Colleges and universities across the state are transforming the way they prepare Tennessee’s teachers, and the spotlight was on them this Thursday.
As more emphasis is placed on student outcomes through the Race to the Top competition, more attention is focused on preparing teachers to become more successful in the K-12 classroom.
The two public higher education systems in Tennessee – Tennessee Board of Regents and University of Tennessee – are joining alliance with the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Council of Chief State School Officers to transform teacher education, and they’ll discuss their plans and progress at Tennessee Alliance for Transforming Teacher Education Conference at the Radisson Airport Hotel in Nashville this Thursday.
Governor Bill Haslam made closing remarks to the group, along with Jim Cibulka, president of NCATE, and Janice Poda, strategic initiative director for education workforce for the CCSSO. TBR Chancellor John Morgan opened the event.
“As discussions about education reform gain steam around the country, a quiet revolution has been happening in the TBR,” said Morgan. “Over the past two years, our universities and colleges have been rewriting course schedules, developing mentorships and partnerships with local school systems, and in general rethinking the way teachers are trained in school.”
Paula Short, TBR vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and a conference host, has been coordinating the changes among TBR’s campuses. “Tennessee has been leading efforts to reform teacher preparation. All of the critical elements are coming together within our state.
“The Race to the Top competition, the national adoption of core standards, Tennessee’s emphasis on student success through the Complete College Act, and TBR’s and UT’s education initiatives are allowing us to make significant progress.” Information about TBR’s efforts is available at http://www.ready2teach.org.
All of the alliance organizations agree that teacher education must shift to provide hands-on classroom clinical practice that is interwoven with academic content and professional courses. Among the discussion topics will be a national report by NCATE related to the need to transform teacher preparation. The report and related materials are available at http://www.ncate.org/Public/ResearchReports/NCATEInitiatives/BlueRibbonPanel/tabid/715/Default.aspx.
Speakers from across the state talked about their efforts in making that shift in Tennessee.
Attendees represented Tennessee’s public and private higher education institutions, State Board of Education, State Department of Education, SCORE, schools directors, the Tennessee Education Association, teacher training organizations, Tennessee Business Roundtable and the State Legislature, among other groups.
The Tennessee Board of Regents is the nation’s sixth largest higher education system, governing 46 post-secondary educational institutions. The TBR system includes six universities, 13 two-year colleges and 27 technology centers, providing programs in 90 of Tennessee’s 95 counties to more than 200,000 students.
The College System of Tennessee is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology and the online TN eCampus serving approximately 140,000 students. The system is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.