Williams Defends Wisconsin’s Teacher Preparation Programs

Jeanne WilliamsJeanne Williams, Professor of Educational Studies at Ripon College and President of the Wisconsin Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, is in the news defending Wisconsin colleges’ teacher preparation against a report by the nonprofit National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ). The NCTQ released a report evaluating 2,420 teaching programs nationwide, and Wisconsin colleges did not fare well, in general, with the highest score being a three star score (out of four stars). As the report notes, though, only 22% of schools submitted information for the review, and of the 27 programs they evaluated in Wisconsin, the NCTQ only had enough data on 12 of them to issue an overall program rating.

In an opinion piece published by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Williams along with Melanie Agnew, assistant dean of the College of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and Stewart Purkey, director of teacher education at Lawrence University, responded to the NCTQ review by questioning the methods, motives and legitimacy of the NCTQ.

In their letter, the educators point out that the NCTQ was founded “in 2000 by the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation. Its self-described “sister” organization, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute is a well-known conservative think tank that regularly promotes school vouchers, privatization and other policies that reflect a clearly partisan slant on public education.”

The report, according to Williams and her colleagues, did not incorporate a single site visit in Wisconsin, and relied on “…its own criteria for reviewing teacher education programs — criteria that have little, if any, relationship to the real world quality of program graduates — but it also used the bully strategy of demanding that deans and directors of programs produce, at their own considerable expense, the documents NCTQ requested or be evaluated anyway. It appears NCTQ has done just that, grading programs with or without the requested documents.”

Ripon College was not among the schools evaluated by the NCTQ.

You can read Williams’ piece in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: HERE


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