Archives for category: National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ)

 

At last! The leaders of 350 teacher education programs have issued a bold statement in collaboration with the National Education Policy Center denouncing attacks on teacher education and market-based “remedies.”

The group calls itself Education Deans for Justice and Equity.

Their efforts contrast with those of a group called “Deans for Impact,” funded in 2015 by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, which supports charter schools (such as KIPP, Achievement First, and Uncommon Schools), Teach for America, Educators for Excellence, New Leaders, TNTP, Conservative Leaders for Education, Teach Plus, Stand for Children, and a long list of other Corporate Reform ventures. Deans for Impact has 24 members. The founder and executive director of Deans for Impact is Benjamin Riley, former director of policy and advocacy at the NewSchools Venture Fund, which is heavily endowed by billionaire foundations to launch charter schools and promote education technology.

The statement of Education Deans for Justice and Equity criticizes such disruption agents as Teach for America (which places inexperienced, unprepared college graduates into challenging urban and rural classrooms), the National Council on Teacher Quality (which pretends to evaluate teacher education programs without having the knowledge or experience to do so and without ever setting foot in the institutions they grade), the Relay “Graduate School of Education” (a program intended to grant master’s degrees to charter teachers that lacks the necessary elements of a graduate institution, such as scholars and research), and Pearson’s EdTPA (which seeks to replace human judgement of prospective teachers with a standardized tool).

Their statement begins:

Teachers are important, as is their preparation. We, Education Deans for Justice and Equity, support efforts to improve both. But improving teaching and teacher education must be part of larger efforts to advance equity in society.

Whether crediting teachers as the single most important factor in student success or blaming and scapegoating them for failing schools that only widen social and economic dispari- ties, many of the stories that circulate about education presume that it’s all about the teacher. Concerned less with the system of education and more with the individual actor, this rhetoric tends to reduce the problem of education to the shortcomings of individuals. The solution correspondingly focuses on incentives and other market-based changes.

Without a doubt, teacher-education programs cannot and should not operate as if all is well, because it is not. Several current efforts to reform teacher education in the United States, however, are making things worse. Although stemming from a wide range of actors (includ- ing the federal government, state governments, and advocacy organizations), these trends share a fundamental flaw: They focus on “thin” equity.

In their recently published book, Reclaiming Accountability in Teacher Education,1 Marilyn Cochran-Smith and colleagues contrast two understandings of equity. “Thin” equity defines the problem as the curtailing of individual rights and liberties, and the resulting solutions focus on equal access and market-based changes. In contrast, “strong” equity defines the problem as the legacies of systemic injustices, and the resulting solutions focus on increas- ing participatory democracy. Because thin-equi ty reforms obscure the legacies of systemic injustices, and instead focus narrowly on student achievement, teacher accountability, re- wards, and punishments, improving teacher education requires moving away from these and toward strong-equity reforms.

Below, we identify seven current trends impacting teacher education (including at many of our institutions) that are grounded in thin-equity understandings. In a number of ways, these approaches lack a sound research basis, and in some instances, they have already proven to widen disparities. Following a discussion of these trends, we present our alternative vision for teacher-education reform.

First, marketizing teacher education. Most teacher education in the United States happens at universities, and with much variability. Nonetheless, the long-touted claim that higher education’s “monopoly” over teacher education results in mediocrity and complacency has resulted in increased competition by way of “alternative” routes—some that meet state stan- dards (and some that do not), and some that involve little to no formal preparation via fast- track programs. These include non-university-based programs like the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence; programs that partner with universities, like Teach For America; and programs that identify as institutions of higher education, like the Relay Grad- uate School of Education. Such faith in the market to drive improvement frames Congress’s recent rewrite of Title II of ESSA, which allows for public funds to support both non-profit and for-profit alternative certification programs and routes. The problem? Merely expand- ing competition without building the capacity of all programs to prepare teachers has led not to improvement, but to widened disparities among students and increased corporate profiteering off of education.

