Not the Time for Education Schools to Resist Transparent Review Process

A few days ago I told you about the recent Denver visit from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ)’s Sandi Jacobs, but I never really got to the interesting part: the main part of her presentation. She came to talk about the big project NCTQ and U.S. News and World Report have launched to evaluate the nation’s schools of education.

Now, naturally, I don’t write much about schools of education. At my age it’s really quite a bit trying to follow teachers and schools, without keeping frequent tabs on who’s teaching the teachers that teach in our schools. Still, it’s an important issue — a HUGE issue, really. Just as a major example, why is there such a large-scale problem with equipping elementary instructors in teaching literacy and math? It’s truly exciting to see NCTQ take on this large task.

Unsurprisingly, there has been some pushback. NCTQ explains that many education schools “do not intend to cooperate” with a national review process that — to its credit — is being conducted very transparently. Education Week Teacher Beat blogger Stephen Sawchuk has been covering the story of four states (Georgia, Kentucky, New York and Wisconsin) that have refused to “participate voluntarily” in the evaluation. The Eduwonk wisely notes that such obstruction represents “a remarkably counterproductive strategy.”

Further into the Education Week post, Sawchuk points out something else a little troubling:

The situation is murkier in Maryland, Colorado, and California, where public university officials have sent letters to NCTQ and U.S. News requesting changes to the review process, but haven’t yet declined to take part willingly.

NCTQ shows that only one of 15 Colorado education schools has complied with their research request and that they have followed up with 11 open records request to get what they are looking for. I hope Colorado comes along and that a productive agreement can be reached. We don’t have nearly as much information as we should about how different ed schools are doing. Nor is the overall track record of these schools what they should be for them to pursue the stonewalling strategy to any effective end.

To find out more about the evaluation and what NCTQ is looking for, not only go to their website but also listen to last week’s presentation she made at the Donnell-Kay Hot Lunch — Ed News Colorado has posted the 40-minute podcast.