Source: Teachers College Record,Volume 117, May 2015, 44 pages
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
The present paper explores the growing role of venture philanthropy. It also investigates the ideas of educational entrepreneurship and disruptive innovation in influencing the federal and state policies and practices in teacher education in the United States.
The authors present the influence of the New Schools Venture Fund (NSVF) as one example of the influences on public policy. NSVF invests mainly in established charter management organizations. Another purpose of NSVF is creating a market in teacher education by reducing the role of university teacher education programs. Hence, this fund helped develop and promote a legislation in the U.S. Congress (the GREAT Act). This legislation will potentially create a system throughout the nation of charter teacher and principal preparation programs called academies.
The authors reject the position that the USA government should invest in the current system of teacher education in order to increase the capacity of the existing institutions that currently prepare teachers. They also disagree with the position that the current teacher education system should be replaced by an alternative based on deregulation and privatization.
On the contrary, the authors argue that a strong university system of teacher education is a prerequisite for a strong system of public schooling in most high-performing countries.
They suggest the need for transformation in the present system of teacher education, which will improve the quality of teacher education programs.
They suggest connecting coursework in the programs more effectively in order to deal with complexities of the schools where teachers are being prepared. They also offer to focus on helping student teachers learn to enact teaching practices that will promote student learning.
Furthermore, they suggest to improve both quality of school and community experiences and mentoring.
The authors call for supporting a public dialogue about the wisdom of applying market-based and other solutions to the problems of teacher education. They conclude that the problems of public education and teacher education are too important to be permitted to operate without greater transparency about the ways that private interests are influencing public policy and practice in teacher education.