Education Department to Enact Bennet Proposals as part of Reforms to Improve Teacher Preparation Programs

Bennet: We Need to Better Prepare, Support Great Teachers to Improve the Odds for Our Kids

Denver, CO – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today applauded the newly unveiled steps the U.S. Department of Education will take to reform and improve America’s teacher preparation programs, aimed at better preparing educators for classroom success. Key elements of Bennet’s Presidential Teacher Corps Proposal and Growing Excellent Achievement Training Academies (GREAT) Teachers and Principals Act will be enacted as part of the reforms.

“My time as superintendent taught me that there is no harder – or more important – job than being a teacher, especially in a high-need school,” said Bennet. “If we are going to improve student achievement, we have to do a better job of recruiting, training and supporting our teachers. I am excited that the Department and a diverse group of supporters are working together to better prepare our teachers and improve the odds for our kids.”

The Department’s plan focuses on three main areas to improve teacher performance:

  • Replacing input-based reporting with outcome-based measures for teacher preparation programs, while reducing the reporting burden;
  • Creating a Presidential Teaching Fellows program to support rigorous teacher preparation programs and provide scholarships for the best candidates with the highest need to attend those programs; and
  • Supporting high-quality teacher preparation programs that train future teachers from diverse backgrounds.

The Presidential Teaching Fellows program closely mirrors Bennet’s Presidential Teacher Corps Proposal, for which he successfully pushed President Obama to include in his FY2012 budget proposal to Congress. Under Bennet’s proposal, preparation programs would compete to train diverse candidates to form a teacher corps. The preparation programs and teachers in the corps would be held accountable for their results. Teachers who serve in high-need schools and demonstrate that they are highly effective based on multiple measures of student learning and instruction could get a new kind of portable license. 

Bennet has previously called for reduced reporting requirements and more effective measurements for teacher preparation programs, including a focus on each program’s graduates and their success as teachers at increasing student achievement, which is included in the Department’s plan. Bennet’s GREAT Teachers and Principals Act supports the growth of new kinds of teacher and principal training academies that have rigorous admissions selection processes, emphasize clinical instruction and tie graduation to improving student academic achievement.

For additional information on the Education Department’s plan, please click here.