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Five Ways to Improve Teacher Education, Without Spending More Money

IP-3-2000 (February 2000)
Author: Arnold Burron

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A variety of solutions, including, but not limited to, reducing class size, requiring merit pay for teachers, increasing professional requirements, changing the calendar to accommodate year-round schools, and a host of other changes have been advocated as avenues to improving the performance of public school pupils. Even the undergraduate curriculum for teacher-education students has been modified in the hope that improved public school teaching would result in increased achievement of public school pupils. One possible solution that has not received much attention, however, is the re-examination and revision of policies in teacher-education programs.

Changes in teacher education policiesrather than in teacher-certification requirements could result in significantly improved performance on the part of public school pupils.

Five simple stepsinexpensive, easily understood, and readily-implemented by any institution of higher educationare suggested and explained in this Issue Paper. These changes are:

  • Step One. Change the way university teaching is evaluated, by eliminating or reducing student evaluations of teachers.
  • Step Two: Modernize the course delivery process by creating a multimedia package covering all fundamentals.
  • Step Three: Stop playing Big University. Don’t force professors who are great teachers to divert time into writing for journals, or attending professional conferences.
  • Step Four: Get rid of redundancies by eliminating outside accreditation.
  • Step Five: Restructure the hiring process, by eliminating the barrier on hiring the best graduates to teach at the school from which they graduated. Eliminated merit pay.