged.

Some legislators were scattering for home on Tuesday after General Assembly activity was cancelled. Ice in Central Indiana and massive snow in the north did not make for a good combination. We would expect activity to resume today but some legislators, particularly from the north, may not be able to return if indeed they vacated earlier in the week.