Nicholas Banovetz is a past member of the 50CAN team. 

Yesterday, the National Council on Teacher Quality released its first-ever review of U.S. teacher preparation programs.

This national study, which looked at more than 1,100 undergraduate and graduate programs across the country, is the first of its kind to evaluate and rank programs based on a variety of factors, including admissions selectivity, content preparation, skills preparation (including classroom management), the quality of student teaching, and the use of outcomes and data.

Programs were rated between zero and four stars; programs earning three or more stars were awarded a spot on the “honor roll.” Only 104 of the more than 1,100 programs national met that standard–including four programs in Minnesota. Minnesota's leading teacher preparation colleges are:

  • Gustavus Adolphus College 
  • University of Minnesota Duluth
  • University of Minnesota-Morris
  • University of St. Thomas

On the opposite end of the spectrum, NCTQ also gave some programs a “consumer alert” warning. This indicates that the program rated so low that it received no stars when measured against their quality standards. Sadly, 163 programs received a consumer alert. Out of the 26 rated institutions in Minnesota, no programs received a consumer alert; however, 22 programs received unsatisfactory reviews–meaning Minnesota education colleges are sending droves of new teachers into classrooms ill-prepared. 

Here at MinnCAN, we're committed to improving the quality of teacher preparation programs across the state. We know that having a highly effective teacher in the classroom is the most important in-school factor influencing student achievement. And an important part of cultivating effective teachers is making sure those teachers themselves receive effective preparation and training. Just as we're working with state leaders to ensure that there is accountability for schools, districts, teachers and school leaders, we're committed to working with policymakers to ensure that institutions of higher education, which produce the vast majority of teachers in the country, are accountable for their performance.

Ensuring rigorous admission into teacher preparation programs, setting a higher bar for certification after programs are completed, and linking programmatic approval and re-approval contingent on outcomes are all important steps Minnesota can take to improve the quality of new teachers and set them up for success in their first years.

We look forward to further analyzing the results of this groundbreaking study, and considering ways to use this information to improve the quality of schools in our state. 


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