Congress Talks About Teacher Prep

From: Inside Higher Ed
Last year alone, Congress appropriated $2.89 billion through the No Child Left Behind Act and $59.9 million through the Higher Education Act to fund teacher quality and preparation initiatives nationwide. At a Congressional subcommittee hearing Thursday, elected representatives and witnesses discussed strategies for getting the most out of that spending. The reauthorization of the two acts “presents a unique opportunity to improve these laws so that they operate in a more integrated fashion,” Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (D.-Tex.), chair of the House Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning and Competitiveness said at the hearing. Sharon P. Robinson, president and CEO of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, offered a host of recommendations to incorporate in the two acts, among them investments in a new fellowship program that would provide service scholarships for teaching in high-need fields and high-need schools, investments in partnerships among schools of education, schools of arts and sciences and K-12 schools, and support for the development of teacher performance assessments. In her written testimony, Robinson describes a number of state assessments that measure “whether new teachers can actually teach” before they become teachers. “A modest investment” on the part of the federal government could enable the continued development of these teacher performance assessments, Robinson said – adding that the TEACH Act recently reintroduced by Rep. George Miller (D.-Calif.) calls for just such an investment. Like Fallon, Robinson also advocated for a targeted investment in the development of data systems and a need for “state-of-the-art” mentoring programs.

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