In many states, the influence of Federal and state departments of education is considerable. In contrast to how universities are “supposed” to work, it seems as if a lot of state DOE’s want colleges to work for them. Additionally, there is this assumption that since surrounding school systems hire former teacher candidates, then schools of education owe them something, namely producing exactly the kinds of teachers they and administrators want. But what administrators want is not necessarily in the interests of education, per se.
The IU School of Education, my most recent alma mater, appears to be kowtowing to pressures from the IDOE to grade teacher education programs in the state. Or, from what I gather, Dean Gonzalez was rather critical of IDOE, but he is not tempering his criticism, as long as an A-F grading system for teacher education is a collaborative effort.
Is this once again evidence that colleges and universities are NOT leaders, like they think they are. In fact, they’re working for state DOE’s, and in turn the Federal DOE, rather than challenging the status quo as it now stands. In other words, they are following dictates rather than leading. Or, if they are leading at all, they are trying to see who can follow the fastest.
I can’t begin to tell you how awful a state grading system for teacher education programs would be. This would put pressure on faculty members in higher education to be accountable to test scores. I even get the impression that colleges of education are at the whims of the job market. Look, I’m happy to teach you, but I can’t guarantee you a job. That’s not MY job. The hiring process is on you, buddy.
But where does the accountability stop? I would have former student teachers teaching math, for instance. I did not teach them math. In fact, my college does not prepare them for math, per se. So, how does that necessarily work out? And, what if former candidates move states? Then what?
My advice for IU: while you still can, lead, rather than follow state and Federal mandates.