Second, shaming teacher education. The assumption that shaming will spur effort to com- pete is another way to place faith in the market to drive improvement. Such is the approach of the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) in its annual Teacher Prep Review, which scores (and, for the most part, gives failing grades to) teacher-education programs using an eight-dimension framework. Since its inception, the vast majority of programs nationwide have opted not to participate and share materials for review, citing NCTQ’s faulty methods of review and the lack of research basis for its framework.

Third, externally regulating teacher education at the federal level. The twice-proposed, Obama-era Teacher Preparation Regulations were never implemented, but their “value-add- ed” logic reverberates in other reforms, including NCTQ’s review and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) accreditation. Measurement experts warn that the use of value-added modeling to determine the effectiveness of teachers to raise test scores, and in turn, the effectiveness of programs to prepare teachers to do so, are neither reliable nor statistically valid.

These are three of the seven malign trends they discuss. Open the link to read the statement in full. It is short and won’t take more than five minutes of reading time.

It is very encouraging to see the leaders of teacher education stand up for professionalism and research-based practice, and to take a stand against quackery.

The National Council on Teacher Quality is a conservative group created to make professional teacher education look bad. I was on the board of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation when it was started. It floundered a while, then got a $5 Million Grant from then-Secretary of Education Rod Paige to get its act together. It has done that. Now it is Gates-funded and is a darling of reformers, who yearn to replace the teaching profession with TFA temps and screen time.

Now the NCTQ has made itself the arbiter of “Standards” for teacher education, despite its lack of qualifications. It isssues an annual report for the media, informing them that very very few institutions meet their standards. Some major media take their ratings seriously, never asking who they are and how they have the chutzpah to rate every ed school in the nation, without bothering to visit any campuses. Linda Darling-Hammond described their first report stating that it was like a colllecyion of restaurant reviews based on menus, not on visits and tastings.

The National Education Policy Center reviewed the latest NCTQ report:

BOULDER, CO— The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) recently released its 2018 Teacher Prep Review. The report examines whether U.S. teacher preparation programs are aligned with NCTQ’s standards. This alignment, the report insists, will produce teachers “not only ready to achieve individual successes, but also [ready] to start a broader movement toward increased student learning and proficiency.”

The NCTQ report regularly garners generally credulous coverage from media outlets, including this year from Education Week and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Marilyn Cochran-Smith of Boston College, Elizabeth Stringer Keefe of Lesley University, Wen-Chia Chang of Boston College, and Molly Cummings Carney of Boston College reviewed the report for NEPC. The reviewers are all members of Project TEER (Teacher Education and Education Reform), a group of teacher education scholars and practitioners who have been studying U.S. teacher education in the context of larger reform movements since 2014. Their review found the report to have multiple logical, conceptual, and methodological flaws.

The report determines that most teacher preparation programs are not aligned with the NCTQ standards. Accordingly, it finds “severe structural problems with both graduate and alternative route programs that should make anyone considering them cautious.”

However, the report’s rationale includes widely critiqued assumptions about the nature of teaching, learning, and teacher credentials. Its methodology, which employs a highly questionable documents-only evaluation system, is a maze of inconsistencies, ambiguities, and contradictions. Further, the report ignores accumulating evidence that there is little relationship between the NCTQ’s ratings of a program and its graduates’ later classroom performance.
Finally, the report fails to substantively account for broad shifts in the field of teacher education that are nuanced, hybridized, and dynamic. It also exacerbates the dysfunctional dichotomy between university programs and alternative routes. For years now, researchers and analysts have pointed out that this distinction is not very useful, given that there is as much or more variation within these categories as between them. Ultimately, the report offers little guidance for policymakers, practitioners, or the general public.

Find the review, by Marilyn Cochran-Smith, Elizabeth Stringer Keefe, Wen-Chia Chang, and Molly Cummings Carney, at:
http://nepc.colorado.edu/thinktank/review-teacher-prep-2018

Find 2018 Teacher Prep Review, written by Robert Rickenbrode, Graham Drake, Laura Pomerance, and Kate Walsh and published by the National Council on Teacher Quality, at:
https://www.nctq.org/dmsView/2018_Teacher_Prep_Review_733174

Tim Slekar, dean of education at Edgewood College and a fighter for teachers and public schools, reports here on Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s latest salvo in his campaign to eliminate the teaching profession.

