have begun to rely on alternate routes to educator certification in an effort to both bypass traditional college and university teacher preparation programs and address a shortage of people interested in education jobs.

These three significant challenges—unresponsive educator preparation programs, a failure to infuse scientific advances into local practice, and the impending shortage of qualified individuals willing to work in education settings—present the potential for significant barriers to the effective implementation of the committee’s recommendations.

Federal-Level Recommendation

Recommendation TQ.4: The committee recommends that a national advisory panel be convened in an institutional environment that is protected from political influence to study the quality and currency of programs that now exist to train teachers for general, special, and gifted education. The panel should address:

  • the mechanisms for keeping instructional programs current and of high quality;

  • the standards and requirements of those programs;

  • the applicability of instructional programs to the demands of classroom practice;

  • the long-term impact of the programs in successfully promoting educational achievement for pre-K, elementary, and secondary students.

Direct comparison to other professional fields (e.g., medicine, nursing, law, engineering, accounting) may provide insight applicable to education.

BIOLOGICAL AND EARLY CHILDHOOD RISK FACTORS

Our review of biological and social/contextual contributors to early development brings us to the compelling conclusion that there are several factors that have a known detrimental impact on early cognitive and behavioral development that affect some groups of minority children disproportionately. For example,

  • Low birthweight, which has been demonstrated to affect IQ, emotional maturity, social competence, and attentional processes, is more prevalent among black children than among children of any other racial/ethnic group, reaching double the rate for white children.

  • Fetal exposure to alcohol and tobacco has been associated with growth, cognitive, and self-regulatory deficits. The incidence of exposure to high doses of alcohol or nicotine is considerably higher among American



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