Washington, D.C. (September 13, 2017) - Five years after the nation's state education chiefs committed to raising expectations and strengthening policies for teacher preparation, every state has taken action to ensure teachers are better prepared for our students. A small network of states has gone even farther, helping to push educator preparation to the forefront of policy agendas at the state level and nationally. Those states are now sharing lessons learned and successes to help other states prepare their educators to deliver for all students.
The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) today released Transforming Educator Preparation: Lessons Learned from Leading States, a playbook offering specific steps states can take to improve educator preparation.
"States that participated in the Network for Transforming Educator Preparation will leave a legacy of innovation and lessons that will shape and guide continuous improvement in teacher preparation for years to come," said Chris Minnich, executive director of CCSSO. "I look forward to seeing their successes help new educators in other states across the country."
In 2012, CCSSO released Our Responsibility, Our Promise, boldly challenging state education leaders to raise expectations and strengthen policies to better prepare teachers before they enter the classroom. The report found that change was urgently needed to ensure every teacher is prepared to meet the needs of all students on their first day in the classroom.
CCSSO supported this call to action by creating the Network for Transforming Educator Preparation (NTEP), a multi-year collaborative of states committed to creating policies and taking steps to ensure teachers are "learner-ready" on day one in school.
States that joined NTEP committed to exploring multiple avenues to strengthen teacher preparation. States partnered with teachers, district administrators and institutions of higher education to improve how teachers are prepared, how teachers are licensed and how data is collected and used to inform decisions. Each state in NTEP received technical support as part of its participation in the network.
States that participated in NTEP include California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Washington.
As a result of NTEP, these states worked with stakeholders across the education sector to create stronger standards for teacher preparation programs, better measure how prepared new teachers are to enter the classroom, and provide meaningful and timely data to continuously improve how teachers are prepared in the long-term.
Here are a few examples of the changes states in NTEP made since 2012:
Delaware has built an educator preparation scorecard that creates public transparency and builds out incentives for institutions to improve their programs. The scorecard evaluates programs in six key areas including the recruitment of racially diverse teacher candidates and the perceptions of graduates and future employers.
Georgia strengthened their requirements for licensure by creating a four-tiered system that set standards for teachers during initial preparation and throughout their careers. The new system lays out clear criteria for teachers to meet at different stages and encourages them to continually improve their practice and pursue additional responsibilities based on demonstration of accomplishments.
Louisiana built on the leadership and collaboration between P-12 and higher education officials to advance changes to preparation program approval and accountability regulations, including a yearlong teaching residency for all aspiring educators by 2018. The changes were informed by Louisiana's teacher preparation pilot program, Believe and Prepare, and two years of public discussion, input from a survey of 6,000 educators, and more than 50 meetings and focus groups.
Tennessee has implemented rigorous approval standards, review processes, and outcome measures that will inform program design and state approval decisions. Earlier this year, the state began sharing data in both public facing report cards and annual reports that preparation programs and school systems can use to improve preparation for all aspiring teachers. Tennessee also overhauled its public-facing report card to provide clearer information on the effectiveness of teacher preparation programs throughout the state.
Missouri is one of an increasing number of states that has sought input from teachers in the field to help inform and guide changes in preparation policies and practices. Veteran teachers as well as new teachers advised the department on issues ranging from soft skills that teacher candidates need to the types of professional development that is useful and relevant once they're on the job.
While there is no single way to approach the change process for educator preparation, states learned that specific steps, outlined in the playbook, lead to the most significant progress. The steps include:
- Understand where you are and where you want to go with data. First, states often had to determine what data was collected, by whom, and how it was used. Another key step was to determine what data should be collected in new systems
- Understand your policy landscape and make sure to involve all of the agencies and actors involved in educator preparation. Assessing the policy and regulatory environment around educator preparation and involving all the necessary stakeholders is an essential early step that makes long-term success more likely.
- Establish a process for managing your work. Participants need a process to guide the work that includes regular routines, accountability measures, and clear expectations for end products.
- Designate a facilitator. Experts and facilitators can play an invaluable role to help tailor ideas, recommendations, and resources and to keep progress on track.
- Keep students' needs front and center. One of the most important questions states can ask is: "Have we done everything we can with our policy levers to get a learner-ready teacher in front of students and have a pathway to continued learning?"
- Don't go at this alone. States that embark on this essential work will find that it is rich with potential for improvement but also challenging.
This important work was made possible by the following supporters: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, Joyce Foundation, and S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation.
For more information, download the full Transforming Educator Preparation: Lessons Learned from Leading States.
The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks member consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public.
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