students_3The start of the school year always brings with it a spate of articles and editorials on the condition of education in our nation, state and region. However, David Colburn and Brian Dassler’s column on teacher effectiveness in the Orlando Sentinel on Aug. 17 (“Finding the elusive best teacher”) raises concerns and demands further examination.

As challenges in the field of education ebb and flow, it’s imperative that all stakeholders recognize the importance of the classroom teacher in the equation of public schooling. Among the many pathways to becoming a teacher, traditional four-year programs and alternative programs are today receiving critical review and comparison. Both pathways can and do prepare excellent teachers.

The critical point in advancing our educational system is achieving a level of assurance that regardless of which avenue a prospective teacher follows, each individual is able to meet similar rigorous standards and demonstrate similar levels of proficiency before they enter a classroom of their own.

At the University of Central Florida College of Education, the rigorous requirements and standards that a student must meet in preparing for a career in teaching offer insight into how much we value teacher preparation.

Visit the Web site to read the full story from the Orlando Sentinel by Sandra L. Robinson , dean of the UCF College of Education; Special to the Sentinel, August 31, 2009