As with other factors that affect teacher
quality, considerable attention has recently been given to the role of
traditional teacher preparation programs in improving the teacher work force.
This book has touched on this subject only briefly partly because such a line of
inquiry demands considerable independent treatment and partly because it lies
outside the realm controlled by policymakers within the primary and secondary
public school system. Nevertheless, meaningful improvements to teacher
preparation might result from rating teacher preparation programs based on the
performance of their graduates as teachers in the classroom. If the state kept a
database of student performance gains of individual teachers, researchers could
determine the general effectiveness of teachers who graduate from the state’s
various teacher preparation programs. Publicizing such findings would enable
teaching candidates to make informed decisions about the programs they choose
and help principals make better-informed decisions about which graduates to
hire. Finally, such ratings would also encourage less effective programs to
improve by modifying their existing practices.