The US is not failing at teacher preparation.
Submitted to the San Francisco Chronicle, July 11, 2013
Contrary to claims made by a group of California superintendents ("U.S. failing at teacher prep," July 10), the US is not failing at teacher preparation. Quite the contrary.
When we control for the effects of poverty, American students rank near the top of the world on international tests. Also, graduates of American schools go on to perform impressively in the real world: According to the 2013 Global Innovation Index, which is based partly on new patents and the publication of scientific and technical journal articles, the US economy ranks 5th in the world out of 142. It is hard to conclude from these results that we have a problem in teacher education or teacher quality.
The conclusions in "U.S. failing in teacher prep" are based on a report that only considered factors such as admissions standards and course offerings. As Susan Ohanian has pointed out, this is like judging restaurants on the basis of their menus.
Original article: http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/U-S-failing-to-adequately-prepare-teachers-4656045.php
Control for poverty: Payne, K. and Biddle, B. 1999. Poor school funding, child poverty, and mathematics achievement. Educational Researcher 28 (6): 4-13; Carnoy, M and Rothstein, R. 2013, What Do International Tests Really Show Us about U.S. Student Performance. Washington DC: Economic Policy Institute. 2012. http://www.epi.org/).