BUILDING EVIDENCE FOR SOUND POLICY
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
500 Fifth Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20001
NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
This study was supported by Contract No. ED-05-CO-0012 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of Education; by Contract No. 20060517 with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation; by Contract No. D07001 with the Carnegie Corporation of New York; by Contract No. 200700087 with The Spencer Foundation; and by the President’s Fund of the National Research Council. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Preparing teachers : building evidence for sound policy.
“Committee on the Study of Teacher Preparation Programs in the United States, Center for Education Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education.”
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN 978-0-309-12805-6 (pbk.) — ISBN 978-0-309-12996-1 (pdf) 1.
Teachers—Training of—United States.
Additional copies of this report are available from the
National Academies Press,
500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu.
Copyright 2010 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America
Suggested citation: National Research Council. (2010). Preparing teachers: Building evidence for sound policy. Committee on the Study of Teacher Preparation Programs in the United States, Center for Education. Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.
The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering.
The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.
The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.
COMMITTEE ON THE STUDY OF TEACHER PREPARATION PROGRAMS IN THE UNITED STATES
ELLEN CONDLIFFE LAGEMANN* (Cochair),
Levy Economics Institute, Bard College
KENNETH SHINE** (Cochair),
Department of Health Affairs, University of Texas
HERBERT K. BRUNKHORST,
Department of Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education, California State University at San Bernardino
Center for Research and Reform in Education, Johns Hopkins University
Lynch School of Education, Boston College
Department of Teaching and Learning, University of Utah
DONALD N. LANGENBERG,
Department of Physics, University of Maryland
Exponent Consulting, Natwick, MA
Mathematics Department and Center for Science, Mathematics, and Computer Education, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
DAVID H. MONK,
College of Education, Pennsylvania State University
ANNEMARIE SULLIVAN PALINCSAR,
School of Education, University of Michigan
Department of Economics, University of Missouri
Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania
School of Education, University of Michigan
Graduate School of Education, Rutgers University
College of Education, Michigan State University
Department of Mathematics, University of California, Berkeley
Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
LYN COUNTRYMAN (liaison from Teacher Advisory Council),
Price Laboratory School, University of Northern Iowa
MICHAEL ALLEN, Study Director (to 2006)
LISA TOWNE, Study Director (2006-2008)
STUART ELLIOTT, Study Director (since 2006)
ALEXANDRA BEATTY, Senior Program Officer (since 2008)
TINA WINTERS, Senior Research Associate (to 2008)
PATRICIA HARVEY, Project Assistant
The quality of teachers is increasingly recognized as critical to student learning. Holding schools and teachers accountable for student performance is a key element of plans for improving public education and is likely to remain so as the No Child Left Behind legislation is updated. Yet while the education of public school teachers has been the subject of concern, it has not been a primary focus of standards-based reform efforts. This study was mandated by Congress to answer basic questions about teacher education and the research that supports it and to highlight the way forward.
The study had two objectives: (1) to pull together a disparate and uneven research base, so that policy makers can see clearly what is and is not known and (2) to propose a research agenda to fill the gaps in that knowledge base. Our focus was clearly defined: we examined initial preparation for reading, mathematics, and science teachers. That is, although teacher learning is best understood as a process that continues throughout teachers’ careers—for example, through induction, mentoring, in-service professional development, and professional collaboration—our focus was the ingredients essential to preparing “well-started beginners.”
While preparation is undeniably important, other factors have significant influence on the strength of the nation’s teaching force. The incentives that attract aspiring teachers, the status of the field, the compensation teachers can expect, the conditions in which they do their work, and their opportunities for professional advancement are just a few of the factors that
affect who becomes a teacher and who stays in the field. In a report more than 20 years ago, the Carnegie Task Force on Teaching as a Profession made a number of recommendations regarding teacher preparation, but it also clearly articulated the importance of seeing it as tightly integrated with other aspects of teachers’ professional lives and other elements of the education system. Although our report is not intended to address all the issues related to teacher quality, we emphasize that effective teacher education is one necessary condition for ensuring the quality of the teaching force, but is neither the only condition nor a sufficient one.
Teacher preparation programs are turning out more than 200,000 new teachers every year, and those teachers are badly needed to fill vacancies in a field that has high turnover and a particular need for teachers prepared and willing to work with the neediest children. It is important to strengthen teacher preparation, not just because teachers make up one of the largest occupational groups in the United States, but also because they are asked to serve every child and family in the country. Their work is a basis for democratic citizenship, and they are at the heart of one of the central experiences of growing up—schooling. Nevertheless, teaching has never attained the same status as law or medicine, and the uneven quality of teacher preparation is a reflection of the ambivalence with which university scholars and others have historically viewed this female-dominated field. If that is to change, improving teacher preparation is vital.
