June 19, 2013 -
Yesterday, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), an advocacy group
with no official status, released ratings of teacher education programs in
Colorado and the nation, rating most as inadequate. The nation’s education
leaders are highly critical of this group’s methods, as well as their obvious
education programs are built on a strong foundation of research, experience,
assessment and evaluation. We are proud of our innovative Urban
Community Teacher Education program that is a national model, where we develop educators who are making significant differences in engagement, student
achievement and graduation rates. We have a “city-wide learning laboratory” for
teacher preparation, collaborating for over 20 years with six partner school
districts. School districts eagerly recruit our alumni for employment, knowing
that our graduates have a sound academic background and the cultural competence
needed to serve urban, diverse populations.
1. The reviewers based their ratings on a complete misunderstanding of the nature of licensure options at the University of Colorado Denver. Our students are either undergraduates in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences taking their licensure courses in the School of Education & Human Development, or they are post-baccalaureate students taking the exact same licensure courses as graduate courses. That is, we do not have separate programs or courses for undergraduates and post-baccalaureate students. Ironically, NCTQ graded our ability to meet the standards though our courses with 1-4 stars in the undergraduate option and rated the post-baccalaureate program with a consumer alert. In other words, looking at the same syllabi, they arrived at different ratings.
2. NCTQ completely disregarded our full-year internship requirement, making the claim that we do not have student teaching. In fact, we are one of 5% of programs in the nation with a full residency model embedded in 20 years of partnership with our school districts; this is the gold standard of clinical experience. Teams of professors, teachers and school-based personnel mentor our teacher candidates over this full year.
3. The report critiques our selectivity; yet, University of Colorado Denver’s School of Education & Human Development is one of the most selective teacher
education programs in the state. Our selective admissions process results in high-quality incoming teacher candidates. The typical candidate entering our program has well over a 3.0 undergraduate GPA. Our selection process includes interviews during which our faculty and school partners look broadly at teacher leadership potential, and commitment to serving underserved populations. We also require that all potential candidates pass the state required content exam. We are one of a few programs in the state that require this for admission.
We value program review and constructive feedback on our programs and seek quality data for continuous improvement. Just yesterday we received data from one of our major urban partner districts confirming the quality of our graduates: First year teachers prepared by CU Denver outperformed other novice teachers in the
district on 10 out of 12 of the indicators on the district teacher effectiveness rubric.
We take pride in graduating teachers who are ready to be highly successful in urban and diverse classrooms. If you have opinions on the NCTQ report, or any concerns, please email us.