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Generalizations in Teacher Education: Seductive and Misleading

Gitomer, Drew H.; Latham, Andrew S.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Memorandum
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Teacher Education, Teacher Licensure, Teacher Supply and Demand


In this paper, the authors argue that the temptation to generalize about issues facing teacher education, and their potential solutions, are often simplified to the point of being misleading. Sensible policy decisions based on research findings require that attention be given to the complex profile of supply and demand and teacher ability that exists. The authors argue that issues of supply and demand be explored in consideration of local demand and specific content area needs. The authors also argue that the academic ability of teachers is not adequately characterized by broad generalizations, specifically in light of the fact that teachers who achieve licensure in specific content areas appear have academic profiles that are much stronger than those who achieve elementary, physical, and special education licenses. Finally, the mere act of raising passing standards for teacher licensure tests will not achieve desired effects unless serious attention is given to the recruitment and retention of highly qualified teacher candidates, with particular emphasis on actions necessary to develop a demographically diverse teaching force.

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