Teacher Education Reform in the United States John Cogan

Teacher Education
Reform in the
United States
John Cogan
University of Minnesota
Marilyn Johnston
Ohio State University
One challenge: The numbers and
diversity in U.S. schools
53 million students
3 million teachers
92,000 public schools
15,000 school districts
40% of the students are minorities
17% Black, 16 Hispanic, 4% Asian, 1% Native Amer.
1 in 5 speaks another language at home
1 in 4 comes from a single-family home
84% of teachers are White
Attrition of New Teachers
Most leave after three years and more
than 50% leave within 5 years
Need for induction and mentorship
Two Competing Perspectives
Market-based rationale
Job training/preparation, free
market competition
Role of education is to move the
economy forward
Top down administration—
bureaucratic reforms
Based on transferable models
Competitive, individualistic, tests
used for selection/hiring
Democratic rationale
Role of education is to create a
just and democratic society
Requires national leadership &
community dialogue
Civic education; problem solving,
critical thinking, collaboration
Only consistent licensure and
accreditation will insure that all
children have qualified teachers.
Increased calls for accountability
this began with the Reagan’s “A Nation at
Risk" report in the early 1980s, it has
gained momentum with the Bush
administration in Washington.
Alternative Certification
Would bypass the traditional undergraduate and
post-graduate faculties of education completely
as well as traditional certification/licensure and
accreditation programs.
Ignored in this "alternative" debate is the fact
that the recent post-graduate or fifth year
programs ARE alternative themselves.
Politicization of
education through
federal policy
lack of state autonomy and
local policy making
Arguments included in
Arguments from within the
federal policies:
 Administrators should be
 Standards, licensure, &
free to hire within an open
accreditation necessary
market—quality control
 Need to recruit stronger
 Should recruit persons
students into high quality
with strong subject matter
 Teachers need a
 Criteria should include
comprehensive set of abilities
general knowledge,
& knowledges beyond subject
verbal ability and subject
matter knowledge
 Knowledge of teaching &
 Subject matter tests are
learning highly correlates with
sufficient to measure
academic achievement
teaching competence
Trained worker vs. professional teacher
Assaults on Teacher Education
Will assaults on undergraduate and postgraduate teacher education continue?
Differences in Ed School and administration
Argue for approaches that will remove
roadblocks that keep “qualified persons” from
becoming teachers
Will fulfill the needs for teachers in large urban
Business, Religion & Politics
Business leaders have aligned with
conservative politicians and
fundamentalist Christian special interest
Private sector involvement in education.
Future of Teacher
In general, it will depend on. . . .
Who wins the national Presidential election
Intensity of the backlash against No Child
Left Behind
Perpetuation of current national budget
trends, e.g., www.TrueMajority.org/oreo
It will depend on
teacher education identity
viewed by their colleagues as "soft", not
content based, and an unnecessary
appendage of the institution
larger institution has no interest in teacher
education per se in the long term.
It will depend on
educating our publics
need to take a more aggressive posture
with respect to educating our "publics"
about what we do and why
need to make a stronger case for why
schools need “educated” professionals
It will depend on
teacher shortages
Federal government projected (in 1999) that we would
need 1.7 to 2.7 new teachers in 2008.
In 1987-88, only 2.7 entered without certification (or on
provisional certification)--In 1990-2000 5.7% entered
without certification.
Urban schools have more uncertified teachers than
suburban schools—especially with new teachers, 11%
more of them are not certified if they teach in urban (cf.
to suburban schools).
See K.C. Lai & Joe Hong’s policy paper: “Crash Courses
for Untrained Teachers”.
It will depend on
support for new teachers
Need professional induction and
mentorship programs for new teachers
Where these have been introduced, more
than 80% of the new teachers remain on
the job after the first five years of service.
It will depend on which rationale will have currency
Market rationale will mean:
increased pressure on
teacher education
increased use of
business models for
running schools &
increased use of tests to
evaluate teachers and
increased use of free
market competition to
solve educational
Democratic rationale will mean:
further emphasis on
questions of equity and
social justice
standards used to create
a broader curriculum
increased use of social
justice arguments to
justify the need for
wider use of performance
assessment for teachers
and students