- The U.S. Department of Education Wednesday morning unveiled a new set of regulations for teacher prep programs, featuring program-level reporting mandates designed to better gauge effectiveness.
- Among the new reporting metrics are placement and three-year retention rates; self-reporting by graduates and employers on program effectiveness; student outcomes for those assigned to the novice teacher’s class; and various “other program characteristics” around pedagogy and clinical preparation as displayed by the program’s graduates.
- In a press release, the department said the new rules are intended to ratify “the mismatch between the available teaching jobs and fields in which programs are preparing educators,” and ensure the best teachers are going to the highest-need areas.
The idea of equity has been a hallmark of the Obama administration’s education agenda, particularly in the K-12 sector. Again underscoring the idea of redirecting the most talent to the most disadvantaged areas to address some of the inequities in traditionally underresourced schools, the new set of rules also ups the ante around another of the administration’s major priorities: accountability.
For the higher education programs which graduate these future teachers, the focus on outcomes might feel a lot like other higher ed accountability efforts, including the college scorecard. A focus on outcomes and ROI tied to teacher performance could be a sticky path, as a number of factors beyond the classroom often account for student achievement.