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Nw Teachers Not Prepared, Study Claims

Sat., Nov. 22, 1997

Too many teachers in Idaho and the rest of the Northwest are ill-prepared and are not getting enough training on how to carry out demanding school reform, a national commission reports.

The National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future cites a variety of studies that show teacher expertise matters more than almost any other factor, including class size, in determining student achievement.

Idaho meets only two of the commission’s dozen standards of quality. Oregon and Washington meet three.

Idaho ranked high with 83 percent of its teacher education programs accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. Washington scored 55 percent while Oregon stood at 19 percent.

But Idaho has too many of its teachers assigned to subjects outside their major fields. The commission found 34 percent of Idaho mathematics teachers did not even minor in math in college. The situation was worse in Oregon at 36 percent and Washington at 51 percent.

The 26-member commission was set up by the Rockefeller Foundation and Carnegie Corporation of New York. Members include Democratic Gov. James Hunt of North Carolina and Republican Gov. Jim Edgar of Illinois, the presidents of the two national teachers’ unions and other teachers and education professors.

The 12 states at the top of the commission’s list are Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio and Oklahoma.


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