In OECD countries, decisions taken by schools in consultation with other levels of authority are relatively rare in education, with the exception of the United States, where more than 53% of decisions relating to lower secondary education are made in consultation with local school district authorities (OECD, 2012). As states and territories in the United States are primarily responsible for local education and schooling, education policies related to initial teacher preparation (ITP) differ by region. The allocated power to the federal level is relatively important, with federal states collecting data on the quality of teacher preparation, distributing and monitoring funds through the Higher Education Act of 1965 (United States Government, 1965).
Due to this structure, cross-state networks in the United States are influential stakeholders in national education policy making – and it also applies to the field of ITP. These networks lead discussion to improve ITP and react to the federal and state legislation regarding various issues related to teacher education. There are three leading networks in the United States:
Other networks involved in ITP policy and practice include the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) and the Association of Public & Land Grant Universities (APLU). This case study looks at the Deans for Impact’s case as a cross-state network actively engaging in transforming ITP in the United States.
Deans for Impact focus their work on three major areas (Deans for Impact, 2018):
Thirteen diverse institutions are participating in the CIS prototype during the 2017/18 academic year and collecting common data on the development of more than 1 500 teacher candidates.
Deans for Impact sees that there are vast opportunities for improvement of ITP but it needs to be framed in a positive way by engaging with other Deans with a teacher preparation reform agenda. In 2017, it published Building Blocks, a digital publication exploring the transformation of teacher preparation in the United States using video, photos and interviews with stakeholders across 18 ITE programmes in 13 states. It identified four essential building blocks of effective preparation: modelling, practice, feedback and alignment (Deans for Impact, 2017).
The OECD review team in its visit to the United States from 25-28 October 2016 concluded that a cross-state network such as the Deans for Impact was a strength in that it:
The OECD review team also noted that:
American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (2018), American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education, (accessed on 28 May 2018). 
Council of Chief State School Officers (2018), Council of Chief State School Officers, (accessed on 28 May 2018). 
Deans for Impact (2018), Transforming Educator Preparation, (accessed on 13 March 2018). 
Deans for Impact (2017), Building Blocks, (accessed on 28 May 2018). 
This case study describes a “promising practice” drawn from an OECD review of initial teacher preparation in the United States from 25-28 October 2016.
The OECD Review Team identified a number of “promising practices” in each country. These practices may not be widespread or representative, but seen in the context of other challenges, they represent a strength or opportunity to improve the country’s initial teacher preparation system – and for other countries to learn from them.
This work is published under the responsibility of the Secretary-General of the OECD. The opinions expressed and arguments employed herein do not necessarily reflect the official views of OECD member countries.
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