Last weekend, NPR kicked off what it says will be a yearlong series on teacher training with a discussion featuring education correspondents Claudio Sanchez and Larry Abramson. Mr. Abramson said a new focus on teacher effectiveness and teacher training is being driven by a $400 million investment in a Federal program called the Teacher Incentive Fund, but that change will be difficult to achieve:
It’s not really a ground up effort to try to change the way teachers are trained. And it’s very difficult for the administration to do that because that is really a state function. It’s done by teachers’ colleges in coordination with a state accrediting agency. And I think that’s something that Claudio and I have seen quite a bit, is that accrediting standards across the country are still different. They’re viewed differently. They change all the time. It’s very hard for the federal government to have an influence on that process.
Mr Sanchez added that he was “astounded” to find in the course of his reporting that of 1,300 colleges and universities offering teaching degrees in the United States, only about 50 of those institutions are widely considered to be doing a good job preparing teachers.