A Perspective on the State's Role: Motivation and Policy
William Randall, Colorado Commissioner of Education; President, Council of Chief State School Officers
About a year and a half ago, my wife and I team taught a course at the University of Colorado at Denver for education students, just before they did their student teaching. Reflecting on this course led me to believe that there has not been a lot of substantive change in teacher education in the past 30 years. These students were still struggling with some of the fundamentals of classroom management. They were struggling with the issue of conveying the materials they knew: "Do I just tell students what I know?" How do future teachers learn to teach rather than just "tell?"
In Colorado there are two ways in which we are approaching this issue from the state level. First, there is our licensure program, which is brand-new. Second, there is our State Systemic Initiative (SSI), which involves partnerships between school systems and institutions that prepare teachers. One thing we have learned is that by forcing people to have joint responsibility for programs, there is a different product and a different level of involvement than if it is just "collaborating." People who work in our teacher licensure department are involved with accreditation in areas that do not directly involve their specific job responsibility. They are sharing responsibility. People do not go to meetings and say, "Well, we collaborated." They say, "I am responsible for the success of this venture." That responsibility carries over into action that makes a difference.
We believe that if we break down the barriers within the state through the SSI, we can work with higher education, with the school systems—with anyone else—and say, "We have a joint responsibility for the success of this venture that is based on student achievement." If we have joint responsibility, then we all have to make sure it happens. Unless we have that mind-set going in, we are going to have a lot of difficulty carrying out the reforms, no matter how well organized, no matter how well structured, and no matter how great the content is.
Concern, Collaboration, Coordination, and Communication
Jane Butler Kahle, Co-principal Investigator, Ohio Statewide Systemic Initiative (SSI)
The last page of the National Science Education Standards strikes at the heart of a major dilemma in the current call for system-wide, Standards-based reform. In the discussion of system standards, the problem of educating teachers who are able to think and to teach in ways that will promulgate the content, pedagogical assessment, and program standards is addressed. I quote, "In higher education, two- and four-year college professors need to model exemplary science pedagogy and science curriculum practices." That is, teachers need to be taught science in college in the same way that they, themselves, will teach science in school. The