The Obama administration recently published long-awaited regulations for programs that prepare new K-12 teachers.
The U.S. Education Department had attempted to do this several years ago, but that effort was notable for several controversies, one of them a suggestion that teacher-preparation programs be evaluated in part by the standardized test scores of the students being taught by program graduates. Now we have the final regulations — and critics of the original draft remain unsatisfied.
For one thing, the new regulations, as this story by my colleague Emma Brown explains, require states to issue annual ratings for teacher-prep programs, an effort, supporters say, to separate the successful programs from the failures. They still also require each state to evaluate teacher-training programs based on student learning, but this time leaving it to the states to decide how to measure academic growth and how much it should weigh in an overall rating. That means that the department will permit states to use test scores for evaluation — a method that is not used to evaluate any other professional preparation program.