MADISON — Strengthening the way teachers are trained is one of the key strategies of a proposed University of Wisconsin System plan to further improve the state public education system from pre-kindergarten through college.
The UW System Board of Regents is scheduled to vote at its meeting this Thursday and Friday on the proposed PK-16 Principles. The principles call for the UW System chancellors to collaborate with elementary and secondary educators and other postsecondary education leaders “to develop a well-articulated plan for achieving local quality PK-16 education.”
The Board of Regents has reviewed several critical issues related to PK-16 education over the past year, including teacher supply and demand, the impact of PK-12 standards on higher education, technology and teacher education, and local and state PK-16 councils. And the regents’ education committee established PK-16 initiatives and partnerships as a top priority for the 2000-01 academic year.
“The regents’ focus acknowledges the UW System’s responsibility for a vested interest in PK-16 reforms, including ensuring teacher quality and setting clear and consistent expectations for student learning,” says the executive summary to the PK-16 Principles.
The board’s education committee will vote on the principles at its meeting Thursday, June 7, at UW-Milwaukee. The full board will consider the measure at its meeting Friday, June 8, at Miller Park in Milwaukee.
The PK-16 principles state that strengthening the way teachers are educated during college and after they are working through continuing education “is central to improving Wisconsin’s schools and in preparing all students to participate in a vibrant 21st Century society and economy.” The principles reiterate the fact that the quality of PK-12 education directly affects the quality of higher education.
In addition, the principles point out that the quality of teaching directly affects the quality of learning. Therefore, the principles direct the UW institutions – as the primary supplier of Wisconsin’s PK-12 teachers – to “assume responsibility at the all-university level for teacher quality and work in partnership with PK-12 and other postsecondary education leaders toward school renewal.”
The PK-16 Principles outline four critical areas for focus: collaboration and partnerships; teacher quality, supply and demand; technology in teacher education; and curriculum alignment and accountability. Each area of focus contains several important issues and suggested “strategy alternatives” to address those issues.
Several of those “strategy alternatives” are already underway, including the creation of a statewide PK-16 Council. UW System President Katharine Lyall co-chairs the PK-16 Council with John Benson, state superintendent of public instruction.
The council, which has already held its first meeting, is a collaborative effort between the UW System, the Department of Public Instruction, the Wisconsin Technical College System and the Wisconsin Association of Private Colleges and Universities.
According to the PK-16 Principles, the UW System will report on its PK-16 plans, initiatives and achievements to the Board of Regents in June 2002. The proposed PK-16 Principles can be found in the full Board of Regents meeting agenda.