AUSTIN, Texas, Jan. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The leaders of 18 colleges of education and teacher-preparation programs, who collectively enroll 15,000 teachers annually, announced today a new organization to promote a collective vision to improve teacher preparation in the US: Deans for Impact.
"We believe the US can lead the world in effective teacher preparation," says Benjamin Riley, the founder of Deans for Impact. "Over the last 18 months, our member deans came together around a core set of activities, and while the communities they serve vary, their commitment to preparing teachers for success in the classroom, and to improving outcomes for students, is uniform."
Today, Deansof Impact sent a letter to US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan outlining their support for proposed federal regulations that emphasize evaluating programs based on teacher effectiveness.
In the letter, Deans for Impact states that its members "believe that teacher preparation programs should be held accountable for our graduates' impact on their students' learning. We are committed to using outcome data, including performance assessments, observations, absolute measures of achievement, and value-added measures of student achievement, to drive improvement within our programs. We will work to persuade other teacher-preparation programs to do the same."
The member deans of Deans for Impact lead a variety of programs throughout the country, including research-oriented institutions such as The Johns Hopkins University and University of Southern California, regional colleges such as East Carolina University and Hunter College, private universities such as Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles and Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and new programs such as Relay Graduate School of Education and the Boston Teacher Residency. (For a full list, visit the About Us section of the DeansforImpact.org website.)
"Our diversity is one of our core strengths," said David Andrews, dean of the school of education at The Johns Hopkins University, and one of the founding members of Deans for Impact. "What binds us together is our unyielding commitment to higher standards and accountability for preparing educators with the requisite skills and knowledge to teach and lead in ways that measurably improve student learning."
The founding members of Deans for Impact established four guiding principles new members must commit to: data-driven improvement; common outcome measures; empirical validation of teacher preparation methods; and transparency and accountability to the field of teacher preparation.
As an organization, Deans for Impact will support its members, and amplify its mission, in three ways. First, the organization will work with stakeholders to develop a set of guiding principles that describe what effective preparation of teachers should consist of. These principles will connect scientific insights on learning with practical classroom strategies and practices. Second, Deans for Impact will advocate for policies that will generate and collect the data necessary to evaluate whether the guiding principles improve student learning. Finally, the organization will identify strategies that build the capacity of teacher-preparation programs to prepare teachers to be effective from their very first day in the classroom.
Based in Austin, Texas, Deans for Impact is currently building its founding team. More information is available on the newly launched website www.DeansforImpact.org. For scheduling interviews or other media inquiries, please contact Sarah Kramer at (707) 799-2905 or email [email protected].