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State Proposes Revisions To Increase Rigor In School and Teacher Quality

Educator Preparation Advisory Council focuses on quality in teacher and school leader programming

At the request of Governor Dannel P. Malloy, the Educator Preparation Advisory Council, a joint initiative of the Connecticut State Department of Education and the Board of Regents for Higher Education, has been convened to develop policy recommendations and proposed regulatory revisions that will increase rigor in teacher and school leader preparation. 

The Council, co-chaired by Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor and Board of Regents for Higher Education Executive Vice President Michael Meotti, held its second meeting in Hartford Tuesday morning at the Board of Regents offices.  The meeting focused on the clinical experience requirement in educator preparation programs.

The State Board of Education, which accredits teacher and school administrator preparation programs in Connecticut, passed a resolution on March 7, 2012 authorizing the establishment of the Educator Preparation Advisory Council with a charge to improve overall educator preparation and ensure graduates’ success as teachers and school leaders.  The council will also examine educator training and its alignment with school and district needs and responsiveness to feedback; establish recruitment best practices and standards for candidate acceptance into these programs; and develop metrics for preparation program performance linked in part to graduate performance in the years following entry into the education field. 

Commissioner Pryor said: “This council has been convened to involve education leaders and thought partners from classrooms, school and district leadership, and higher education in a dialogue regarding education preparation.  Given advances made on evaluation this year as part of our education reforms, the council’s work will ensure equal emphasis on this often underemphasized aspect of practitioner effectiveness: preparation.  It also will enable the State Department of Education and the Board of Regents to engage in joint planning regarding the future of program accreditation.”

Mr. Meotti said: “Teacher education programs must build hands-on partnerships with our local schools if we want to prepare the best teachers in the world.  The Educator Preparation Advisory Council is the first step to ground those partnerships in public policy and behavior at the front lines of teaching.”

At the State Board of Education meeting on September 5, 2012, for the first time, reaccreditation approval for six educator preparation programs were conditioned on each program submitting an interim report regarding the implementation and impact of Educator Preparation Advisory Council recommendations as adopted by the State Board of Education. 

Final Educator Preparation Advisory Council recommendations are due to be submitted to the State Board of Education by April 2013. 

The Educator Preparation Advisory Council’s membership includes representatives from Connecticut’s preK-12 schools, colleges and universities, the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, the Connecticut Association of School Administrators, the Connecticut Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers – Connecticut, State Board of Education Chairman Allan Taylor, and other stakeholders.

Susanne Krivit September 23, 2012 at 12:52 PM
Since it is the AENGLC Ranking (Adjusted Equalized Net Grand List Per Capita), a measure of our wealth, that appears to be the most reliable predictor of student performance, why we keep focusing on teachers escapes me. It is much easier to put the focus essentially on our employees (teachers), because we control them, because it does not raise our taxes (directly impact the public), because it does not exclude exclusive or already high performing wealthy schools who are doing just fine, and most of all because it avoids the type of monumental changes that are really required to improve the real problem, which is the disparity between high performing schools and those that are failing.
Leon Karvelis September 24, 2012 at 12:46 PM
There is little doubt that the socio-economic gap which has widened as a result of the Great Recession, is directly linked to the educational achievement gap. While improved teacher training and professional standards are welcome, if the money which will be required to conform high performing Connecticut school disticts to new teacher evaluation schemes and curricula changes to accommodate teaching to the tests of the Common Core were applied to the real needs of underprforming districts, the state would be better off. We need universal early school programs, ESL programs for our expanding immigrant population, and reading appreciation programs for kids and parents alike in underachieving districts. Children must be better prepared when entering public K-12 systems and there must be a focus upon educational appreciation in homes of children in underachieving districts for real progress to be made. Mandating DRG-A schools to spend money on new teacher/administator grading sytems and testing regimes will only burden taxpayers unnecessarily and distract teachers and administators from a job that they are generally already doing well. Scapegoating teachers merely provides a convenient distraction from the real problems which are the need for more support for families that are struggling and the disparate, crazy-quilt nature of school funding in Connecticut.

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