The recent report on education schools from the National Council on Teacher Quality continues to draw analysis. In this piece, Ohio University professor Richard Vedder gives his take on the lack of rigorous, on-target preparation of teachers. First, a recap of some of the report’s conclusions:

  •  “In countries where students outperform the U.S., teacher prep schools recruit candidates from the top-third of the college-going population….only one in four U.S. programs restricts admissions to even the top half of the college-going population;”
  • “In mathematics training of elementary teacher candidates, few programs emulate the practices of higher performing nations such as Singapore or South Korea. Only 19 percent of programs demonstrate similar expectations of their teachers;”
  • “Almost all programs (93 percent) fail to ensure a high quality student teaching experience, where candidates are assigned only to highly skilled teachers and must receive frequent concrete feedback;”
  • “Only 11 percent of elementary programs and 47 percent of secondary programs are providing adequate content preparation in the subjects they will teach.”


Vedder’s take:

Teachers should earn degrees in academic disciplines, and undergo a modest amount of teacher preparation that at the secondary level is almost exclusively student teaching, working with seasoned high quality professionals, while primary and special education teachers should also receive a small number of courses dealing with the special problems of teaching those with immature minds or physical or mental disabilities. The supply of good teachers will expand, and universities will be free of an albatross that simply has not worked well, either for them or society.


Recently, I talked with Terry Stoops, JLF’s director of research and education studies, about this report and his recommendations. You can hear the interview here. It is part of episode #529.