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NEPC’s November Education Interview of the Month Podcast Explores Independent Teacher Prep Programs

BOULDER, CO (November 14, 2017) – In this month’s NEPC Education Interview of the Month, Lewis and Clark College Emeritus Professor of Education Gregory A. Smith explores the creation of independent teacher education programs, their implications for public schools, and teaching as a profession with University of Washington professor Ken Zeichner, author of Independent Teacher Education Programs: Apocryphal Claims, Illusory Evidence.

Join Smith and Zeichner as they discuss the implications of the growth of independent programs and the claims of excellence made by two of the five independent teacher preparation programs examined. In these two programs, “success” focuses very narrowly on the ability of their graduates to raise standardized test scores, which is troubling in terms of the multiple goals that have been historically associated with public schools.

The role of the teacher in these two programs leans more toward the “technician” end of the continuum as opposed to a professional who exercises judgment and has adaptive expertise to learn over time, Professor Zeichner continues. He found no independently vetted high-quality research to verify the programs’ self-serving claims of success.

These programs, he observes, help to perpetuate inequity in U.S. education. There is “clear evidence that an obsessive focus only on raising standardized test scores is connected to a narrowing of the curriculum, so that they contribute to expanding a two-tiered system where certain kids have access to a rich and broad curriculum, and to authentic interactions with knowledge, and other kids (mostly those living in communities highly impacted by poverty) spend a lot of time prepping and focusing on standardized tests.”

A new NEPC Education Interview of the Month, hosted by Gregory A. Smith, will be released each month from September through May.

Don’t worry if you miss a month. All NEPC Education Interview of the Month podcasts are archived on the NEPC website and can be found here.

Coming Next Month

In December, Greg’s guest will be Jeannie Oakes of UCLA. The conversation will explore creation of community schools that strive to establish much closer relationships with other local agencies to meet the needs not only of children, but of their families.

Stay tuned in to NEPC for smart, engaging conversations about education policy.

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), a university research center housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at: