Tarnished Seals of Approval

November 19, 2011 at 11:40 AM Leave a comment

There is gold in the teacher quality debate, just not for the children. Quality assurance programs are lining up for funding in exchange for promises to track teachers from their prep programs through the next several generations of their progeny. However, there seems to be a charlatan factor that has already gotten under the radar.

A year or so ago, I discovered that my principal certification was not transferable to a new state because the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University was not a quality leadership program for educators. Okay, so the echo chamber of education does not recognize the validity of general management training. Looking further, however, the School of Education at Northwestern did not make the list, nor did the Curry School of Education from my undergraduate school, the University of Virginia. In fact, I discovered that my best chance for adequate credentialing would be enrollment in one of a plethora of storefront correspondence schools scattered across Long Island and the Bronx. They had met the requirements for the national seal of approval.

It seems to be the case that only a handful of major university education programs have applied for accreditation in the new teacher quality programs. And the reason may be that they don’t have to…their work stands on its own merit. Why would they undergo yet another tedious review procedure to prove to the narrow field of education that their world-class standing is, indeed, deserved?

School districts know the sources for strong teacher preparation. They are more likely to have trouble hiring and retaining new teachers from high quality programs because of LIFO and seniority issues, the limitations of career advancement, or the pension trap. Further, teachers who offer promise but deliver less success over time may reflect their employment environments more so than their original training.

I believe in continuous quality assurance. I cannot endorse expending serious resources to raise the barriers to entry in a field that lacks commitment thus far to annual goal setting and performance reviews once access to the field has been achieved. 

PS, What are the chances that you are getting some of your best insights from alums of one of the perennial boot camp teacher prep programs that bypassed most tradition quality hurdles?

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Entry filed under: School Leadership, Teacher Prep. Tags: , .

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