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Report 01-5: The Changing Role of Higher Education in Preparing California's Teachers

Published by The California Postsecondary Education Commission

May 2001

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California’s education system faces a highly complex and challenging environment. There is not only a growing need for teachers but also high expectations for their ability to help students learn what they need to know to be productive citizens in the 21st century. The need for teachers is great. Current projections for California call for teachers 25,000 to 30,000 new teachers per year over the next 10 years. This demand is based on enrollment increases, retirement rates, general teacher attrition, and class-size reduction efforts. At the same time, the strong drive for accountability is raising the bar on what teachers need to teach and what students need to learn.

This new environment requires the state to foster and embrace collaboration between the public schools and higher education, strengthening the dialog and partnership needed for a systemic, effective, and harmonious system of education. Ensuring continuous, uninterrupted collaboration in teacher education, training, and ongoing professional development will revitalize the entire education system and restore respect and support to the teaching profession. Cooperation is essential if sustained improvement at all levels of education is to take place.

If the state is fully committed to a “qualified teacher for every child” and that “no student is left behind,” then it needs a systemic and strategic approach to address the issues: recruiting prospective teachers, preparing and supporting new teachers, providing for their professional development, and strengthening accountability for all teacher education programs.

With these concepts in mind, the California Postsecondary Education Commission believes that considerable attention should be given to a responsive, thoughtful, collaborative, and productive effort to address the preparation and professional development of teachers. While there are multiple initiatives underway within California to address these issues, little coordination exists nor is there an articulated state policy on teacher preparation partnerships among the providers and consumers of teacher preparation programs. The Commission seeks to eliminate barriers and redundancies within and across agencies, schools, and institutions of higher education. Furthermore, it seeks to facilitate and ensure that systemic linkages are forged between teacher education programs and school improvement efforts.

One step toward these collaborative partnerships is to establish and continue an ongoing dialogue among the key players. On May 10, 2001, the Commission, with support and assistance from the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, conducted an initial policy roundtable to begin the dialogue. More than 40 people attended, including legislators, policy experts, and representatives from a wide range of education institutions.

The report summarizes presentations by the three keynote speakers at the roundtable and provides highlights of the policy discussions among participants.

Related Topics: Faculty Salaries, Executive Compensation, Faculty and Staff Issues

Further information may be obtained from the Commission's Research Staff
(916) 445-1000 or via e-mail at

A copy of any publication may be requested from the Commission's Publications Unit
(916) 445-1000 or via e-mail at

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