Only 11 states currently verify that all teacher candidates planning to teach either elementary or special education have learned the most effective methods for teaching children how to read–arguably the most important skill these teachers need, according to new data from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ).
Low literacy rates in the United States were a problem before the pandemic, with annual measures reporting that nearly 1 million 4th grade students are barely able to read, if at all. Instructional loss due to the pandemic is likely to raise this number substantially, elevating the need for more teachers to have expertise in reading instruction.
“As the regulating authority over teacher preparation, states have two important obligations: first, holding their educator preparation programs accountable for imparting reading methods grounded in science; and second, verifying that every teacher candidate has acquired that knowledge before stepping into the classroom,” said Kate Walsh, NCTQ President. “We’re about to face a tsunami, with our backs turned the wrong way.”