Source: Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, Vol. 14, No. 4, August 2008, 271–282
There is now unprecedented emphasis on teacher quality in the USA and in many nations
around the world with extremely high expectations for teacher performance. Based on the assumption that education and the economy are inextricably linked, it is now assumed that teachers can – and should – teach all students to world-class standards, serve as the linchpins in educational reform, and produce a well-qualified labor force to preserve the nation’s position in the global economy.
This paper builds on the argument that during the late 1990s and into the early 2000s, a ‘new teacher education’ emerged in the USA. It was constructed as a public policy problem, based on research and evidence, and driven by outcomes. This new teacher education is both for better and for worse.
The paper suggests that the trends that characterized the emergence of the new teacher education have continued and intensified, especially in light of larger national and global policy and political issues. The author argues that education scholars who care about public education need to build on the most promising aspects of the new teacher education, but also challenge its narrowest aspects by working with others both within and against the system to change the terms of the debate.