The Echo Chamber Has Opened on NCTQ

The following quotes have been compiled by my colleague Ken Zeichner from the University of Washington. As he predicted in his interview with EduShyster, NCTQ’s sham rankings of teacher education would bounce through the echo chamber of both traditional and new media. Among the many methodological problems with the rankings, which look truly bizarre to those of us insider teacher education who know the quality of the graduates, is that faculty expertise is nowhere accounted for.

Despite these and other critiques, the rankings have been spread around as truth, a phenomenon Ken calls “knowledge ventriloquism.”

Ken quotes from NCTQ’s publicity materials to make his point about the way this is playing out.

Endorsements Continue to Flow in for NCTQ’s 2014 Teacher Preparation Review


Support is coming in from former U.S. Secretaries of Education:

“All of the nations’ children deserve teachers of the highest quality. We cannot ignore reports like NCTQ’s that call attention to our challenges in teacher preparation.”
–Dr. Rod Paige, Former U.S. Secretary of Education

“To ensure that every child in this country receives a quality education, teachers must be well-prepared to lead in their classrooms. Teaching institutions are critical to success. NCTQ’s Teacher Prep Review serves as a source to districts and states by providing them with knowledge about how to strengthen recruitment, hiring, and training of teachers and arms aspiring teachers with the information they need to choose the most effective program for them.”
–Margaret Spellings, Former U.S. Secretary of Education; President, George W. Bush Presidential Center

Delaware joins 32 other states making measurable improvements to their teacher prep polices.

“Amongst educators in Delaware it’s no secret that teacher preparation programs are not completely aligned to the real demands of the profession. NCTQ is again issuing a report that grabs a hold of one of the elephants in the room–that the rigor and relevance of teacher prep is simply not where it needs to be.”
–Christopher Ruszkowski, Chief Officer, Teacher & Leader Effectiveness Unit, Delaware Department of Education

Over 105 District Superintendents have lined up behind our efforts to ensure that the teachers they hire are classroom-ready on day one.

“The National Council on Teacher Quality Teacher Preparation Review provides an additional element of data to consider when recruiting highly skilled candidates for our rigorous selection process. Building this information over time will help inform improvement opportunities for teacher preparation programs.”
Ms. Barbara Deane-Williams, Superintendent, Greece Central School District (NY)

Over 90 Education advocacy organizations have endorsed NCTQ’s Teacher Prep Review:

“Teachers are the single most important in-school factor contributing to student success. Accordingly, we must ensure that all teachers are adequately prepared to teach on day one,” said Kati Haycock, president of The Education Trust. “NCTQ’s Teacher Prep Review provides us with crucial information – not only for prospective teachers to pick high-performing programs, but also for programs to ensure that they’re meeting the needs of our students.”
Kati Haycock, President, Education Trust

“Expanding the pool of exceptional teachers who are prepared for the difficult work of leading our nation’s classrooms is in everyone’s interest. NCTQ’s Teacher Prep Review keeps the pressure on all of us – the ‘public’ part of ‘public education – to get this right. This isn’t just about children, but about the future of the public education system that we need to thrive for future generations.”
Joe Williams, Executive Director, Democrats for Education Reform

Editorial board support has begun:

“Even more importantly, though, we need to improve the quality of our teacher education programs themselves. There are some real standouts in New Jersey — including Montclair State, Rider, Rowan and Kean — but most still aren’t adequately preparing teachers for the classroom, according to a new study released yesterday by the National Council on Teacher Quality, a non-profit group.

This reflects a national problem. Too many educational colleges in the U.S. let almost anyone in, and it’s the school children who end up suffering for it. For a lesson in reform, look at Finland. To stop the proliferation of diploma mills, the country shut down its education colleges in 1968 and reopened them in only the top eight most selective universities in the country.”
Star-Ledger Editorial Board, June 17, 2014 Editorial

Amanda Ripley, author of The Smartest Kids in the World weighs in:

“In a handful of statehouses and universities across the country, a few farsighted Americans are finally pursuing what the world’s smartest countries have found to be the most efficient education reform ever tried. They are making it harder to become a teacher. Ever so slowly, these legislators and educators are beginning to treat the preparation of teachers the way we treat the training of surgeons and pilots—rendering it dramatically more selective, practical, and rigorous. All of which could transform not only the quality of teaching in America but the way the rest of us think about school and learning.

Over the past two years, according to a report out Tuesday from the National Council on Teacher Quality, 33 states have passed meaningful new oversight laws or regulations to elevate teacher education in ways that are much harder for universities to game or ignore.”
Amanda Ripley, June 17, 2014 Slate article

Teachers themselves voice the need for providing high-quality cooperating teachers to candidates, a key component of NCTQ’s Student Teaching Standard:

“Teacher candidates must be paired with a master teacher who is not only phenomenal with students but who has been trained to observe and coach new teachers. Teaching adults is not the same as teaching children and there are research-based practices that support adult education. Mentors should be skilled in this work to ensure that they are educating student teachers effectively and not simply look at them as interns helping out in a classroom.”
Erin Lane, 7th and 8th grade English Language Arts Teacher and Teach Plus Teaching Policy Fellowship alum via HuffingtonPost article

Our 16 member Technical Panel, comprised of education experts, has signed a statement of support.

“Scrutiny of teacher preparation programs is important, from selection of candidates into the program all the way through student teaching. Figuring out what works and what doesn’t when it comes to teacher training is fundamental to making sure that new teachers have the skills they need on the first day they are entrusted with instruction in their own classrooms. I believe NCTQ’s Teacher Prep Review represents an important step down the road to connecting the features of teacher training to the quality of our nation’s teachers.”
Dan Goldhaber, Director, Center for Education Data & Research, University of Washington-Bothell

The drumbeat calling for change has clearly been heard and we look forward to continuing the conversation and the work needed to make sure teachers are ready on day one.

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