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Common Core training efforts need revisiting


Before a person can teach, he or she needs to get licensed in his or her state. Going through a college program and completing a few other steps gets educator hopefuls their licenses, a measure meant to ensure only qualified people teach. However, the Common Core State Standards have introduced more challenging goals for students, and teachers have to learn those benchmarks. Despite the implementation of new educational Standards, many teacher preparation programs haven't updated their training methods. The National Council on Teacher Quality discovered that fact and several others surrounding the Common Core and teacher training and published the results in the 2014 State Teacher Policy Yearbook. 

The need to update
The Common Core State Standards are a major change to education in the U.S. They are designed to prepare students for college and careers, which means academic benchmarks are rigorous, specific and progressive. Students will also take aligned assessments to measure how well they're learning Common Core goals. For this reason, teachers need to be well-versed in the new Standards and prepared to create lessons that help students achieve their learning goals. 

"With such a profound change occurring in K-12 student standards across the country, it would stand to reason that parallel changes would occur on the teacher side," Sandi Jacobs, vice president and managing director of NCTQ, said in a statement. "States need to ensure that new teachers are adequately supported in the transition to higher standards and beyond. And there is no better place to start than where new teachers begin to learn their craft - in teacher preparation programs."

States fail to make the grade
The NCTQ created a rating system for states' teacher training programs that follows a stoplight pattern - green states are ready to go, doing great, while yellow states have work to do and red states are nowhere near up to par in training teachers. No states got the green light, and only five got a green/yellow score. The yellow zone accounted for the most states, 21, while 18 fell in the yellow/red area and 7 were considered red. However the green/yellow group is considered on track. With a little more preparation and examining of teaching programs, New York, North Carolina, Indiana, Rhode Island and Texas will produce teachers ready to tackle the Common Core.

Clarity is one of the major issues in states' licensure policies. The NCTQ report indicated that most states' policies do not include explicit coverage of college-and-career readiness training. What's more, knowledge requirements for the Common Core could be more in-depth and ambitious. 

Despite the need for change in training policies, states are collecting better data on preparedness programs and upping the standards for teacher certification. With a little more work, these programs should also be able to adequately train new teachers for the Common Core.