Rethinking Relicensure: Promoting Professional Learning Through Teacher Licensure Policies
New America, August 2018
New America examined whether and how teacher licensure requirements in the U.S. encourage meaningful professional learning. Looking across all 50 states, they discovered that the short answer is no. Most policies failed to encourage learning that is relevant, sustained, or job-embedded. Furthermore, they tended to emphasize “seat time” and failed to examine whether teachers actually learned or changed their practice.
Overall, the report finds that states are “squandering a great opportunity” to promote effective professional learning and student growth, but it did find bright spots in a few states and makes recommendations for improving relicensure policies.
Taking the Long View: State Efforts to Solve Teacher Shortages by Strengthening the Profession
Learning Policy Institute, August 29, 2018
Strengthening the education workforce is key to addressing teacher shortages, according to this report from the Learning Policy Institute.
It describes key strategies for doing that, including mentoring and induction programs for new teachers and leadership training for principals. Examples of promising approaches are based on reviews of states’ Every Student Succeeds Act plans, state policies, and administrative documents and data.
MENTORS AND STUDENT TEACHERS
Mentors matter: Good teaching really can be passed down to student teachers, new research finds
Chalkbeat, July 16, 2018
Education reporter Matt Barnum highlights three recent studies that found the quality of mentoring during student teaching placements matters for teachers’ development. When student teachers had mentors who were highly rated on observational assessments, they went on to be rated higher once they had their own classrooms.
That might seem like common sense, but teaching quality isn’t always taken into account when assigning mentors. And the studies find that a commonly used criterion for selecting mentors — years of classroom experience — did not correlate with student teachers’ learning or later success.
According to Barnum, “The findings offer a commonsense prescription: Invest in finding the most effective possible teachers to supervise their trainees.”
PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools
PDK International, 2018
The PDK Poll has been surveying Americans about their perceptions of U.S. schools since 1969. This year, PDK looks back on the 50 years of polling data to document not just current attitudes but trends over time.
One of this year’s key findings is that two-thirds of Americans believe teachers are underpaid and 78% would support a teacher strike in their community. Most survey respondents have confidence in teachers, but a majority say they would discourage their children from becoming teachers.