09/12/2013 04:39 pm ET Updated Nov 12, 2013

Raising the Bar for Future Teachers

My regular readers may remember my May 28, 2013 blog entitled "Everyone Passes Teacher Certification Exams," in which I reported that the passing score among all of the states was at least 15 points below the average score of those taking the state required teacher examinations.

What this meant, of course, was that the states were giving teacher certifications to almost everyone!

Moreover, when we consider that the average SAT score of incoming college students who are majoring in education is in the bottom third of all college majors, we can understand why too many of our children have mediocre teachers, especially those students attending schools in poverty-ridden neighborhoods.

Well surprise, surprise: It appears that at least one organization is trying to improve the quality of teacher preparation programs.

A recent issue of Education Week reports that Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation is promulgating a new set of standards for those college teacher preparation programs that seek accreditation, accounting for approximately two-thirds of the university-based teacher preparation programs in the United States.

These new standards will require future education majors to have higher SAT scores in order to be accepted into a teacher preparation programs and to "show that both candidates and districts are satisfied with the quality of preparation and to document that graduates go on to boost student achievement."

Those individuals who are opposed to standardized tests and the concept of, "value-added," will most probably react negatively to these new standards as they have to utilizing student test scores as a significant component of evaluating teachers' effectiveness.

But as Robert J. Gordon, a professor of the social sciences at Northwestern University, recently wrote in the September 8th blog for the New York Times:

For most of American history, parents could expect that their children would, on average, be much better educated than they were. But that is no longer true. This development has serious consequences for the economy.

I, for one, continue to support the judicious and proportionate use of student standardized test scores as one critical measure of teacher effectiveness and, now, in determining whether university-based teacher preparation programs are doing their job in providing schools with only top-notch teachers.