Blog: Education by the Numbers

Low and incomplete marks for most prestigious teacher training programs

I was just starting to poke through the National Council on Teacher Quality’s first Teacher Prep Review, published June 2013, which makes a data-rich argument that the nation’s teacher training programs are admitting some of the weakest students in the nation and spewing out unprepared teachers at the end. I was struck by how few of the nation’s most prestigious and famous teacher training programs were in it.

For example, neither Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education nor Columbia Teachers College were among the 1200 programs rated. The report explains that’s because private institutions, unlike public universities, don’t have to comply with open records requests. When you dig deep into the report, these private institutions are rated on some criteria where there is information. Strikingly, both Harvard and Columbia get a paltry two out of four stars for selectivity, that is, whether the school admits the best and the brightest. Why? The report explains that neither Harvard nor Columbia “require a grade point average of 3.0 or higher overall or in the last two years of undergraduate coursework that provides assurance that candidates have the requisite academic talent.” Really, Harvard’s admissions office is not selective enough for NCTQ?