We’re excited to release the Understanding Teaching Effectiveness: Feedback to Teacher Preparation Programs fact sheet, which addresses the state’s unique role in providing useful feedback data to teacher preparation programs. To ensure that all teacher prep programs are providing a high-quality teacher workforce, many states have begun to securely link teachers to both their students’ performance and their licensure program, providing that information back to programs to foster progress. The result is a powerful tool for encouraging continuous program improvement, creating strategic school and district staffing assignments, and ensuring all classrooms have the best teacher possible.
Check out the fact sheet to see which states are leading the way in successfully sharing productive feedback with state teacher prep programs—and how your state can move to the head of the pack.
On Thursday the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held a hearing to examine the role of states in higher education. Higher education is a critical component of the P–20/workforce longitudinal data pipeline as it links to both K–12 and the workforce.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) began the hearing by emphasizing that the federal government is a minority investor in higher education, and that it is up to the states to foot the bill for public colleges. He then cautioned that federal regulations sometimes have unintended consequences that can restrict state innovation and drive up the cost of college.
The hearing primarily focused on the mounting burden of student debt as it weighs on the nation’s economy and its youth. A panel of four witnesses testified on how the federal government can collaborate with states to lessen that burden through reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) in the coming months. Several witnesses testified that many of the states’ problems could be more easily remedied if education data were linked and shared across sectors. They lamented that data silos often prevent state policymakers from accessing critical data across sectors, hampering states’ collaboration with postsecondary and federal levels.
Dr. Eric Kaler, president of the University of Minnesota, testified that government regulations can be burdensome, with colleges often having to provide the government with information it has already collected. This repetitive data collection can be attributed to the data silos that exist at the federal level. If the US Department of Education were able to link, match, and share data with other departments it would decrease the amount of information to be collected each year, allowing colleges to allocate more resources to education rather than administration. Sen. Alexander stressed the need to simplify the FAFSA in order to make this a reality.
Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) commented that many capable students don’t apply to more elite and expensive colleges because they don’t understand the financial aid available to them. Likewise, even when students are accepted at several colleges, they have trouble making a sound financial decision without uniform award letters. Kaler agreed, noting that it would be highly beneficial for students to receive some financial aid counseling in high school. Any such counseling program would require data sharing and collaboration between K–12 systems and postsecondary education institutions.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) was adamant that any HEA reauthorization must protect students from malicious for-profit colleges. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) presented a shocking statistic: in 2008 and 2009, for-profit colleges educated 13 percent of students but were accountable for 47 percent of loan defaults. Lisa Madison, the attorney general for Illinois, testified that the federal government cannot continue giving money to “predatory subprime colleges” and that doing so is both a waste of taxpayer dollars and ruining people’s lives. Murphy lamented that the current federal ban on a student unit record system makes it extremely difficult for the government to measure the damage inflicted by for-profit colleges. He suggested that if HEA reauthorization were to repeal the ban, and if such a system were put in place, the federal government would be able to use postsecondary students’ information to mitigate the factors contributing to the nations’ collective student debt.
Stay tuned for continued updates on the HEA reauthorization debate in both the House and the Senate in the coming months.