SMU teacher training program gets high marks in guarded report

David ChardSome of the largest colleges of education in Texas offer poorly designed programs that leave prospective teachers unprepared for the job, according to a new report that gave SMU high marks for teacher preparation.

The two-year study from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), a research and advocacy nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., “slams eight of the largest education schools … for seriously shortchanging aspiring teachers, particularly with inadequate math and reading instruction,” according to an article that appeared in The Houston Chronicle April 28, 2010.

Meanwhile, the report praised four programs for their strong overall design. SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development was singled out for praise, as were the education programs at Dallas Baptist University, the University of Texas-Austin and UT-Pan American.

“The most consistent feature of teacher education in Texas is a lack of consistency,” according to the 500-page report. “Rather than consensus there is inter-institutional confusion as to what it means to fully prepare a teacher for the classroom.”

In all, the researchers studied 67 undergraduate education schools, excluding only Rice and Trinity universities. The largest number of schools – 48 – didn’t get an overall rating because they fell in the middle of the pack and the researchers said they deserved a more thorough review.

“No program is perfect, including ours,” wrote David Chard (above), Leon Simmons Endowed Dean of the Simmons School, in a Dallas Morning News op-ed. “My interest in this report is to identify ways we can improve.”

> Read more from The Houston Chronicle
> Read Dean Chard’s op-ed from The Dallas Morning News