First, US News and World Report is publishing the NCTQ report because, well, here are their words:
"U.S. News believes that teacher education programs have not been fully scrutinized in the past. There is a push to improve both teacher quality and the quality of schools at the elementary and secondary level nationwide. Teachers now need to be capable enough to implement the new Common Core standards. The new rankings are part of this national effort to hold teacher preparation programs accountable for the quality of their graduates."
Is it just me or is the tone here incredibly disrespectful? Mind you, I am a teacher, so when I see phrases such as "capable enough," I tend to hear the unspoken piece that intimates they have not been capable yet. I will also once again question why NCTQ bothers with porgrams in states that are not CCSS (and those are finally growing) such as Texas. NCTQ "researched" 2400 institutions. The results for them all can be foudn here: http://www.nctq.org/dmsView/TPR_2014_All_Programs. Interesting to note how many cannot be ranked along with a huge number whose rankings is not reported.
Having US News and World Report publish this flawed faux research is sure to lend it an air of credibility. I fully expect to see stories run rampant in papers and on TV. There will be hand-wringing from those who do not know good research if it bit them on the butt (or on the hand that gives them money in the case of NCTQ) about how awful teachers are. More bashing to come. And most of this is based on syllabi and textbooks and the data collected by the university. I think this is akin to someone downloading one of my power points and using the slides to ascertain whether or not I an expert in my topic.
I must admit that the report has tons of wonderfully colorful graphics and loads of information about their "research" design. But it is all BS. Analyzing documents in lieu of analyzing the program or classes within the program is bogus. The BS will be spread, though, and will be used to grow even more cries for "reform" and probably calls for further cuts to autonomy, further blows against unions, and more.
You see, if they can dismantle colleges of education, then they are one step closer to taking over teacher prep, putting it into the hands of TFA and other alt cert organizations. Would it surprise you to learn that TFA gets a "B" from NCTQ? Yep, 5 weeks of prep and you are good to go. It makes me heartsick. It also makes me angry. I hope others will raise clarion calls for BS like this to be dismissed for what it is.