News Release

Why Lower Standards for Teachers?

U.S. News reports: “After three failed attempts since 2007 to replace No Child Left Behind, this week the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a compromise bill — the Every Student Succeeds Act — by a bipartisan vote of 359-64.”

The Maryland Capital Gazette reports: “More than 30 teachers from about a dozen county schools participated in a demonstration for higher pay Friday at Westfield Annapolis mall. Teachers graded assignments, tests and projects in the food court to show county residents and school officials the amount of work they do outside of contract hours.”

Zeichner, a professor of teacher education at the University of Washington at Seattle, has written a piece on the Every Student Succeeds Act, highlighted by Valerie Strauss at the Washington Post, in which he says: “The most troubling aspect of the new legislation in regard to teacher preparation is its attempt to lower standards for teacher education programs that prepare teachers for high-poverty schools. It does this by exempting teacher preparation academies from what are referred to as ‘unnecessary restrictions on the methods of the academy.’ Here the federal government is seeking to mandate definitions of the content of teacher education programs and methods of program approval that are state responsibilities.”

KATHY SCHULTZ, kschultz at, @kathyschultz22
Schultz, dean of the School of Education at Mills College, said today: “Most coverage of the ESSA has focused on its new regulations about high-stakes tests as the centerpiece of education reform and accountability. This is good news. In addition, the new regulations prevent the federal government from insisting on the use of the Common Core State Standards as a prerequisite for funding. Again, this is good news, especially in the emphasis throughout the new bill on local or state, rather than federal, control of education. A critical component of the law that has drawn much less attention is its support for non-university-based teacher education programs and, in particular, its circumvention of state standards for teacher education. The new legislation would sanction the placement of teachers with minimal preparation in classrooms and would go as far as counting a certificate of completion from one of these programs as the equivalent of a master’s degree. Instead of encouraging innovation, this provision denigrates the profession of teaching and works against the goal of increasing the prestige and desirability of teaching. Even worse, it makes it more likely that poorly prepared teachers, oftentimes in the midst of learning to teach, are assigned to the highest poverty and most challenging schools.”

Read the full Every Student Succeeds Act here.