A new ranking of teacher preparatory programs nationwide advises students to avoid education programs at two state universities.
East Central University's undergraduate elementary education program and Northeastern State University's undergraduate special education program were flagged with so-called consumer alerts on the nonprofit National Council on Teacher Quality's Teacher Prep Review.
The report, distributed by U.S. News and World Report, was released Tuesday. The report's consumer alerts indicate students in the flagged programs are unlikely to receive much, if any, effective training from those programs.
Among other factors, the report said the two programs' admissions requirements weren't selective enough to make sure students admitted to the program have the academic talent needed to be quality teachers. The report also said the two schools didn't provide students effective student teaching opportunities.
Northeastern State Provost Bill Rugg said he thinks the Tahlequah-based university's ranking was based on old information. The school began to update its undergraduate special education program in 2011. Those updates will be implemented this fall, he said.
Those updates came after Northeastern completed a self-study before a visit from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, the College of Education's accrediting bureau. During the study, college officials noticed problems with the special education program and began making changes.
The changes amounted to a total overhaul, Rugg said. Officials rewrote the curriculum, placing greater emphasis on the program's student teaching portion. He said he expects the changes will address the report's criticisms.
“It's been totally revamped,” he said.
Brenda Walling, dean of East Central's College of Education and Psychology, disagreed with the report's findings. The university has “a long history of preparing excellent educators,” she said.
“The documents requested in this report do not indicate the quality of the program,” she said. “They analyze documents, not the teaching candidates.”
Few get high marks
Northeastern State and East Central weren't alone. The report decried the state of teacher preparation programs nationwide. No elementary education program in the country received a perfect rating on the council's four-star rating scale. Only one institution — Ohio State University — received a 3½-star rating in elementary education.