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Guiding Principles on Teacher Preparation Approved by Regents

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Atlanta — April 8, 1998

The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia today (April 8) approved a new policy that “guarantees” the performance of P-12 teachers produced through its teacher education programs, for teachers who are teaching within the fields for which they have been prepared. The action was taken at the regents April board meeting, held at Darton College in Albany.

The guarantee is one of ten Principles for the Preparation of Educators for Schools, which has been adopted as a framework for the University System to produce outstanding graduates from the 15 accredited teacher education programs that it operates at universities throughout the state. The final document is the outgrowth of nine principles initially introduced for first reading at the March board meeting, and modified to incorporate suggestions gained from considerable discussion by the regents.

Among the modifications made by the regents was the additional of a new principle that focused on a guarantee that all graduates of the University System’s early childhood education programs will be able to demonstrate accomplishment in teaching children to read and to do mathematics. In addition, regents recommended that current research efforts focused on improving classroom teaching and student learning within P-12 schools be expanded.

The recommended principles, grouped into three categories – quality assurance, collaboration, and responsiveness – were developed by the 1997-1998 Ad Hoc Committee on Teacher Preparation, appointed to assist the Board with its comprehensive teacher preparation initiative.

At the meeting in Albany, the board also heard from Dr. John I. Goodlad, professor emeritus of education and co-director of the Center for Education Renewal at the University of Washington in Seattle, and president of the independent Institute for Educational Inquiry. Goodlad presented the regents with a national perspective on the teacher education field and provided extended comment on the conditions that must be put in place to realize the full potential of the principles.

Today’s presentation marked the sixth installment of this year-long intensive review of the University System’s role in educating the state’s teachers, a Board of Regents’ initiative that has been underway since October. Previous board presentations addressed the demographics of Georgia’s teachers, the ways teachers obtain their state teaching licenses, how the state’s public colleges prepare teachers for certification and what happens to teachers once they graduate and begin their teaching careers.

Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dr. Jan Kettlewell, who has overseen the teacher preparation study process, is extremely pleased with the progress made to date and the promise that the principles hold for increasing the quality of teacher education programs in the state, and the calibre of students who will graduate from those programs.

“This is an incredible step that the Board of Regents has taken today, to ensure that quality and collaboration are the hallmarks of teacher education in Georgia,” Dr. Kettlewell said. “The ultimate goal of this study and of developing the principles and the actions plans that will follow is that new teachers should be able to bring about higher levels of student learning in the school classrooms, because they will be better prepared to meet the multiplicity of academic and environmental challenges that they face.”

The next step will be for University System officials to work with the 15 teacher education programs to develop action plans that will achieve the goals of the principles adopted today. The 1997-98 Ad Hoc Committee on Teacher Preparation will be involved in shaping those plans.

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