The recent announcement of a new survey of teacher-education programs by the National Council on Teacher Quality and U.S. News & World Report has sparked a firestorm of debate. Critics of current approaches to preparing teachers argue that exposing weak programs is essential for improving the quality of teaching, while schools of education criticize the methods and criteria used to judge programs' offerings.
The good news is that there is very important common ground underlying the debate: Teaching matters. Skillful teaching makes the difference between students' learning what they need to succeed or not, and it matters for all students, rich or poor, regardless of color. The disappointing news is that we are not using this common ground to get lots of skillful teaching in classrooms. Instead we are battling over who should train teachers and where and for how long. We are arguing about how to evaluate programs. (Deborah Loewenberg Ball at The Chronicle of Higher Education)