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Tep Vol 16-N4

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Teacher Education and Practice, a peer-refereed journal, is dedicated to the encouragement and the dissemination of research and scholarship related to professional education. The journal is concerned, in the broadest sense, with teacher preparation, practice and policy issues related to the teaching profession, as well as being concerned with learning in the school setting. The journal also serves as a forum for the exchange of diverse ideas and points of view within these purposes. As a forum, the journal offers a public space in which to critically examine current discourse and practice as well as engage in generative dialogue. Alternative forms of inquiry and representation are invited, and authors from a variety of backgrounds and diverse perspectives are encouraged to contribute. Teacher Education & Practice is published by Rowman & Littlefield.

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8 Articles

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Editorial: Politics and Perceptions of “Highly Qualified Teachers”—Through the Looking Glass

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PATRICK M. JENLINK

We cannot presume that the teacher functions in an ordered world or a spacious society, where each person’s duties in the various departments of his life are clearly set forth. (Greene, 1973, p. 274)

In our societies, characters dominate our perceptions. Our attention tends to be arrested by the activities of faces that come and go, emerge and disappear. (Foucault, 1988, p. 323)

“Dear, dear!” . . . [said Alice] . . . “I wonder if I’ve been changed during the night? Let me think: was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I’m not the same, the next question is, who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.” (Carroll, 1871/1960, p. 37)

Teacher preparation and practice in the 21st century finds itself faced with the conflict of competing perceptions of “highly qualified,” cast against the political backdrop of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001. The language of this federal policy and the market-based perceptions of what constitutes “highly qualified teachers” work to create a political, through narrowly conceptualized and ideologically formulated, notion of what stands as “highly qualified.” Qualified as such is less a concern for what is “authentic or real” to teachers in classrooms across America, and more a concern with fostering a market-based economy of teaching, disregarding what research and pedagogical wisdom suggest. Quality teacher preparation and practice in America’s colleges and schools, viewed simplistically as a function of degrees and certification tests, are viewed through a looking glass tempered by ill-founded claims and conservative political agendas. We cannot afford, as teacher educators, to be as Freire (1985) argued in The Politics of Education, “politically illiterate” (p. 104).

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What Constitutes a “Highly Qualified” Teacher? A Review of Teacher Education Standards and Trends

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CAROL A. MULLEN AND JOSÉ FARINAS

ABSTRACT: This literature review of teacher qualification standards consolidates information from various national groups and takes a historical approach to the development of current trends in such standards. We differentiate between teacher qualifications (the legal requirements for a credential) and teacher quality and summarize the stipulations of prominent organizations. This analysis of highly qualified teaching characteristics revealed two patterns: (1) some concurrence in the numerous denotations of professional teaching commissions, and (2) dissonance in the criteria of policy-making bodies, conservative foundations, and critical multiculturalists. James Banks, Gloria Ladson-Billings, Carl Grant, Valerie Ooka Pang, Christine Sleeter, and other leading multiculturalists shed light on diversity frameworks and societal changes, a theme that is virtually nonexistent in the standards. Education preparation programs and professionals whose existence is governed by the teacher qualification standards should find this overview useful for questioning their development, relevance, and power.

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Meeting the “Highly Qualified Teacher” Challenge

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LINDA DARLING-HAMMOND AND GARY SYKES

ABSTRACT: In this article1 we address the “highly qualified teacher” provisions of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001. We argue that the provisions’ intent is important and achievable, and we outline critical research on the issue of which teacher qualifications matter for student learning. Three questions frame the discussion: Does teacher quality matter? What qualifications make a difference? How does teacher certification matter? We address the issue of ensuring highly qualified teachers for all children, providing examples of policies that have enabled states and districts to recruit and retain qualified teachers. Finally, we propose a set of federal teacher initiatives that can support such policies nationwide.

For most of this country’s educational history, the federal government has served largely in a supporting role to states and localities, providing supplementary funds for students with special needs or for those who are a protected class under federal equity laws. While civil rights litigation and legislation have led to some federal mandates for educational services to particular populations, these typically have left to the states all major decisions about curriculum, assessment, teacher hiring, student assignment, and governance.

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Teaching Tomorrow’s Citizens Today: The Need for More Highly Qualified Teachers

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MARY FUTRELL

ABSTRACT: This article examines the need for preparing highly qualified teachers and the challenge of preparing future generations of citizens. Examining the historical antecedents of “highly qualified,” beginning with the 1954 Brown decision, I ground my position on the role of schools and colleges of education in preparing educators for a changing society. I examine teacher shortages, federal policy implications, concerns for teaching as a profession, and the need for redoubling efforts to guarantee that every child in America will be taught by highly qualified, certified, competent, caring teachers.

Our education system, one of the most comprehensive in the world, has been in a constant state of evolution in its efforts to provide universal quality learning for all children. A close examination of the reforms, beginning in the first half of the 20th century’s implementation of compulsory attendance to the 1954 Brown decision calling for equal educational opportunities for all children to a proliferation of recent federal and state policies, reveals that efforts have been under way continuously to enhance the quality of education provided in America’s public schools. Within the last quarter century, reforms have focused more on revising not only the structure of schooling at the elementary and secondary levels, but also defining quality teaching. A very clear linkage between education reform and teaching has emerged.