We found many gaps in the knowledge base, but it is important also to highlight the considerable grounding we found for many types of guidance regarding the preparation of reading, mathematics, and science teachers. Our goal was to provide a dispassionate summary and objective analysis that will help policy makers debate alternatives and help teacher educators provide stronger preparation, while also providing guidance for much-needed research. Teacher education deserves careful, balanced scrutiny, and that is what we have worked to provide.
A number of individuals assisted us in our information gathering and analysis and we are very grateful for their thoughtful input and their time. At our first meeting, several people provided us with a variety of perspectives and information about a range of questions related to our charge: Joan Baratz-Snowden of the American Federation of Teachers; Vicki Bernstein of the New York City Department of Education and the New York Teaching Fellows Program; Jean Braxton, dean of the School of Education of Norfolk State University; Daniel Fallon of the Carnegie Corporation; Mary Hatwood Futrell of the School of Education and Human Development of George Washington University; Frederick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute; Deborah McGriff of Edison Schools; and Jon Snyder of the Bank
Street College. At another of our meetings several individuals assisted us in exploring methodological issues: Pamela Grossman, Nomellini Olivier professor of education at Stanford University; Karen Hammerness, a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford University; Raven McCrory of the Division of Science and Mathematics Education at Michigan State University; Susan Moore-Johnson, professor of teaching and learning at Harvard University; Stephen Raudenbush of the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago; Kate Walsh, president of the National Council on Teacher Quality; and Robert Yinger, professor of educational studies and teacher education at the University of Cincinnati and research director for the Ohio Teacher Quality Partnership.
We held workshops to explore several issues in depth. The first addressed both teacher licensure and program accreditation and we gratefully acknowledge the assistance of presenters: Dan Goldhaber of the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington; Peter McWalters of the Rhode Island Department of Education; Frank Murray, president of the Teacher Education Accreditation Council; Kara Schmitt, formerly of the Michigan Department of Consumer and Industry Services; Kathy Sullivan of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction; J. Fredericks Volkwein of the Penn State Center for the Study of Higher Education; Judith Watkins of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation; and Arthur Wise, president of the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education.
At our second workshop we explored two issues. One was the preparation of mathematics and science teachers, and we thank: Sybilla Beckmann, a professor of mathematics at the University of Georgia; Rodger Bybee of the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study; Elizabeth Davis of the Department of Applied Economics at the University of Michigan; James Hiebert of the School of Education at the University of Delaware; Barbara Miller of the Education Development Center; Paul Sally, director of undergraduate mathematics education at the University of Chicago; Mark Windschitl of the College of Education at the University of Washington; and Robert Yager of the College of Education at the University of Iowa. The second issue was perspectives on professions in the United States, and we thank: Steven Brint, a professor of sociology at the University of California, Riverside, and Lee Shulman of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
We explored several state and regional analyses of teacher preparation by commissioning two studies, and we extend our sincere thanks to Tim Sass of Florida State University and to Pamela Grossman and her colleagues for their investigations of data from Florida and New York City, respectively. We also thank Douglas Harris of the University of Wisconsin at Madison;
George Noell of Louisiana State University; Kent Seidel and Robert Yinger, both of the University of Cincinnati; and David Wright of the California State University System for their contributions to the workshop.
Finally, the intellectual leadership demonstrated by costudy directors Lisa Towne and Stuart Elliott in guiding the committee’s work was outstanding. The substantive and editorial contributions of Alexandra Beatty were of the highest quality and added significantly to the shape and eloquence of the report. The combined administrative support and responsiveness of Tina Winters and Patricia Harvey were also of the highest quality, and we are extremely grateful for all they did throughout the committee process. We would have no report without them. We also wish to note that the views expressed in this report are those of the committee, not the sponsors who generously supported our work.
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the Report Review Committee of the National Research Council. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.
We thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Deborah H. Cunningham, Educational Management Services, New York State Education Department; Robert E. Floden, Institute for Research on Teaching and Learning College of Education, Michigan State University; Carolyn D. Herrington, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Florida State University; Paul W. Holland, Paul Holland Consulting Corporation; Kenneth Howe, School of Education, University of Colorado at Boulder; Roger Howe, Department of Mathematics, Yale University; Joseph Krajcik, School of Education, University of Michigan; Henry M. Levin, Economics and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University; P. David Pearson, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley; Penelope L. Peterson, School of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern; and Steven Rivkin, Department of Economics, Amherst College.
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Diana Pullin, School of Education, Boston College, and Burton Singer, Emerging Pathogens Insti-
tute, University of Florida. Appointed by the National Research Council, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.
Ellen Condliffe Lagemann, Chair
Committee on the Study of Teacher
Preparation Programs in the United States