Report Shows Teachers Not Adequately Prepared for Education Reform

A report released in December by the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning (CFTL) indicated that in California, where schools are pursuing ambitious education reform, while many teachers are well qualified to take on the demands of such an effort, many more simply are not up to the task.

"The Status of the Teaching Profession" offers current data on the supply, qualifications, and distribution of California's educators. The 2009 report includes the results of a survey of high school principals throughout the state regarding their views of their respective faculties' preparedness for the growing demands of 21st-century education.

The survey addressed such components of reform as increasing academic rigor, making instruction more relevant, and creating learning environments that are more personal and supportive. It showed, for example, that only about two-thirds of the state's high school principals believe the majority of their respective faculties have the skills necessary both to promote critical thinking and to engage and connect with students.

"The 3R's of reforming high schools--rigor, relevance and relationships--set a high bar for teachers and principals alike and have implications for teacher preparation, professional development, and the ways in which high schools are organized," said Margaret Gaston, Executive Director of the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning. "But there is a mismatch between the needs of these high school teachers and the state's systems of teacher preparation and support."

The report also indicated a gap in principals' perceptions of teacher qualifications along economic lines. Principals in 78 percent of California's most affluent high schools reported that a majority of their teachers possess the skills necessary for effective 21st-century teaching, while only 48 percent of the state's least affluent schools had their principals offering similarly favorable reports.

The complete report, "The Status of the Teaching Profession 2009," along with summary materials and recommendations, can be found here.

About the Author

Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.