He writes:

“Wisconsin’s Joint Finance Committee passed Scott Walker’s budget proposal dealing with teacher education on a 12- 4 party line vote. While the entire proposal is a partisan disaster that continues the dismantling of Wisconsin’s public school system—one item is worth highlighting.”

Future teachers need no student teaching experience. They can completely bypass traditional professional education.

“The American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence will be granting teaching licenses in Wisconsin.

“What does it take to earn a teaching license through the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE)?

$2100
A computer.
Web access
?

“That’s it! You never need to step foot in a college classroom or a classroom full of children. This is truly “fast-track” alternative teacher certification. Who needs to work with kids or learn how to interact with other human beings? That’s so “traditional.””

The ABCTE was created by Kate Walsh, who also founded the National Council for Teacher Quality, whose purpose is to undermine teacher education programs. It is a standardized test that involves no practical or theoretical knowledge of teaching. NCTQ eventually sold off its ownership rights to this shoddy program.

Professor Kenneth Zeichner of the University of Washington, an expert on teacher education, had this to say about ABCTE:

“”Wisconsin is considering allowing the American Board for Certification of Teaching Excellence to operate within its boundaries. This program, which was started by Kate Walsh and the National Center for Teaching Quality as an alternative to the push by the profession to implement a national board certification, is a totally online program that requires teachers to pass 2 online exams about subject matter knowledge and professional teaching knowledge. There is no student teaching/internship/or residency experience or assessment of teaching competence, and graduates become teachers of record in classrooms with “other people’s children.” I have been a critic of what I consider to be substandard programs like Relay and TNTP that I believe do a poor job or preparing professional teachers who will stay in teaching for more than a few years. ABCTE is worse. No real preparation and they end up teaching in schools where students need the very best teachers. Shame on you, Scott Walker, Alberta Darling, and the rest of the WI alt right.”

The value-added assessment model that was forced on states by Arne Duncan’s Race to the Top is starting to fall apart, in the courts and in the experience of every state compelled to use it.

In this post, evaluation expert Audrey Amrein-Beardsley explains the top ten reasons why large scale, standardized tests should not be used to evaluate teachers.

She faced off against the rightwing National Council on Teacher Quality, which has consistently supported VAM and high-stakes testing. It is funded by, among others, the Gates Foundation.

The National Coucil for Teacher Quality issued a report calling for higher admission standards for entrants into teaching, specifically, higher SAT and ACT scores. This report was reviewed on behalf of the National Education Policy Center. It is interesting and strange that so many people think that scores on the SAT or ACT have remarkable predictive powers. The cardinal rule of psychometric is that a test should be used only for the purpose for which it was designed. These tests were designed to gauge likely success in college, but multiple studies have concluded that the students’ four-year grade-point-average is more reliable than either the SAT or ACT. Why would anyone think they predict good teachers? NCTQ should turn its attention to making the teaching profession more fulfilling and rewarding. At a time of teacher shortages, raising the bar will exacerbate the shortage.

The NCTQ is Gates-funded and endorses VAM to rate teachers. So they start with a strong bias towards standardized testing.

NEPC says:

BOULDER, CO (March 23, 2017) – A recent report from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) advocates for a higher bar for entry into teacher preparation programs. The NCTQ report suggests, based on a review of GPA and SAT/ACT requirements at 221 institutions in 25 states, that boosting entry requirements would significantly improve teacher quality in the U.S. It argues that this higher bar should be set by states, by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), and by the higher-education institutions themselves.

However, the report’s foundational claims are poorly supported, making its recommendations highly problematic.

The report, Within Our Grasp: Achieving Higher Admissions Standards in Teacher Prep, was reviewed by a group of scholars and practitioners who are members of Project TEER (Teacher Education and Education Reform). The team was led by Marilyn Cochran-Smith, the Cawthorne Professor of Teacher Education for Urban Schools at Boston College, along with Megina Baker, Wen-Chia Chang, M. Beatriz Fernández, & Elizabeth Stringer Keefe. The review is published by the Think Twice Think Tank Review Project at the National Education Policy Center, housed at University of Colorado Boulder’s School of Education.

