October 22, 2009
Statement by Randi Weingarten,
President, American Federation of Teachers,
On Need To Strengthen Teacher Education Programs
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is speaking Thursday on the need to improve teacher education programs at colleges and universities.
WASHINGTON—Teacher education programs that fall far short of the mark must be strengthened, so future teachers can be well-prepared to hit the ground running when they begin teaching. While there have been some advances in the past few years, serious problems remain.
In 2000, the AFT issued a report decrying the state of teacher preparation and made a number of recommendations; sadly, they have not been implemented widely. The AFT stands by these decade-old recommendations, which include setting higher entry standards for teacher education programs, instituting core liberal arts classes for all education students, requiring subject-matter majors for education students, developing core pedagogy in key subjects, strengthening clinical experience programs, imposing higher exit and licensure standards, ensuring that alternative licensure programs meet the high standards, and strengthening teacher induction programs.
Because of deficiencies in attracting and training teachers, the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers is developing its own groundbreaking program. CareerTeacher, a grow-your-own approach to teacher recruitment and preparation, was among the first set of education reform projects to receive a grant from the AFT Innovation Fund, which is funded by the AFT and five prominent philanthropic foundations.
We look forward to working with the administration, colleges, universities and others to strengthen teacher education programs so that America’s teachers can do the best job possible educating today’s and tomorrow’s students.
The AFT’s “Building a Profession” report can be found on the AFT Web site at aft.org.
# # # #
The AFT represents more than 1.4 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.