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Should we dismiss teacher education study?

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Greg Peck
June 28, 2013

I hope you read the latest column from Esther Cepeda. It appeared in Thursday's Gazette. It discusses a new study by the National Council on Teacher Quality. It’s the first such nationwide review and suggests many deficiencies in how we train our teachers.

The study also gave low grades to UW-Whitewater’s College of Education and most other education colleges in the UW System. As The Gazette reported last Saturday, UW-W’s dean of education, Katy Heyning, criticized the analysis as incomplete, shallow and inaccurate. You would expect defensiveness when an organization criticizes someone’s livelihood. The thing is, Heyning seems to have valid concerns.

Some people might question the council’s objectivity and dismiss it as some right-wing attack dog. But here’s what the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. President Obama’s education secretary, Arne Duncan, endorsed the review, which has been years in the making and was financed with $4.8 million from private foundations. Wisconsin’s Democrats for Education Reform endorsed the report, and so did the Wisconsin Reading Coalition. Kate Walsh, president of the Washington-based council, said the organization gets donations from conservatives and liberals and is more concerned about quality than ideology.

So if it has shortcomings and may in some ways be inaccurate, can we learn anything from the study? We’ll share our perspectives in our editorial Saturday.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook



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