Secretary Duncan Suggests Fixes for Colleges of Education

Last week, former US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan penned an open letter to college presidents and education school deans that laid out his concerns with teacher training across the nation. He, like Texas Aspires, knows how critical teachers are to our students’ futures and offered advice to improve their preparation for the classroom.

It must first be said that colleges of education are not the only pathway to the classroom for potential Texas teachers, and we are committed to quality for all teacher preparation programs. Almost half of Texas teachers (46 percent), however, are prepared in colleges of education.

Duncan focuses on three tangible fixes that he recommends to college presidents and deans: increase the rigor of coursework, move to more objective grading policies to reduce grade inflation, and transition to training focused on specific classroom skills and assignments rather than teaching theory and philosophy. The first two recommendations ensure the education major is as challenging as other majors, and the latter seeks to better prepare teachers for their first day (or first year) in the classroom.

In the end, Duncan says, “Lowering our expectations not only does a disservice to the teaching candidates in these programs but also to the students they’ll soon teach.” And if we want to raise expectations for our students so they’re prepared for their next steps, we must do the same for our teaching candidates.

We believe every Texas child, regardless of race, ethnicity or zip code, deserves a quality education. You can help make that happen.