This site offers resources to highlight the Commission's role and function in supporting the teaching profession. In addition, it offers related links to current policy & practice, state and district resources, a resource center for educators as well as ways to connect with parents and local communities. For example, the Educators Resource Center link provides contemporary research supporting ways to improve teaching quality at the preparation and the induction levels based on NCATE, INTASC, and NBPTS standards. Likewise, the site defends the importance of strong preparation and induction programs in light of the ESEA goal to ensure highly qualified teachers for every classroom.
The National Commission on Teaching and America's Future (NCTAF) is a nonpartisan and nonprofit group dedicated to improving the quality of teaching nationwide as a means of meeting America's educational challenges. The chairman of the Commission is James B. Hunt Jr., former governor of North Carolina, and the Executive Director is Tom Carroll. Established in 1994 by Linda Darling-Hammond, with initial funding from the Rockefeller Foundation and Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Commission includes a diverse cross-section of public officials, business and community leaders, and educators representing major stakeholders in education.
Type of Material:
This site is a critical resource for teacher educators to refer to when defending the importance of "highly qualified" teacher preparation and induction programs. In addition, teacher educators, policy makers, and those doing research on teacher education and policy can come to this site to locate NCTAF-sponsored articles and links to affiliated groups.
Some documents are available in PDF file format, which requires the installation of Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
NCTAF was established to identify the implications for teaching and learning embodied in current school reforms,
and to examine strategies that will provide all children access to skilled, knowledgeable, and committed teachers working in schools organized for success. As a result, the site is designed for teacher educators to assist in articulating the significance of quality teacher preparation and induction programs. In addition, it recognizes award-winning teacher preparation and induction programs for teacher educators to acknowledge the importance of identifying those critical elements for preparing "highly qualified" teachers.
Target Student Population:
Teacher educators, policy makers, and graduate students interested in teacher education and policy.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Evaluation and Observation
This website provides access to many seminal documents related to Teacher Education Policy and Practice including three very important NCTAF publications: What Matters Most: Teaching for America?s Future (1996), Doing What Matters Most: Investing in Quality Teaching (1997), and most recently No Dream Denied: A Pledge to America?s Children (2003). In addition, there are links to other related websites in the following areas: State Resources, District Resources, Educator Resources, and Connecting Parents and Community. Finally, many of Linda Darling-Hammond?s publications can be found on this site as well. As a result, this site provides current and important resources and research to address the recent re-authorization of ESEA, No Child Left Behind, to ensure that every classroom offers a "highly qualified" teacher.
Some critics may see a particular bias in the documents posted on this website, especially those who are interested in doing away with university-based teacher education.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
This website is meant to be a resource and repository of policy documents for teacher educators, policy makers, and researchers. Teacher educators and graduate students would do well to bookmark this website and use it often as both a place to find information and a jumping off point to locate other information using the links provided here. Many important teacher education policy documents can be accessed from this site and could easily be integrated into graduate programs for educators to better understand the significance of professional standards to support the need for "highly qualified teachers" in America's schools.
It is not designed to be a teaching tool, but it does offer tools for teaching.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
While this website offers a great deal of information, it is easy to navigate and provides access to important resources in several ways. Most documents are available in PDF file format. Furthermore, links to other websites open in new pages so you don?t get taken away from the NCTAF site.
A few of the PDF files opened very slowly or not at all. The addition of a search engine for this website would be nice, even though there is a site index.
Other Issues and Comments:
Because of the current impact of No Child Left Behind, teacher educators need this type of information and research to support the significance of "high quality" teacher preparation and induction programs.