November 16, 2016
The architect of Texas Tech University's nationally recognized teacher preparation program now will have a chance to influence the direction of education statewide as a member the State Board for Educator Certification.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott this week appointed Scott Ridley, dean of the College of Education at Texas Tech University, to the board, which oversees the preparation, certification and standards of conduct for public school educators. The dean's role is a non-voting seat, but he will be able to contribute to the board's discussion, deliberations and scholarship.
It's an achievement for West Texas and Texas Tech, he said.
"This appointment increases Texas Tech's profile in the field of education throughout the state and our efforts to influence standards set in the state for quality not only for teachers but also for principals and administrators," Ridley said.
This also is a big step for improved teacher preparation statewide. Only about a third of Texas' teachers received an education in teaching, compared to the national average of 80 percent. More than half of teachers in Texas classrooms got jobs when districts needed teachers; they got minimal training and education after beginning the job. This problem is especially prevalent in low income schools. Satisfaction rates with these teachers are low, but as long as it is allowed, districts are still hiring.
However, Ridley said that is changing, and this appointment will put him and Texas Tech in a place of influence as the change begins.
"There's a growing consciousness in the state that we need to do better, and TechTeach is the high-end preparation that has high expectations and high demands. You've got to demonstrate you can actually teach before you finish the program," he said. "I think they wanted more of that perspective on the board."
The College of Education at Texas Tech University offers a full range of programs, including eight doctoral degrees, 12 master's degrees and two bachelor's degrees with numerous specializations leading to careers in public or private education as teachers, professors, administrators, counselors and diagnosticians.
Programs in the college are housed in two departments. The Department of Curriculum and Instruction offers undergraduate programs leading to initial teaching certificates and graduate programs in bilingual education, curriculum and instruction, elementary education, language literacy and secondary education.
The Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership offers graduate programs in counselor education, educational leadership, educational psychology, higher education, instructional technology and special education.