“Preparaing Teachers for the Classroom: The Role of HEA and NCLB”

Jade Floyd,
or 202.478.4596

Washington, D.C. (May 15, 2007) On Thursday, May 17, 2007, at 10 a.m. (EST) Sharon P. Robinson, Ed.D., president and CEO of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), will testify before the House Committee on Education and Labor’s Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning, and Competitiveness hearing entitled, “Preparing Teachers for the Classroom: The Role of the Higher Education Act and No Child Left Behind.” The hearing takes place in 2175 Rayburn House Office Building with the live webcast viewable online at http://edworkforce.house.gov/

Robinson’s testimony examines Title II of the Higher Education Act (HEA) and Title II of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which she describes as “lynchpins in the federal investment in teacher quality. Yet neither is robust enough to produce the needed transformation in the field.”

Title II of NCLB is the federal government’s $2.9 billion investment in educators’ professional development. Yet, according to the U.S. Department of Education, a mere 28% of the funds are actually spent on professional development. Robinson maintains that NCLB Title II funds should target systemic and sustainable change in states—working through partnerships involving higher education and local school districts.

The two Title IIs of HEA and NCLB are critical levers in supporting and strengthening the recruitment, preparation, and professional development of educators. However, as written and implemented, the two titles work parallel to each other rather than in concert. This mode of operation does not reflect the current reality of how schools of education and P-12 schools integrally work together to improve PreK-12 student learning. AACTE recommends that both titles be amended to support the innovative relationships that promote the improvement of instructional practice in both the academy and the P-12 classroom and to strategically target critical areas, including:

    •  the growing teacher shortages in subject areas such as math and science and for special education and English language learners;
    •  the maldistribution of teachers;
    •  the teacher shortages in urban and rural areas; and
    •  the ability of all teachers to serve diverse learners.

“The relationship between higher education and K-12 schools has changed dramatically in the last decade. There are ongoing relationships which promote innovation and lead to the improvement of instructional practice in both the academy and the classroom,” says Robinson. “Both Title II’s need to support and fund these rich partnerships to yield maximum benefit for our nation’s learners.”

Robinson was formerly president of the Educational Testing Service’s Educational Policy Leadership Institute. Before joining ETS, Robinson was assistant secretary of education with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Research and Improvement.

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