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March 21, 2013 3:02 PM Are Education Schools Better Than We Thought?

By Daniel Luzer

It turns out America’s education schools, long derided for lax admissions standards and low quality research, might be more demanding than we knew.

According to a new report issued by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education:

Contrary to many perceptions, teacher preparation programs are admitting academically competitive candidates into their programs.
Extensive clinical experiences are being incorporated in higher-education-based teacher preparation programs.

So the quality of candidates for education programs is going up and the clinical standards of research in education programs are also improving.

As Sharon Robinson, president of the AACTE, put it

We’re… encouraged to find that clinical development is becoming a much larger dimension of the preparation program. It starts early, upon entering into the program… it is being conducted through an amazing array of methodologies… and it has been documented, in terms of candidate development, with ever more precision.

Of course, more competitive and more clinical is a positive development, but it still doesn’t mean they’re any good. The problem with education schools is that while undergraduate education programs are often essential to get a teaching job, and teachers get pay raises as a result of earning education master’s degrees, education schools have never been shown to improve teacher effectiveness. Going to an education school just doesn’t make you a better teacher.

Can more competitive and more clinical fix that? Well, maybe. But don’t bet on it.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer