A makeover for teacher preparation in 25 states

Ensuring that new teachers are ready to be effective the moment they enter the classroom is the focus of a new set of policy recommendations announced Monday by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). Already, state school leaders in 25 states are vowing to examine their training and licensure practices with an eye toward implementing the recommendations.

A report prepared by CCSSO’s Task Force on Transforming Educator Preparation and Entry into the Education Profession says states should align certification requirements with a knowledge of Common Core State Standards, adopted in 46 states, and with new assessments connected to those standards. New teachers should also have to demonstrate their ability to engage students and offer personalized instruction.

“A learner-ready teacher is one who is ready on day one of his or her career to model and develop in students the knowledge and skills they need to succeed today including the ability to think critically and creatively, to apply content to solving real world problems, to be literate across the curriculum, to collaborate and work in teams, and to take ownership of their own continuous learning,” the report states. “More specifically, learner-ready teachers have deep knowledge of their content and how to teach it; they understand the differing needs of their students, hold them to high expectations, and personalize learning to ensure each learner is challenged; they care about, motivate, and actively engage students in learning; they collect, interpret, and use student assessment data to monitor progress and adjust instruction; they systematically reflect, continuously improve, and collaboratively problem solve; and they demonstrate leadership and shared responsibility for the learning of all students.”

The report makes 10 recommendations in three policy areas:


1.      States will revise and enforce their licensure standards for teachers and principals to support the teaching of more demanding content aligned to college- and career-readiness and critical thinking skills to a diverse range of students.

2.      States will work together to influence the development of innovative licensure performance assessments that are aligned to the revised licensure standards and include multiple measures of educators’ ability to perform, including the potential to impact student achievement and growth.

3.      States will create multi-tiered licensure systems aligned to a coherent developmental continuum that reflects new performance expectations for educators and their implementation in the learning environment and to assessments that are linked to evidence of student achievement and growth.

4.      States will reform current state licensure systems so they are more efficient, have true reciprocity across states, and so that their credentialing structures support effective teaching and leading toward student college- and career-readiness.

Program Approval:

5.      States will hold preparation programs accountable by exercising the state’s authority to determine which programs should operate and recommend candidates for licensure in the state, including establishing a clear and fair performance rating system to guide continuous improvement. States will act to close programs that continually receive the lowest rating and will provide incentives for programs whose ratings indicate exemplary performance.

6.      States will adopt and implement rigorous program approval standards to assure that educator preparation programs recruit candidates based on supply and demand data, have highly selective admissions and exit criteria including mastery of content, provide high quality clinical practice throughout a candidate’s preparation that includes experiences with the responsibilities of a school year from beginning to end, and that produce quality candidates capable of positively impacting student achievement.

7.      States will require alignment of preparation content standards to PK-12 college- and career-ready standards for all licensure areas.

8.      States will provide feedback, data, support, and resources to preparation programs to assist them with continuous improvement and to act on any program approval or national accreditation recommendations.

Data Collection, Analysis and Reporting:

9.      States will develop and support state-level governance structures to guide confidential and secure data collection, analysis, and reporting of PK-20 data and how it informs educator preparation programs, hiring practices, and professional learning. Using stakeholder input, states will address and take appropriate action, individually and collectively, on the need for unique educator identifiers, links to non-traditional preparation providers, and the sharing of candidate data among organizations and across states.

10.  States will use data collection, analysis, and reporting of multiple measures for continuous improvement and accountability of preparation programs.

State superintendents and commissioners of education are vowing to implement the recommendations in the following states: Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia according to a published report.