To the members of the Bank Street community, 

On Tuesday June 18, U.S. News and World Report will publish ratings of university-based teacher education programs with each program receiving a grade on a four point scale.  The grade will be based upon information collected by the National Center for Teaching Quality (NCTQ).  Based in Washington DC, according to their website, “The National Council on Teacher Quality was founded in 2000 to provide an alternative national voice to existing teacher organizations.” 

We do not know what grade Bank Street’s teacher education programs will receive.  That is why I am writing to you now.  The professional preparation of teachers and the growth and development of the children who will be in their care is much too important to spend our time worrying about an attempt to assign a single letter grade to our work.

We have many other, and much better, sources of evidence. Among the other sources of information we gather and use to hold ourselves responsible for our outcomes are two public and transparent accreditation processes (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, and Middle States Commission on Higher Education).  As part of these processes, we conduct entry, exit, and graduate surveys of our candidates, ask candidates to rate each of their courses, and assess our candidates throughout our programs on the standards provided by the two accrediting agencies.  In addition, we have contracted with Stanford University to conduct a methodologically sound and independent evaluation of our teacher education programs.  This extensive study is in its first year and will be completed in summer 2015.  

So, when the NCTQ/U.S. News grades come out, my interest will be piqued and I will most likely take a look.  But frankly whatever grade they give to us, it will be neither a cause for celebration nor grief.  We choose to be truly responsible for the quality of our programs as opposed to joining in the ideologically driven cacophony of false debates and information that is, at best, of questionable value.

Sincerely, 

Jon Snyder
Dean of the College