Colleges of education nationwide have experienced a decline in enrollment, with the number of people completing these traditional teacher training programs falling by nearly a third in the past decade. The trend in New Mexico has been particularly precipitous, plummeting by 75% during the same time period. Meanwhile, the number of teachers entering the profession via alternative licensure has been gradually increasing.
One reason behind the declining enrollment in the traditional colleges of education is that the curricula in those programs too often emphasizes abstract theory over the practical, skills-based learning that is most valuable to future teachers.
To increase the value of the colleges of education to potential teachers, the legislature and governor must ensure that they are providing relevant, up to date curricula that reflect the best current practices, and also expand the clinical requirement from a single semester of student teaching to a full-year teacher residency.
Think New Mexico recommends that the legislature and governor enact a law requiring that, beginning in 2023 and then every five years thereafter, the Public Education Department evaluate the schools of education to determine whether their curricula reflect the best research on effective teacher preparation, and make continued accreditation of the colleges of education contingent on meeting that standard.