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Teachers will remain not just relevant, but critical; the skills they need to be successful will change, however, and our current institutions that prepare and train teachers are woefully unprepared to support the shift. As a result, we will likely need to rely, at least in part, on new organizations and approaches. How these approaches emerge and gain traction and legitimacy in a field with deeply entrenched players, practices, and regulations is a big question, however.
My colleague Thomas Arnett’s new case study, Startup Teacher Education: A fresh take on teacher credentialing, provides some important clues.
The case study illustrates how three groups of charter management organizations (CMOs)— High Tech High in San Diego; Uncommon Schools, KIPP Foundation, and Achievement First in New York; and Match Education in Boston—saw big gaps in the traditional teacher education programs that left their aspiring teachers with no place to learn how to teach effectively in their specific schools or in a way that would allow them to succeed in working with the country’s most vulnerable students. Accordingly, the CMOs did what all organizations in any sector must do when an adjacent stage in the value chain is not yet good enough or well understood enough such that it limits what the organization can deliver: they integrated backward and created their own teacher certification and master’s degree programs with a curriculum that was tied in an interdependent way with what the teachers would need to be successful.