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. The $104K to CRC would go toward debts service on $486M of existing debt they already have from other things outside this project. Keystone buys the bonds for 3.8M from CRC, and CRC in turn pays for the parking and site work, and some time later CRC buys them back (with interest) from the projected annual property tax revenue from the entire TIF district (est. $415K / yr. from just this property, plus more from all the other property in the TIF district), which in theory would be about a 10-year term, give-or-take. CRC is basically betting on the future, that property values will increase, driving up the tax revenue to the limit of the annual increase cap on commercial property (I think that's 3%). It should be noted that Keystone can't print money (unlike the Federal Treasury) so commercial property tax can only come from consumers, in this case the apartment renters and consumers of the goods and services offered by the ground floor retailers, and employees in the form of lower non-mandatory compensation items, such as bonuses, benefits, 401K match, etc.

  2. $3B would hurt Lilly's bottom line if there were no insurance or Indemnity Agreement, but there is no way that large an award will be upheld on appeal. What's surprising is that the trial judge refused to reduce it. She must have thought there was evidence of a flagrant, unconscionable coverup and wanted to send a message.

  3. As a self-employed individual, I always saw outrageous price increases every year in a health insurance plan with preexisting condition costs -- something most employed groups never had to worry about. With spouse, I saw ALL Indiana "free market answer" plans' premiums raise 25%-45% each year.

  4. It's not who you chose to build it's how they build it. Architects and engineers decide how and what to use to build. builders just do the work. Architects & engineers still think the tarp over the escalators out at airport will hold for third time when it snows, ice storms.

  5. http://www.abcactionnews.com/news/duke-energy-customers-angry-about-money-for-nothing

ADVERTISEMENT