5 Teacher Prep Stories I’d Like To See (More Of)

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There are lots of stories out there that haven’t gotten enough (any) coverage. Here are some that come to mind from last week’s EWA teacher preparation seminar:

*Student teachers, all aboard! Starting in January or so, student teaches start popping up in veteran teachers’ classrooms, learning about how real schools work.  Clinical practice is supposed to be a big issue in preservice preparation. But how does it really work? Do the master teachers really help? Do the student teachers get practice with the kinds of kids they’re likely to be teaching when they get a real job? Is it just “rent a classroom”?

*According to some of the panelists at last week’s EWA seminar on teacher preparation, online/alternative preparation of teachers is much bigger than anyone seems to realize — and on its way to being even bigger. Where are these teachers showing up in real classrooms? What have they learned that’s better or worse than a traditional program? Maybe some journalist should sign up for an online program and tell us about the process?

*Is teacher prep the next “gainful employment” fight? Getting performance data from teacher prep programs and making sure that they’re helping teaching candidates get jobs and do well in them is a difficult and contentious thing. As with for-profit colleges, the Obama administration has pushed ahead in fits and starts. What progress has it made? What changes have already taken place in teacher prep programs around the country?

*What happened the last time they tried to fix ed schools? Someone could do some retro reporting on the 1998 amendments to the higher education act, which included a big (and largely impotent) effort to make ed schools accountable. What’s the conventional wisdom about what happened? What was the real story that didn’t get told?

*Home visits open parents’ and kids’ eyes. What a great and easy way to report about the relationships between schools and parents/home communities. There have been a few of these stories in the last few months, but I have the feeling there’s lots more that could be done out there.

*In a few weeks, TFA is going to celebrate 25 years. You can cover it — I know you will — but you better damn well report some new and interesting information rather than the same old, same old. #norehashallowed.

Alexander Russo

Alexander Russo is a freelance education writer who has created several long-running blogs such as the national news site This Week In Education, District 299 (about Chicago schools), and LA School Report. He can be reached on Twitter at @alexanderrusso, on Facebook, or directly at alexanderrusso@gmail.com.