Few Gold Stars For Idaho's Teacher Training Programs

Jun 19, 2013

Teacher preparation programs at Idaho universities were on par with the rest of the country in a new study. But the country as a whole did terribly. The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) looked at more than 1,000 teacher education programs around the U.S.

The organization gave most of the nation’s schools two or less stars on its four star scale. Its general assessment of teacher education programs is dismal. One quote from the report reads, "The field of teacher preparation has rejected any notion that its role is to train the next generation of teachers."

Here's how Idaho universities' teacher training programs fared. The teal stars represent elementary education training, while the red ones are for secondary education training.

The report does not have data for ISU's secondary education program or for the University of Idaho. Boise State’s secondary  program was the state stand-out with  a spot on the report’s honor role. If the report gave letter grades using a standard bell curve method, Idaho's programs would be in the C to A range. 

It should not come as a complete surprise that NCTQ rates the nation's teacher education programs so poorly. The Washington D.C. based group founded in 2000 started with the assumption that the system needs overhauled. According to its website, they “believe that the teaching profession is way overdue for significant reform.” Back in January it gave Idaho a D on state policies related to teacher preparation.

The report has drawn a great deal of criticism. One long time critic of teacher training programs told NPR the study ignores the true test of any program, and that is how well its graduates - new teachers - are doing with the students in their classes.

Idaho’s Office of Performance Evaluations in January released a report that touched on this. It included survey results of the state’s principals and superintendents. The majority said most new teachers are prepared to do their jobs and 70 percent said they were satisfied with the new teachers coming to their schools.

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