Educate Texas, a public-private initiative of Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT), convened the Texas Teacher Preparation Collaborative to provide a platform for practitioners and policy makers to focus on teacher preparation and highlight best practices and policies that Texas can adopt to make real change for current and future Texas teachers. Through the years it’s been said everything is bigger in Texas, and in the case of education, no statement could be more appropriate. During the 2014–15 school year, 342,192 teachers served 5.23 million students in 1,219 Texas school districts and charters.
Annually, approximately 30,000 teachers enter the classroom for the first time and have the option of being enrolled in one of approximately 231 different teacher preparation programs made up of traditional undergraduate and post-baccalaureate, private alternative programs, regional service centers, community colleges, school district, and county programs. With such vast and varied options, the quality of teacher preparation has been a conversation in Texas for decades.
The Collaborative—devoted to the review of teacher prep in the state— is comprised of Texas college and university deans of education, alternative certification leaders, teachers, principals, superintendents and advocacy leaders. The group gathered on the heels of statewide policy discussions and national review of the Higher Education Act and the adoption of ESSA. The Collaborative developed recommendations in a comprehensive report that takes a close look at the current status of teacher preparation in Texas and makes recommendations for the legislature, state agencies, and educator-preparation programs (EPPs) to improve policies and practices. The report focuses on three key recommendations:
- Establish a competency-based, tiered licensure system that differentiates performance and strengthens teaching as a profession.
- Enhance the evaluation system for the Texas educator-preparation program to increase accountability, drive program outcome improvement and provide public transparency on program performance.
- Establish a Texas Educator Preparation Evaluation and Innovation Alliance.
The Collaborative’s final report and three supplemental reports are available online. The three supplemental reports, developed with support of American Institutes for Research, include:
- Pathways to Entering the Classroom
- Deeper Teaching for Deeper Learning in Teacher Preparation
- Teacher Preparation Data