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.