The reviewers explain that the report does not provide the needed supports for its assertions or recommendations. It makes multiple unsupported and unfounded claims about the impact on teacher diversity of raising admissions requirements for teacher candidates, about public perceptions of teaching and teacher education, and about attracting more academically able teacher candidates.

Each claim is based on one or two cherry-picked citations while ignoring the substantial body of research that either provides conflicting evidence or shows that the issues are much more complex and nuanced than the report suggests. Ultimately, the reviewers conclude, the report offers little guidance for policymakers or institutions.

Find the review by Marilyn Cochran-Smith, Megina Baker, Wen-Chia Chang, M. Beatriz Fernández, & Elizabeth Stringer Keefe at:
http://nepc.colorado.edu/thinktank/review-admissions

Find Within Our Grasp: Achieving Higher Admissions Standards in Teacher Prep, by Kate Walsh, Nithya Joseph, & Autumn Lewis, published by the National Council on Teacher Quality, at:
http://www.nctq.org/dmsView/Admissions_Yearbook_Report

Politico speculates that the Trump administration will get rid of the Office of Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education. This would satisfy the hard-right, which has always objected to federal enforcement of civil rights laws. If it is not abolished outright, it might be handed over to someone who is opposed to civil rights enforcement, which seems to be an emerging pattern in Trump’s hires. The Office then might exist to cancel out existing federal enforcement activities.

 

Politico reports:

 

THE OFFICE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS’ LAST HURRAH? The Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, which could be on the chopping block once Donald Trump takes office, is celebrating its work over the last eight years – a period in which it became significantly more aggressive than ever before. The office has cracked down on colleges that mishandle sexual assault allegations and used Title IX, a federal law that prohibits discrimination based on sex, to protect the right of transgender students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice – an issue now headed to the Supreme Court. The department this morning is releasing two new reports highlighting its work under the Obama administration at a celebration in D.C.

 

– The highlights: The office has been flooded with complaints during the Obama administration – more than 76,000 in all, with each year seeing more than the last. It has settled 66,000 of them. That work has been done with a near record-low staff of 563 full-time employees. The office had about 1,100 staff in 1981, according to the report. “Much progress has been made in the past eight years, but much work remains to ensure all children enjoy equitable access to excellence in American education,” U.S. Education Secretary John B. King Jr. said in a statement. “These two reports highlight the ongoing vital necessity of OCR’s work to eliminate discriminatory barriers to educational opportunity so our nation’s students may realize their full potential.”

 

– But the office faces an uncertain future. Civil rights groups say they’re “deeply concerned” that the extension of civil rights protections to gay and transgender students by the Obama administration will be dismantled by Betsy DeVos, who Trump has tapped to lead the Education Department. DeVos’ family has a long history of supporting anti-gay causes, POLITICO previously reported. Trump’s surrogates, meanwhile, have said there’s no need to have an Office for Civil Rights, period.

 

– Schools remain hostile environments for LGBT students, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch, a group that advocates for LGBT rights. The group conducted in-depth interviews with students, parents, teachers and administrators in Alabama, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas and Utah and found that in many schools “discriminatory policies and practices exacerbate the sense of exclusion students face.” Teachers still fear for their jobs if they identify as gay or support LGBT students, according to the report. Students in same-sex couples said they were discouraged – or even prohibited – from attending events as a couple. Many schools censor discussions about LGBT topics, and eight states restrict discussions of LGBT topics in schools, according to the report.

 

– The Office for Civil Rights has also become a watchdog over colleges that mishandle investigations of sexual assault on campus. This week alone, the office opened four new investigations, bringing the list of schools currently under investigation to 219. OCR is also currently investigating some high-profile cases, such as the sexual assault cover-up by coaches and administrators at Baylor University that led the Texas school to demote its president and fire its star football coach.

