PDK/Gallup Poll Shows Public Support for Quality Teacher Preparation

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AACTE Members Addressing Key Concerns Through Rigorous Programs, Partnerships and Policy Initiatives

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“We can see from this year’s PDK/Gallup poll that Americans are increasingly aware of the critical role that teacher preparation plays in supporting high-quality education for all students." -Sharon P. Robinson, Ed.D., President and CEO of AACTE

AACTE member institutions across the country are leading rigorous and effective teacher preparation programs that echo the priorities of those surveyed in the 46th annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. The 2014 poll includes a special section released today on teacher preparation and evaluation.

The first report on the 2014 poll, released last month, showed that Americans are skeptical of federal policy influences on public schools and of the Common Core State Standards and standardized tests. The newly released second report delves into specific ways respondents think teacher quality and schools should be improved.

“We can see from this year’s PDK/Gallup poll that Americans are increasingly aware of the critical role that teacher preparation plays in supporting high-quality education for all students,” said Sharon P. Robinson, Ed.D., president and CEO of AACTE. “This report provides a unique window on Americans’ views about our field and an opportunity to showcase the important work happening in teacher preparation programs nationwide on issues of quality, certification and classroom experience, among other priorities.”

2014 poll respondents are particularly concerned with the quality of teacher candidates, with 60 percent of Americans saying that the entrance requirements for preparation programs should be more rigorous. Many citizens may not be aware that the students who enter baccalaureate teacher preparation programs actually have an average GPA of 3.24, and for postbaccalaureate programs the number is even higher. AACTE advocates for not only improving recruitment efforts but also setting a high bar for entry into the profession at the point of licensure, based on multiple measures and including a performance assessment such as edTPA.

AACTE member institutions are also focused on ensuring that candidates get adequate clinical practice—a priority for more than 70 percent of poll respondents, who said new teachers should spend at least a year practice teaching before licensure. In addition to the school-based programs already in place in collaboration with colleges of teacher education nationwide, many institutions have established year-long residencies through the federally sponsored Teacher Quality Partnership program. AACTE also supports the proposed Educator Preparation Reform Act, which would provide additional backing for teacher residency programs.

The poll also found that Americans overwhelmingly (81 percent) support board certification for teachers to mirror practice in other professions. Currently, just three percent of teachers hold certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, which is considered an advanced endorsement to be pursued after several years on the job. AACTE supports board certification as a key step in the professional continuum, and many member programs at the master’s level are modeled on the NBPTS standards and/or assist teachers in pursuing their advanced certification.

AACTE recently collaborated with teachers’ unions and several other organizations to release a state policy guide that addresses many of these issues. The guide, Excellent Teachers for Each and Every Child, provides a road map for state lawmakers to improve teacher quality through recruitment, preparation, professional development, evaluation and more.

“AACTE plans to use the results of this PDK/Gallup poll to inspire further reform and innovation in educator preparation,” Robinson said.

For more information on the PDK/Gallup poll reports, visit http://pdkpoll.org.

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AACTE: The Premier Voice on Educator Preparation
The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education is a national alliance of educator preparation programs dedicated to high-quality, evidence-based preparation that assures educators are ready to teach all learners on Day 1. Its over 800 member institutions represent public and private colleges and universities in every state, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam. AACTE seeks to lead the field in advocacy and capacity building by promoting innovation and effective practices as critical to reforming educator preparation. For more information, visit http://www.aacte.org.

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