Ramon Goings spotlights possible harm to minority-serving institutions from new teacher-prep policy

Writing on the website Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, Ramon B. Goings raises red flags about a federal regulation-in-the-making that will require states to come up with formulas to evaluate teacher-education programs.

ramongoingsGoings, the program coordinator of the Sherman STEM Teacher Scholars Program, and co-author Larry J. Walker, an educational consultant, argue that such evaluations are likely to threaten minority-serving institutions (MSIs) more than other higher-education institutions because MSIs typically enroll a higher proportion of students underprepared for college work. If teacher- preparation programs don’t meet the new standards, they may lose federal funding, including grants that support students who agree to teach in high-poverty schools.

“While it is important to hold universities accountable for preparing teachers [well] … policymakers must consider the important role of MSIs in educating [aspiring teachers] of color,” Goings and Walker write.

Despite school districts’ increased interest in hiring minority teachers, the regulation could discourage talented but underprepared students from pursuing education majors by, for example, imposing minimum test-score requirements. The teacher-prep programs either adopt the federally mandated standards or risk losing federal funds, including grants that draw students.

Either way, according to the authors, the capacity of the institutions to graduate dedicated minority teachers for underserved schools would be undercut.

Walker and Goings urge states to carefully consider the impact of the new standards. If states want to diversify their K-12 teaching workforce, the authors write, they must find ways to support MSIs in their longstanding contributions to the preparation of teachers of color.

In addition to his position at UMBC, Goings is a doctoral candidate in urban educational leadership at Morgan State University

Read the article here.