By John Fensterwald
A report out this week urges California school districts to take a more assertive role in producing new teachers. A new half-billion-dollar appropriation to districts to improve teacher effectiveness presents the opening to do this, although more state encouragement and incentives would help, the study said.
“Districts must take increasing responsibility for recruiting and developing their own future teachers, rather than leave it up to teacher preparation programs to provide the teachers they need,” concluded “Rethinking Teacher Preparation,” by the Washington-based education consulting and research nonprofit Bellwether Education Partners.
Bellwether isn’t the first to criticize the state’s “fragmented” approach to teacher preparation. With few exceptions, future teachers get their subject knowledge as college undergraduates and their initial teacher credential in a one-year graduate school program crammed with theory and, in many cases, a minimum of classroom practice. Districts run training and induction programs like Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment, or BTSA, for inexperienced teachers after they’re on the job.