Requiring states to develop rating systems for teacher preparation programs
The federal Department of Education announced preliminary rules on Tuesday requiring states to develop rating systems for teacher preparation programs that would track a range of measures, including the job placement and retention rates of graduates and the academic performance of their students.
In a move that drew some criticism, the Education Department said the new rating systems could be used to determine eligibility for certain federal grants used by teacher candidates to help pay for their training.
Critics have long faulted teacher training as inadequately preparing candidates for the realities and rigors of the job.
In a conference call with reporters, Arne Duncan, the secretary of education, said that far too many education programs set lower requirements for entry than other university majors.
"The last thing they want or need is an easy A," Mr. Duncan said. "This is nothing short of a moral issue. All educators want to do a great job for their students, but too often they struggle at the beginning of their careers and have to figure out too much on the job by themselves."
The proposed rules will be subject to public comment for 60 days. If they are adopted, states will be given a year to develop the rating systems, with alternative programs like Teach for America also subject to the rules.
The most contested of the rules is one calling for teacher training programs to track the performance of students taught by their graduates. Although the rules do not require tests, 42 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have agreed with the Department of Education to develop teacher performance ratings that include test scores.