This is a report I have been waiting for. When you talk with teachers about the quality and relevance of their courses and programs that prepared them to teach and become certified, chances are most will say that, by and large, the coursework and preparation was largely not helpful or relevant to what goes on in the classroom. In my own experience, I cannot think of too many things that prepared me for my first teaching job in a Chicago public high school, where over 60 languages were spoken, 75% of my students had English as a second language, and 95% of the 1800 students were from low-income families. I was decidedly unprepared in terms of what to expect and strategies to use in the actual classes I was teaching, and instead had to very quickly learn on the fly. This is from the NSTA Express:
"Despite some examples of success, the majority of today's teacher-education programs are engaged in a "pursuit of irrelevance," having failed to keep pace with substantial changes in technology, student demographics, and global competition, according to a new report from the non-partisan Education Schools Project. The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education said it welcomed the report and agreed with some, though not all, of its recommendations. To read the eSchool News article, visit http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/showStory.cfm?ArticleID=6587. To read more about the report Educating School Teachers, visit http://www.edschools.org/teacher_report.htm."
If you are a teacher, it is worth a read. Real reform and improvement in student achievement on a large scale will not be possible unless teacher training and education is improved on a large scale. Quality teacher preparation and training in reformed teacher education colleges/programs needs to be a central pillar to any future education policy, without question.