IBJNews

HARRIS: Daniels has historic chance to transform teacher training

David Harris / Special to IBJ
September 1, 2012
Keywords
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

David HarrisQuestion: When Mitch Daniels becomes president of Purdue University in January, should he make changes to the college of education?

Answer: Gov. Daniels will have a momentous opportunity to make Purdue’s College of Education a national model for teacher preparation.

In this new era of high expectations for Indiana’s K-12 students, Purdue, like its peers, has the obligation to step up its game.

No in-school factor makes more of a difference for students than the quality of their teachers. Yet nationwide, schools of education have fallen short in preparing them.

“The nation’s teacher education programs,” wrote one commentator, “are inadequately preparing their graduates to meet the realities of today’s standards-based, accountability-driven classrooms.”

If you think this commentator is likely a rabid critic of the education establishment, think again. Those words were offered by Arthur Levine, former president of Columbia University’s Teachers College, after he completed an exhaustive national study of education schools.

“University-based programs,” Levine continued, “suffer from low admission and graduation standards. Their faculties, curriculums and research are disconnected from school practice. … There are wide variations in program quality, with the majority of teachers prepared in lower-quality programs.”

Fewer than two out of five teacher college alumni say their schools prepared them for the realities of today’s classrooms. And only a third of principals report that teachers come even “moderately well prepared” to maintain order in classrooms.

Levine found some universities were using teacher preparation as a “cash cow” for higher-priority academic programs by lowering or eliminating admissions standards to maximize enrollment. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, therefore, that only 14 percent of teachers in high-poverty schools come from the top third of their college classes.

So, what could Daniels do to make Purdue’s College of Education a national leader? Here are four ideas:

1. Make education the most elite major on campus. Flip education schools’ non-selective reputation on its head. Make education school admissions 10-percent harder than what it takes to become pre-med. Tell districts who hire teachers that only the brightest Boilermakers come through the school’s rigorous program.

2. Focus on the Common Core. Indiana and most other states are entering an era in which students will be expected to meet internationally benchmarked standards. Purdue should benchmark its own curriculum against these standards.

3. Make practice count. Most aspiring educators do “student teaching” before graduating. But too often the teachers mentoring them aren’t themselves great teachers. As Indiana implements new teacher effectiveness measures, Purdue should insist that only the state’s best teachers be assigned to its candidates. The school also should make this real-world training a bigger part of each teacher’s preparation.

4. Hold the education school to the highest standards. Nationwide, there’s talk about rating education schools based on how well students do in their graduates’ classrooms. Louisiana already ranks its education schools this way. The Obama administration has proposed similar ideas. But why wait for Uncle Sam or the state to act?

Purdue could get out front, committing to rate itself based on how well its alumni teach. It could publish that information widely—and urge its peer institutions to follow suit.

No one is better equipped to make changes like this happen than Daniels. I’m hoping it’s a top priority.•

• Harris is CEO of The Mind Trust, a not-for-profit focused on K-12 education reform in Indianapolis. Send comments on this column to ibjedit@ibj.com.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Of what value is selling alcoholic beverages to State Fair patrons when there are many families with children attending. Is this the message we want to give children attending and participating in the Fair, another venue with alooholic consumption onsite. Is this to promote beer and wine production in the state which are great for the breweries and wineries, but where does this end up 10-15 years from now, lots more drinkers for the alcoholic contents. If these drinks are so important, why not remove the alcohol content and the flavor and drink itself similar to soft drinks would be the novelty, not the alcoholic content and its affects on the drinker. There is no social or material benefit from drinking alcoholic beverages, mostly people want to get slightly or highly drunk.

  2. I did;nt know anyone in Indiana could count- WHY did they NOT SAY just HOW this would be enforced? Because it WON;T! NOW- with that said- BIG BROTHER is ALIVE in this Article-why take any comment if it won't appease YOU PEOPLE- that's NOT American- with EVERYTHING you indicated is NOT said-I can see WHY it say's o Comments- YOU are COMMIES- BIG BROTHER and most likely- voted for Obama!

  3. In Europe there are schools for hairdressing but you don't get a license afterwards but you are required to assist in turkey and Italy its 7 years in japan it's 10 years England 2 so these people who assist know how to do hair their not just anybody and if your an owner and you hire someone with no experience then ur an idiot I've known stylist from different countries with no license but they are professional clean and safe they have no license but they have experience a license doesn't mean anything look at all the bad hairdressers in the world that have fried peoples hair okay but they have a license doesn't make them a professional at their job I think they should get rid of it because stateboard robs stylist and owners and they fine you for the dumbest f***ing things oh ur license isn't displayed 100$ oh ur wearing open toe shoes fine, oh there's ONE HAIR IN UR BRUSH that's a fine it's like really? So I think they need to go or ease up on their regulations because their too strict

  4. Exciting times in Carmel.

  5. Twenty years ago when we moved to Indy I was a stay at home mom and knew not very many people.WIBC was my family and friends for the most part. It was informative, civil, and humerous with Dave the KING. Terri, Jeff, Stever, Big Joe, Matt, Pat and Crumie. I loved them all, and they seemed to love each other. I didn't mind Greg Garrison, but I was not a Rush fan. NOW I can't stand Chicks and all their giggly opinions. Tony Katz is to abrasive that early in the morning(or really any time). I will tune in on Saturday morning for the usual fun and priceless information from Pat and Crumie, mornings it will be 90.1

ADVERTISEMENT