Report finds many University of Wisconsin System education schools of middling quality

  • Updated: June 18, 2013 - 8:55 PM

MILWAUKEE — A review of the nation's teacher-training programs released Tuesday suggests that many University of Wisconsin System education schools are of middling quality.

The nonprofit National Council on Teacher Quality used a four-star rating system to evaluate teacher preparation programs at more than 1,100 colleges and universities.

UW-Stout's undergraduate program for preparing high school teachers received three stars, the highest marks in the state for any education school. But 21 other education programs in the UW System fell into the one- and two-star categories, with most receiving one star.

Two Wisconsin programs — the high school teacher prep programs at UW-Milwaukee and UW-Stevens Point — received "consumer alert" ratings, suggesting that prospective teachers might not be getting much return on their investments.

Tom Luljack, vice chancellor for university affairs at UWM, said the teacher prep programs at UWM meet or exceed expectations put forth by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

"The report covers a limited scope of course syllabi and doesn't provide context of programs as they exist today," Luljack said Tuesday.

Some education-school leaders in the UW System criticized the results.

President Jeanne Williams of the Wisconsin Association of Colleges for Teacher Education told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/19MTi6Y) the council had "no standing to be evaluating teacher education."

"Every one of our programs is reviewed each year by the state of Wisconsin," said Williams, a professor of educational studies at Ripon College.

To get its information, the Washington, D.C.-based council requested data such as course syllabuses from public universities, and several balked at that request, including the UW System.

The council sued the UW System, and a settlement allowed the council to obtain the records under certain conditions.

The state findings show that 27 Wisconsin institutions were evaluated, but only 12 in the UW System had sufficient data for an overall program rating. According to the report, those 12 institutions produce about 72 percent of Wisconsin's traditionally trained teachers.

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