Friday, May 9, 2014

Building on Success...and the UTeach Program- The White House Announces New Initiative with UTeach as a Model Program for Teacher Preparation

On April 25, 2014 the White House released a communication entitled "FACT SHEET: Taking Action to Improve Teacher Preparation" and a new education project known as Building on Success. In the release the White House stated that providing all children in America with the opportunity to get a world-class education is critical for the children's success as well as of our nation. Furthermore, the release emphasized that President Obama believe that the country needs to give schools the resources to keep good teachers on the job and reward the best ones, and give teachers the flexibility to teach with creativity and passion. But...
"far too many teachers report they are unprepared when they first enter the classroom after completing their teacher preparation program. Today – continuing to use the power of his phone and his pen to make 2014 a year of action – President Obama is directing the Department of Education to move forward on a plan to strengthen America’s teacher preparation programs." -The White House 4/25/14
With this in mind, President Obama directed the U.S. Department of Education to lay out a plan to strengthen America’s teacher preparation programs for public discussion by this summer, and to move forward on schedule to publish a final rule within the next year. The Administration will encourage and support states in developing systems that recognize excellence and provide all programs with information to help them improve, while holding them accountable for how well they prepare teachers to succeed in today’s classrooms and throughout their careers. 

One of the programs the President referenced is a program I Co-Founded at The University of Texas at Austin known as UTeach. Here is what the President's report said about UTeach

UTeach at the University of Texas at Austin are drawing more undergraduates with STEM majors into teaching. Ninety 90% of UTeach graduates enter teaching and of those, roughly 80 percent are retained after 5 years, and about half of UTeach graduates are in high-need schools. Recent replications of the UTeach model have meant that the annual number of UTeach candidates has grown from 519 in 2008 to nearly 7,000 in 2014, expanding the supply of teachers prepared to teach STEM subjects.

We are all looking forward to the challenges and opportunities working with the President on this new initiative.