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There’s no doubt that teacher quality affects academic performance. Placing effective teachers in our K-12 schools is one of the most important steps we can take to close the achievement gap. In order to do this, the public needs to know how well teacher preparation programs are training future teachers.

ASU produces almost half of the state’s 3,500 new teachers every year, so the quality of training it provides is of vital importance to literally tens of thousands of Arizona K-12 students. It’s also of great concern to ASU students and prospective teachers like me who are enrolled in Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College as well as those who are thinking of enrolling. We all want the best training possible so we can go on to have careers as effective professionals serving kids.

Early last year, the National Council on Teacher Quality, in partnership with U.S. News & World Report, launched a review of over a thousand teacher preparation programs across the country. NCTQ examines whether the programs select academically capable students, make sure they know the subjects they will teach, and equip them with the skills and techniques necessary to help their students achieve success. The review will let aspiring teachers know where they can get the best preparation and encourage other programs to improve so that they meet or even exceed the needs of student teachers.

After having its initial request for data rebuffed, NCTQ filed an open records request last October under Arizona’s “sunshine law,” which provides access to documents of public institutions. However, the Teachers College is charging NCTQ a prohibitively expensive amount, essentially refusing to provide them with the documents that reveal what expectations they have of their teacher candidates and what they do to make sure candidates meet them. NAU and UA have agreed to complete NCTQ’s open records request. Why not ASU?

As a prospective teacher and founding chapter leader of Students for Education Reform at ASU, I urge Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College to embrace transparency and participate in the review. I am well aware of the positive changes that are happening to the teacher preparation program. It’s very likely that these changes are making our program strong. Why wouldn’t the University want its efforts recognized and validated by a rigorous national study?

Current and prospective students deserve to be informed about the quality and effectiveness of the education program they are enrolled in or are considering enrolling in.  As future educators, we — and our students — deserve no less.


Alejandrina Franco

Elementary Education

Chapter Leader and President with Students for Education Reform

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