New Standards to Prepare Educators
By Mary Brabeck, Ph.D.
The focus of many of us in schools and departments of teacher education and school leadership this fall, will be on the new accreditation standards approved August 29-30, 2013, at the first meeting of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) Board of Directors.
At that meeting CAEP adopted new accreditation standards for programs that prepare educators (e.g., teachers, school leaders). Under the new standards, all educator preparation programs will be judged by looking at how well their graduates’ P-K-12 students learn. Programs must demonstrate through multiple measures, high quality evidence of PK-12 student learning which may (depending on the capacity in the state) include standardized test scores.
Much more research needs to be done to identify the components of programs that develop effective teachers. However, the CAEP standards are based on the best available evidence regarding a high quality preparation program. This includes evidence that graduates have deep content knowledge of the subjects they teach and can successfully teach that content. Programs will need to show they provide quality clinical experiences and that they graduate educators who are ready for the many challenges of today’s schools and classrooms. They will also have to demonstrate that they recruit, select, prepare, and graduate a diverse teaching pool for today’s classrooms, and that their recruitment efforts demonstrate rigorous plans to meet areas of local need (e.g., Special Education, STEM, ELL teachers). They will need to provide data that show faculty engage in continuous improvement of their curricula, as well as summative assessments of the degree to which their programs are achieving their goals. The standards are available online and will be in effect with accreditation reports filed in 2016.
The standards are the result of the CAEP Commission on Standards and Performance Reporting. This diverse group brought together for the first time The National Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The Commission included the diverse (and sometimes contentious) stakeholders: teacher educators, education deans, “reformers” critical of university-based teacher education, teacher unions, content experts, P-12 teachers, parents, school leaders, state policymakers, and representatives of education policy/advocacy organizations.
This is an historic moment, a moment when higher education joined with both critics and advocates of teacher preparation, and created an accountability system that raises the bar significantly. It is a rare moment of the profession policing itself. As the elected chair of the Board of Directors of CAEP, I look forwards to the significant challenges that implementation of these new standards will raise. I believe that collectively we will move forward in quality preparation of teachers and school leaders for our country’s K-12 schools.#
Mary Brabeck, Ph.D. Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.