 

Politico also reports on the latest from two rightwing groups that have established themselves as gatekeepers of the teaching profession, although they themselves have no credentials or authority, other than wealth:

 

REPORT: TEACHER PREP PROGRAMS MAKE PROGRESS: Nearly 900 programs preparing elementary school teachers are showing “significant progress,” particularly when it comes to how reading instruction is taught. That’s according to a new National Council on Teacher Quality review. But programs aren’t selective – a little more than a quarter of programs draw aspiring teachers from the top half of college-goers based on GPA or SAT/ACT scores, the report says. Still, programs have improved their selectivity over the years, and programs that are selective have also shown they’re diverse. More.

 

– Speaking of teachers, the Fordham Institute finds that it’s still really difficult to remove an ineffective teacher from the classroom after a decade of teacher evaluation reform. In 17 out of 25 districts studied, “state law still allows teachers to earn tenure and keep it regardless of performance.” And in most districts, an ineffective teacher’s dismissal is “extremely vulnerable” to appeal, the report says.

 

Comment: NCTQ’s standards of quality for teacher education programs is whether they are faithfully teaching the Common Core standards. Wonder if they will stick to that criterion in the age of Trump? Their definition of good reading instruction is phonics. Their judgments are not based on campus visits, but on reading catalogs and websites.

 

TBF, of course, judges teacher “effectiveness” by test scores, or value-added measurement, a method that has been debunked by scholarly associations like the American Statistical Association.

 

 

Perhaps you read the editorial in the New York Times a few days ago, blasting teacher education programs and approving John King’s new regulations to judge them by the test scores of the students who graduate from them. The editorial cites the Gates-funded National Council on Teacher Quality’s claim that 90% of teacher education institutions stink. NCTQ, you may recall, publishes rankings of teacher education programs without ever actually visiting any of them. It just reads the catalogues and decides which are the best and which are the worst, based in part on their adherence to the Common Core and scripted reading programs.

I agree that the entry standards for teacher education programs must be higher, and I would love to see online teaching degree programs shut down. But King’s new rules don’t address entry standards or crummy online programs. Their main goal is to judge teacher education programs by the test scores of the students who studied under the graduates of the programs. They will discourage teachers from teaching in high-needs districts. They will allow the U.S. Department of Education to extend its test-crazed control into yet another sector of American education. This is federal overreach at its dumbest.

John Merrow, who knows much more than the Times’ editorial writer on education (the same person for the past 20 years or more), has a different and better informed perspective.

He writes that the problem is not teacher education but the underpaid, under-respected profession.

The federal government thinks that tighter regulation of these institutions is the answer. After all, cars that come out of an automobile plant can be monitored for quality and dependability, thus allowing judgments about the plant. Why not monitor the teachers who graduate from particular schools of education and draw conclusions about the quality of their training programs?

That’s the heart of the new regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Education this week: monitor the standardized test scores of students and analyze the institutions their teachers graduated from. Over time, the logic goes, we’ll discover that teachers from Teacher Tech or Acme State Teachers College generally don’t move the needle on test scores. Eventually, those institutions will lose access to federal money and be forced out of business. Problem solved!

Education Secretary John B. King, Jr., announced the new regulations in Los Angeles. “As a nation, there is so much more we can do to help prepare our teachers and create a diverse educator workforce. Prospective teachers need good information to select the right program; school districts need access to the best trained professionals for every opening in every school; and preparation programs need feedback about their graduates’ experiences in schools to refine their programs (emphasis added). These regulations will help strengthen teacher preparation so that prospective teachers get off to the best start they can, and preparation programs can meet the needs of students and schools for great educators.”

Work on the regulations began five years ago and reflect former Secretary Arne Duncan’s views.

John Merrow says that the Department is trying to solve a problem by issuing regulations that will make the problem worse. Teacher churn and attrition are at extraordinary high levels. The regulations will not encourage anyone to improve teaching.

He writes:

Strengthen training, increase starting pay and improve working conditions, and teaching might attract more of the so-called ‘best and brightest,’ whereas right now it’s having trouble attracting anyone, according to the Learning Policy Institute, which reported that

“Between 2009 and 2014, the most recent years of data available, teacher education enrollments dropped from 691,000 to 451,000, a 35% reduction. This amounts to a decrease of almost 240,000 professionals on their way to the classroom in the year 2014, as compared to 2009.”

