NEPC Review: A New Agenda: Research to Build a Better Teacher Preparation Program (Bellwether Education Partners, October 2016)
Bellwether Education Partners’ report, A New Agenda, calls for a “rational” and “rigorous” research agenda for teacher education. Although the report’s rationale is not fully explicated, it asserts that programs are “blindly swinging from one popular reform to the next” and that decades of input- and outcome-based research has failed to improve teacher education. Instead, the report calls for “rapid cycle evaluations.” Regrettably, this depiction of past research includes mischaracterizations and also omits a wide swath of relevant literature about teacher education. Further, the report does not adequately explain what “rapid cycle evaluations” would entail or how they would work to improve teacher preparation program design, nor does the report offer a research foundation for this approach. The report also fails to recognize the socio-political context of teacher education, wherein programs are often left scrambling to meet competing accountability expectations. A New Agenda leaves practical questions unanswered, muddies the waters about promising research avenues, and ignores important bodies of literature in teacher education. Ultimately it represents a missed opportunity to offer guidance to either policymakers or institutions.