At a conference held in 2009 called “Redefining Teacher Education for Digital Age Learners,” Tom Carroll told his audience: “The industrial era career pipeline is collapsing at both ends. We’re losing accomplished teachers and bright young beginning teachers.”
Carroll, who serves as president of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future and founded the U.S. Department of Education’s “Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to Use Technology” program, has spent a lot of time thinking about how to manage America’s teachers.
“We’ve had a lot of talk lately about managing the human capital more effectively,” he explained at the conference. “How to manage them. We need to move to a very different workforce model.”
According to Carroll, teachers have not been leaving the profession in droves because of decades of public degradation, low pay, and unrealistic, endlessly shifting bureaucratic mandates. They have been leaving because teaching just isn’t hip enough.
“What we’ve asked our teachers to do – do the same job for 20 or 30 years – those days in the larger workforce are over. We will not be able to compete with that workforce if we continue to offer bright young college graduates what we’ve been offering people for so long in education,” he said.
In Carroll’s world, schools are collections of “learning spaces” and “learning places” that connect in “learning organizations.” In this system, the teaching profession must become a “hub” or a “node.”
“What we’re talking about here is not just preparing a better teacher,” said Carroll. “We’re talking about schools of education getting out of the preparation business, actually, and into the workforce development business in partnership with school districts.”
Carroll, of course, wasn’t just offering a pie-in-the-sky vision to a few folks crazy enough to listen.
Instead, Carroll was speaking to high-ranking representatives from the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL), the Council for Chief State School Officer (CCSSO), the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.
And it appears that many listened.
In a paper submitted at the conference, Carroll suggested that “one way to develop a 21st century education workforce is to create a new generation of Web-based teaching residences.”
Six years later, NYU Steinhardt has unveiled exactly this sort of program.
At the National Education Week conference, NYU announced its Embedded Master of Arts in Teaching program that will allow student to “earn a graduate degree by combining 100 percent online coursework with immersive on-site experiences in high-needs urban schools.”
The program likens itself to a doctor residency program, but is, in fact, more akin to a stripped-down version of Teach for America preparation.
Using start-up ed-tech companies like HotChalk and Torsh, candidates will work in high poverty school districts while uploading videos of themselves teaching. Peers and instructors will then evaluate and coach from afar using the videos and student data.
NYU hopes that this new program will serve as a model for the rest of the nation.
“We invite you to join us in leading this transition,” Diana Turk, director of teacher education at NYU, told members of the Education Week conference. “Within ten years, the vast majority of new teachers will start their careers in high quality, full time residency programs.”
Does that mean we have ten years left to save our profession?