Merrow writes, in the voice of wisdom, a voice that has been non-existent in Washington, D.C., for the past 15 years:

I am a firm believer in the adage, “Harder to Become, Easier to Be.” We need to raise the bar for entry into the field and at the same time make it easier for teachers to succeed. This approach will do the opposite; it will make teaching more test-centric and less rewarding.

This latest attempt to influence teaching and learning is classic School Reform stuff. It worships at the altar of test scores and grows out of an unwillingness to face the real issues in education (and in society). While it may be well-meaning, it’s misguided and, at the end of the day, harmful.

Listen up, New York Times editorial writer!

Peter Greene brings his sharp scalpel to the latest “research” by the National Council for Teacher Quality. This is the group created in 2000 by the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation with the purpose of bringing down teacher education. As I wrote in an earlier post, NCTQ was sustained at the outset by a $5 million grant from Secretary of Education Rod Paige, when it had not yet figured out a way to destroy traditional teacher education programs.

 

Now NCTQ has issued a new “report,” claiming that it knows exactly what makes for successful teaching.

 

Greene writes:

 

 

The National Council on Teacher Quality is one of the great mysteries of the education biz. They have no particular credentials and are truly the laziest “researchers” on the planet, but I think I may have cracked the code. Let me show you their latest piece of “research,” and then we can talk about how they really work.

 

Their new report– “Learning about Learning: What Every New Teacher Needs To Know” (which is a curious title– do other teachers NOT need to know these things?)– is yet another NCTQ indictment of current teacher education programs. The broad stroke of their finding is that teacher education programs are not teaching the proven strategies that work in education.

 

That’s the broad stroke. As always with NCTQ, the devil is in the details. After all, that sounds like a huge research undertaking. First, you would have to identify teaching strategies that are clearly and widely supported by all manner of research. Then you would have to carefully examine a whooooooole lot of teacher education programs– college visits, professor and student interviews, sit in classes, extensive study of syllabi– it would be a huge undertaking.

 

Or you could just flip through a bunch of educational methods textbooks.

 

What Every Teacher Needs To Know

 

First, NCTQ had to select those methods that “every new teacher needs to know.” Here’s the methodology for that piece of research-based heavy lifting:

 

In Organizing Instruction and Study to Improve Student Learning: A Practice Guide, the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education, identified proven practices that promote learning for all students, regardless of grade or subject, and that are especially potent with struggling students. Six practices stand out for the research behind them. There is little debate among scholars about the effectiveness of these six strategies.

 

Here are a few things to know about Organizing Instruction and Study To Improve Student Learning.

 

It was published in September of 2007. It was produced under a USED- IES contract with Optimal Solutions Group, LLC, a policy data-analysis business. It opens with a disclaimer that includes this:

 

The opinions and positions expressed in this practice guide are the authors’ and do not necessarily represent the opinions and positions of the Institute of Education Sciences or the U.S. Department of Education.

 

The IES paper does, in fact, appear to be a group of researchers checking to see how much research basis there is for seven ideas that they think will help teaching subjects “that demand a great deal of content learning, including social studies, science, and mathematics.” So, not actually “all subjects and grades” as NCTQ says. And they are based around a memory-based model of education.

 

More importantly, the IES paper rates the seven approaches according to strength of the research to support them. Four of the seven are rated “moderate,” two are rated “low,” and the seventh is rated “strong”.

 

NCTQ then peruses methods textbooks to see if they actually teach the methods identified in the 2007 paper. They also looked at course syllabi. NCTQ assumes that the 2007 represents the latest and best research. They do no research themselves. They don’t actually visit any ed schools or talk to any faculty. Based on the textbooks and course syllabi reviewed, they once again decide that teacher education is failing.

 

These are the great minds that publish ratings of education schools every year in US News & World Report.

