Report says too many teachers-to-be are poor students

College students in a classroom.

Higher education institutions are training some of the weakest students to lead the nation's classrooms.

That’s one of the conclusions of a new report from the National Council on Teacher Quality. On top of that, the advocacy group says fewer than 10 percent of the teacher training programs it's assessed are doing a stellar job.

One of the criteria the group uses to assess schools is their admissions selectivity.

“The education school is often the easiest program on a campus to get into,” says Kate Walsh, president of The National Council on Teacher Quality. Walsh says three out of four of the teacher prep programs her group examined lack rigorous admissions standards and accept students with lackluster grade point averages or scores on college entrance tests.

Walsh says mediocre students use education as a fall-back major. She wants schools to raise the bar and make teaching a more elite profession.

But Peter Cookson with the American Institutes for Research says another important way to do that would be to raise teachers' pay.

“It's a good salary, but it isn't really competitive in the long-term,” he says.

Cookson says the stakes are high for attracting and retaining good teachers. He says students perform much better with strong instructors.

About the author

Annie Baxter is a reporter for Minnesota Public Radio.

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