Education Watch: Should We Be Rethinking Educator Training?

Jul 15, 2022 | Wisconsin Voices Blog

Quinton Klabon


The most efficient way to improve our state’s schools is to train teachers well and to incentivize them to stay in Wisconsin. Unfortunately, so many who graduate fail the final certification test or leave the state. That wastes colleges’ resources and gives graduates debt and a useless degree.   Quinton Klabon, IRG Senior Research Director

Photo: Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

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  • For example, all future K4-5th grade teachers must pass the FORT test, proving that they can teach kids the building blocks of reading. Just 3 in 5 pass it after 4 years of time and college tuition. Just 3 in 8 non-White teacher candidates passes, as do only 1 in 2 men. Given that students do better with teachers in their demographic, low passage rates ultimately hurt these students the most.


  • As of 2019, 1 in 4 graduates in any subject fails certification or leaves Wisconsin. Given that Wisconsin requires only a 3.00 grade point average or passage of a straightforward test to teach here, our training and teaching climate must be poor.


  • We should hold colleges accountable for low passage rates, mandate a uniform way of teaching reading across the UW System, designate teachers who hit a high certification score as “elite educators” to encourage reward and recruitment, and move to a 2-year study, 2-year apprenticeship bachelor’s degree model to get teachers real experience early.