 

Greene writes:

 

NCTQ depends on the reluctance of people to read past the lede. For this piece, for instance, anybody who bothered to go read the old IES paper that supposedly establishes these as “bedrock” techniques would see that the IES does no such thing. Anyone who read into the NCTQ “research” on teacher program difficulty would see it was based on reading commencement programs. The college president I spoke to was so very frustrated because anybody who walked onto her campus could see that the program NCTQ gave a low ranking was a program that did not actually exist.

 

But NCTQ specializes in headline research– generate an eye-catching pro-reform headline and hope that if you follow it with a bunch of words, folks will just say, “Well, there’s a lot of words there, so they must have a real research basis for what they’re saying.”

 

So, sixteen years later, NCTQ has fulfilled the purpose of its founding: It has become a giant wrecking ball aimed at traditional teacher education programs. What will come in their wake? Relay “Graduate” School of Education? Match “Graduate” School of Education? Places where there are no scholars, no research, just charter teachers teaching future charter teachers the tricks for raising test scores.

Mercedes Schneider reports that the National Council on Teacher Quality received a formal evaluation for the first time in its 15-year history, and, the results are “not pretty.”

Created by the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Foundation/Institute to encourage alternative routes into teaching, NCTQ labored in obscurity for several years. Then, with the rise of the corporate reform movement, NCTQ became the go-to source for journalists looking for comments about how terrible teachers and teacher education are. It also became a recipient of Gates’ funding. See its 2011 report on teacher evaluation in Los Angeles here.)

Now NCTQ issues an annual report published by U.S. News & World Report, rating the nation’s colleges of education and finding almost all of them to be substandard. Among its standards is whether the institution teaches the Common Core. It bases its ratings on course catalogues and reading lists, not on site visits. Some institutions, skeptical of NCTQ’s qualifications and motivation, have refused to cooperate or send materials.

NCTQ recently agreed to collaborate with professors at Vanderbilt University and the University of North Carolina to assess the quality and validity of NCTQ’s ratings of colleges of education. The bottom line: the ratings do not gauge or predict teacher quality.

The full study opens with these conclusions:

“In our analysis of NCTQ’s overall TPP ratings, we find that in one out of 42 comparisons the graduates of TPPs with higher NCTQ ratings have higher value-added scores than graduates of TPPs with lower ratings; in eight out of 30 comparisons graduates of TPPs with higher NCTQ ratings receive higher evaluation ratings than graduates of TPPs with lower NCTQ ratings. There are no significant negative associations between NCTQ’s overall TPP ratings and teacher performance. In our analysis of NCTQ’s TPP standards, out of 124 value-added comparisons, 15 of the associations are positive and significant and five are negative and significant; out of 140 teacher evaluation rating comparisons, 31 associations are positive and significant and 23 are negative and significant.

“With our data and analyses, we do not find strong relationships between the performance of TPP (teacher prep program) graduates and NCTQ’s overall program ratings or meeting NCTQ’s standards.”

What does it mean?

Gary Henry of Vanderbilt Universoty was quoted here:

“The study also examined teacher evaluations but failed to establish a strong relationship between good teacher evaluations and NCTQ standards, according to Henry.

“The conclusion was the same,” Henry said. “Higher NCTQ ratings don’t appear to lead to higher performing teachers.”

I think that means the NCTQ ratings have no value in rating institutions or their graduates.

In 2013, the National Council on Teacher Quality offered its advice on how to fix Philadelphia’s financially beleaguered public schools. Retired teacher Lisa Haver reviewed its counsel to the city. Haver is a founder of the grass-roots advocacy organization Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools.

In this article, Haver wrote:

“”Thank heavens,” you’re thinking. The district is so broke it’s looking for loose change in the corner of desk drawers; thousands of students and teachers whose schools will close forever in June don’t know where they’ll be in September; parents wonder whether their children will have access to a nurse or counselor, or remember what a school librarian is; Harrisburg says don’t call us – we’ll call you.

“What does the Council [NCTQ] recommend that the district do to solve these problems? Crack down on teachers who get too many sick days, don’t deserve collective-bargaining rights, are too hard to fire and waste time getting advanced degrees in their field.”

This is the same organization that recently “rated” the nation’s teacher preparation programs without going to the trouble of visiting the campuses.