For Immediate Release - July 13, 2012

Secretary Reville Announces New Working Group to Design 21st Century Educator Preparation System in Massachusetts

BOSTON – Friday, July 13, 2012 – Massachusetts Education Secretary Paul Reville today announced the formation of the Educator Preparation Advisory Group (EPAG), a group of education, business and advocacy organization leaders tasked with developing a 21st century educator preparation system in Massachusetts.  This enhanced system will reflect the evolution of teaching and leadership in the Commonwealth as well as the Patrick-Murray Administration’s ongoing efforts to create a more unified, aligned, and coherent public education system that will better meet the needs of all students.

“The quality of teaching is the most important variable in our public education system,” said Education Secretary Paul Reville. “Improving teacher preparation is vital to improving the quality of teaching in every Massachusetts school. This working group is perfectly positioned to make a major contribution to the quality of education in the Commonwealth and I look forward to collaborating with them in this work.”

EPAG members will examine challenges facing educators here in Massachusetts, research best practices from other leading states and develop recommendations for a more robust and aligned preparation system in the Commonwealth.  Members will also serve as liaisons to the different stakeholder groups that they represent including the Boards of Early Education and Care, Elementary and Secondary Education, Higher Education, and the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees; the early education, K-12, and higher education sectors; educator preparation and advocacy organizations; and the business and philanthropic communities. 

Members will focus their initial work in three areas:

  • Educator Induction – building a stronger statewide induction system that will better integrate educator preparation with the first three years of service; 
  • Content and Sequence of Courses and Programs – improving the content and quality of courses in educator preparation programs to better align these programs with local, regional, and statewide priorities and creating more robust classroom- and school-based learning opportunities for aspiring educators; and
  • Regulatory/Licensure Framework – improving pathways to certification and licensure .

The EPAG will also consider additional topics including the specific challenges facing educators in urban areas and other higher-need communities; enrollment, admission, and retention policies at preparation programs; principal preparation and its relationship to teacher preparation; and collaboration with other sectors to increase awareness about and support for all educators and the teaching profession.

"This is an exciting time to be embarking on this work," said Charles Desmond, Chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education and EPAG member. "Our public colleges and universities train half of the educators who go on to teach our students across the Commonwealth and there is an unprecedented level of collaboration now between colleagues working in K-12 and in higher education. Improving the quality and preparedness of our teachers is an essential task."

Massachusetts leads the nation in student achievement.  With the tools provided by the Achievement Gap Act of 2010, the Commonwealth’s successful Race to the Top K-12 and Early Learning Challenge initiatives, the Vision Project, and other ongoing initiatives, the Commonwealth is embarking on the next chapter of education reform.  But there is more work to be done in reducing persistent achievement gaps among students across the state.

Educators at every level of the public education system are central to the Administration’s ongoing efforts to close those achievement and attainment gaps. In order to ensure that they are well prepared to meet the needs of a diverse student population, successfully implement the Commonwealth’s reform strategies, and embrace new professional opportunities, Massachusetts must develop a new and improved educator preparation system.

“Strong teacher preparation programs are vital in providing a solid foundation in our 21st century classrooms,” said Sean Brooks, a teacher at the Winthrop Elementary School in Dorchester and EPAG member. “Today, there is enormous variation across these programs. Our students are more diverse than ever and come to school with an array of needs. By establishing a list of best practices, I believe we can create a preparation model ensuring that our teachers are entering the classroom fully prepared to service these students. I am excited to be a part of this work and having the opportunity to work with the various stakeholders that are part of this important process.” 

The EPAG will present its final recommendations to Secretary Reville in Spring 2013. 

EPAG members are as follows: 

  • Maura Banta, Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Anna Bradfield, Bridgewater State University
  • Sean Brooks, Governor’s Teacher Advisory Group
  • Celine Coggins, Teach Plus
  • Carol Craig-O’Brien, Board of Early Education and Care
  • Mary Czajkowski, Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents
  • William Dandridge, formerly with the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation
  • Charles Desmond, Board of Higher Education
  • Marie Enochty, Boston Public Schools
  • Jody Figuerido, Institute for Education and Professional Development
  • Mary Grant, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
  • Linda Hayes, Massachusetts Secondary School Administrators Association
  • Nadya Higgins, Massachusetts Elementary School Principals Association
  • Alyce Lee, University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees
  • Shirley Lundberg, Massachusetts Association of School Committees
  • Jeffrey Mullan, University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees
  • Daniel Murphy, American Federation of Teachers – Massachusetts
  • Patricia Plummer, Office of the President, University of Massachusetts
  • Fernando Reimers, Board of Higher Education
  • David Roach, Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Linda Romero, MassBay Community College
  • Eileen Rudden, Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education
  • Jesse Solomon, The Boston Plan for Excellence in the Public Schools and the Boston Teacher Residency Program
  • Paul Toner, Massachusetts Teachers Association
  • Eleonora Villegas-Reimers, Board of Early Education and Care
  • Jeff Wolff, Massachusetts Head Start Association