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Guiding Principles on Teacher Preparation Presented to Regents

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Atlanta — March 11, 1998

The University System of Georgia will “guarantee” the performance of P-12 teachers produced through its teacher education programs, if one of nine recommended principles unveiled in a presentation to the Board of Regents Strategic Planning Committee today are approved next month.

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.

On hand to hear and respond to the recommended principles regarding their impact on teaching in P-12 schools, were Johnny Isakson, chairman of the State Board of Education, and Linda Schrenko, State Superintendent of Schools. Sheila Jones and Kay Cribbs, two Master-Teachers-in-Residence with the Board of Regents who are supporting the teacher preparation initiative, also provided the board with their reactions to the recommended principles.

Today’s presentation marked the fifth installment of an intensive review of the University System’s role in educating the state’s teachers, a Board of Regents’ initiative that has been underway during the current academic year. 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 of Academic Affairs Dr. Jan Kettlewell, who made the presentation to the board, noted that under the guarantee principle, “The University System will `take back’ any teacher within the first two years after graduation from a System institution when a school district in Georgia determines the teacher’s performance is less than effective in helping students make satisfactory progress.” Dr. Kettlewell said, “If taken back, a teacher will receive additional preparation at no cost to the teacher or to the school district.

“All nine of the principles that we have developed emphasize the knowledge and skills educators need to teach, support, and administer effectively, and they call on institutions to assure that their graduates can integrate and apply what they have learned before they are recommended for certification,” Dr. Kettlewell added.

Teacher Preparation Initiative

The recommended principles, grouped under the associated three categories, are:

QUALITY ASSURANCE

  • The University System will guarantee the quality of any teacher it graduates. The recommendation calls for teacher education programs to assure that its graduates: have sufficient subject matter knowledge in all areas included on their teaching certificate; can demonstrate success in bringing students from diverse cultural, ethnic, international, and socio-economic groups to high levels of learning; and are able to use telecommunication and information technologies as tools for learning. A key part of this recommendation is that elementary school teachers should be able to demonstrate accomplishment in teaching children to read. Under this recommendation, any public institution that awarded a degree and submitted the recommendation for teacher certification would stand by the quality of its graduates and maintain an obligation to nurture the continuing development of teachers.

  • Graduate programs for teachers will adhere to the general principles of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. This organization has set standards to ensure that experienced teachers are accomplished in meeting the learning needs of all students.

  • The University System will assure that graduates of its programs for school leaders and counselors are able to create learning environments that support teacher success in bringing students from diverse groups to high levels of learning. This recommendation reflects the key role administrators play in creating an environment that supports students, teachers and learning.

COLLABORATION

  • Teacher preparation programs will be the shared responsibility of education faculty, arts and sciences faculty, and classroom teachers in the schools. The three groups must work together if teacher preparation programs are to be effective, the Ad Hoc committee has noted.

  • Through partnerships with P-12 schools, institutions that prepare teachers will have an ongoing responsibility to collaborate with schools in mentoring, induction, and professional development programs for classroom teachers and school leaders. This recommendation is aimed at keeping good teachers in Georgia’s public schools; currently 35 percent of the state’s teacher leave teaching within their first five years.

RESPONSIVENESS

  • All teacher preparation programs will implement aggressive recruitment policies to increase the numbers, to raise the caliber, and to expand the diversity of teacher candidates, and to balance supply and demand. Institutions with teacher preparation programs should set the academic qualifications of students going into teacher preparation at a level comparable to student qualifications for the institution as a whole. It also recommends the establishment of a clearinghouse to identify the demand in the state’s public schools for teachers by discipline.

  • The University System will expand the number of teacher certification programs offered to individuals who already hold bachelor’s degrees from accredited colleges in order to increase opportunities for individuals seeking second careers in teaching.

  • The University System will work with the Department of Education and the Professional Standards Commission to bring an end to out-of-field teaching in Georgia. Currently in Georgia, 66 percent of physical science teachers, 49 percent of history teachers, and 23 percent of mathematics teachers do not have at least an academic minor (18 semester hours) in the subject, according to a Schools and Staffing survey. Data support that higher student achievement occurs when students are taught be teachers who are well prepared in the subject.

  • The University System will encourage institutions that prepare teachers to give added emphasis to policies that: support the efforts of faculty to model effective teaching; give the same status and value to teacher preparation research as is given to other basic and applied research; and support increased participation of teacher preparation faculty in the public schools.

At next month’s meeting, the Board will review and adopt final guiding principles for the teacher preparation initiative. The Board will then develop specific action items based upon these principles.

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