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Using a Web-Based Seminar for ExCET Preparation in a Predominantly Hispanic University Environment

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JONELLA J. KIMMEL AND CRISELDA G. GARCIA

ABSTRACT: In addition to acquiring an appropriate undergraduate degree and passing a subject area ExCET exam, preservice teachers in Texas are required to pass the Professional Development Examination for the Certification of Educators in Texas (ExCET PD) to become certified teachers. This study was designed to examine the effects of a 5-week WebCT online review seminar on practice ExCET PD exam scores of preservice teachers at a university in south Texas. Using a sample of 216 primarily Hispanic students, t-test results indicated within-group differences (p < .001) as well as between-group differences (p.05) existed. A description of the WebCT seminar and suggestions for further studies are provided.

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 marks a major transformation in public education. A key component of the new law is ensuring that all students are taught by “highly qualified teachers”: teachers who have both content knowledge of subjects taught and full state certification. According to the U.S. Department of Education Secretary’s Annual Report on Teacher Quality (2002), higher education institutions are still working toward aligning their certification programs with the federal requirements. The need for teacher education programs to successfully prepare numerous, competent, certified teachers remains a forefront concern.

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The Controversy Around Defining “Highly Qualified” Teachers and One University’s Definition in Practice

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ANDREA J. STAIRS

ABSTRACT: This article examines definitions of “highly qualified” teachers posed by the federal government, the American public, the professionalization agenda in teacher education, and the deregulation movement in teacher education. It focuses on one university’s definition in practice: the Lynch School of Education at Boston College. I describe how a new integrated urban experience for secondary candidates shows the Lynch School’s commitment to preparing “highly qualified” teachers for America’s diverse student population.

Teacher quality is an important, though controversial, issue in American public education as evidenced in federal policy, public opinion polls, and debates about teacher education. Though there appears to be no consensus about the definition of a “highly qualified” teacher, certain definitions seem to be more influential than others in determining how the debate is framed, whose voice is heard, and whose voice is excluded. In this article, I examine the definitions of “highly qualified” teachers posed by the federal government, the American public, the professionalization agenda in teacher education, and the deregulation movement in teacher education, focusing on the underlying assumptions of each definition and the criteria used to determine how to prepare highly qualified teachers. Then, I outline how the Lynch School of Education at Boston College defines “highly qualified” teachers and describe a new collaborative program in secondary teacher education that shows the university’s continuing commitment to preparing highly qualified teachers.

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Kaleidoscope Feature

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Kaleidoscope Feature

SUSANN MATHEWS, BETH BASISTA, ANN FARRELL, AND JIM TOMLIN

ABSTRACT: In 1993, at Wright State University (WSU), the College of Science and Mathematics (COSM), and the College of Education and Human Services (CEHS) began hiring faculty with joint appointments in both COSM and CEHS. That began the process of reforming the undergraduate education of preservice elementary teachers. Then, when the state called for a change from certification of elementary education teachers to licensure either as early childhood teachers or as middle childhood teachers with two areas of concentration, we began developing coordinated programs in mathematics and science. In this article we describe the stimuli and enabling actions for reform, the challenges to reform, the goals and planning of programs, and course development as informed by national standards and research, the implementation of those programs, and the processes of sustaining reform.

The call for change in mathematics and science teacher preparation has been made via the National Research Council’s (NRC) publication of Everybody Counts: A Report to the Nation on Mathematics Education (1989), the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics’ (NCTM) publication of Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics (1989), the American Associations for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) publication of Science for All Americans: Project 2061 (1990), and NRC’s publication of National Science Education Standards (NSES) (1996). Accomplishing and institutionalizing these reforms is a difficult challenge. In answer to this call, Wright State University’s College of Science and Mathematics (COSM) and College of Education and Human Services (CEHS) joined forces to reform mathematics and science teacher education. Although simpler to achieve the appearance of reform through reorganization of existing courses, this university chose to develop integrated, reformed programs through the creation of joint science and mathematics education appointments between the two colleges. The purpose of this article is to identify key processes, key players, and decisions and actions that have made these reforms possible. The authors, four of the hired science and mathematics educators who designed the new programs, examine the challenges and enabling factors of the reform process.

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Book Review

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Book Review

DAVID R. HOLLIER

There is a very strong directive issued from federal, state, and local education constituents and concerned affiliates that can be identified as an accountability movement (Behn, 2002). Given the impetus and requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act (signed into law, January 8, 2002, NCLB), for example, states and local school districts are in a flurry to address standards and requirements of the act. In particular, Title VI, Part A, Subpart 1, “Flexibility and Accountability” of NCLB describes the process and impact of NCLB on schools and achievement by suggesting that it will better facilitate the identification of the best practices in education and teaching, increase accountability for student performance, and empower parents to make better informed choices about appropriate and effective schools.

Student achievement and teacher effectiveness are both important factors in what is being considered when determining progress made annually by students, teachers, and, ultimately, schools. There is a sea of information about how to design instruction to ensure that curriculum standards are being adequately taught and assessed. With this tide of information being generated, questions abound directed at the appropriateness of certain teaching methods to achieve the mandated yearly progress. Teachers and administrators continue to wrestle with the task of determining how best to help students to learn and to help teachers to teach in this age of accountability and standards.

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