Education reform: next stop, grading teacher prep programs

The State Board of Education voted Wednesday to create a panel that is to develop a formula by next April on how to grade the state’s teaching colleges.

‘There are outstanding teacher preparation programs… We need to ensure that we are held to the task,” said Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor of the state’s 17 teaching colleges that graduate about 3,600 new teachers each year. “Teacher quality and administrator quality is at the center of this enterprise… It is extremely important that we position our teachers for success.”

This unanimous decision follows the Malloy administration’s pitching the idea to ensure that teachers are ready when they enter the profession. Measures that will be considered when grading colleges include performance evaluations of teachers in the years immediately following graduation; peer and principal feedback; and rates of employment of graduating students.

“It’s going to create continuity of the instruction as well as teachers delivering that instruction,” said Charles A. Jaskiewicz, a state board member from Norwich.

“We are establishing levels of accountability… It’s a great step in the right direction to fix a lot of these issues,” echoed Joseph J. Vrabely Jr., a state board member from Glastonbury.

The National Council on Teacher Quality gave Connecticut a C-minus last year in delivering well-prepared teachers.

“This will be a route towards remedy,” Pryor said of the grade.