A new federal proposal will help ensure rigor in teacher preparation programs.

To ensure that teachers are ready to enter the classroom, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) is proposing a series of initiatives to reward the best teacher preparation programs, improve the quality at schools of education, and remove burdensome regulations.

These reforms are part of the Obama administration’s effort to support educators and make government programs work better for teachers and students.

“America’s teachers and America’s children deserve world-class preparation programs that prepare teachers for today’s classrooms and students for today’s information age,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in announcing ED’s proposed reforms.

The plan has three core elements:

  • ED is proposing to reduce the reporting burden on schools of education and states. It wants states to identify the best teacher preparation programs and encourage others to improve by linking student test scores back to teachers and their schools of education. Schools of education and states are currently required to report 440 different measures annually. ED recommends far fewer input measures and at least three significant outcome measures that are indicators of quality.
  • ED has proposed a $185 million Presidential Teaching Fellows program to support rigorous state-level policies and provide scholarships for future leaders to attend top programs. These future educators would be prepared to teach high-need subjects or fields, and upon graduation, teach for at least three years in high-need schools.
  • The plan will provide more support for institutions that prepare high-quality teachers from diverse backgrounds. ED is developing Hawkins Centers for Excellence, which will help prepare the next generation of effective minority teachers. President Obama’s budget proposes $40 million in first-time funding for this already authorized program to support and diversify the teaching workforce.