In reflecting on former NYC Education Commissioner Joel Klein’s forthcoming book on his tenure leading the nation’s largest public school district, the New York Times‘ Frank Bruni notes that Klein refers to teacher quality as “the biggest factor in the education equation.”
For years now, the voices talking about teacher quality have grown louder and louder. Each time a new NAEP or PISA score is released, it is used as a launching pad to demand “better teachers.” A drop in graduation rates or a decline on state assessments only adds more fuel to the rocket.
As a result, much attention is paid to related topics such as teacher tenure, due process, salaries, and external factors such as poverty. But not nearly enough focus is paid to teacher education and what it really takes to prepare a truly excellent teacher for the challenges of today’s classrooms.