Date of Award

Summer 8-11-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Richard Lakes, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Philo Hutcheson, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Hayward Richardson, Ed.D.

Fourth Advisor

Diane Truscott, Ph.D.

Abstract

ABSTRACT

TITLE I ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PRINCIPALS’ PERSPECTIVES ON TEACHER PREPAREDNESS: UNIVERSITY-BASED ALTERNATIVE TEACHER PREPARATION FOR URBAN SCHOOLS

by

Pamela L. Gayles

Colleges of education produce the majority of teacher educators in the United States. Additionally, over half of the alternative teacher preparation programs in the United States are administered by colleges of education. However, the literature reveals that few institutions concentrate on urban teacher preparation and that teacher-reform efforts have continuously insisted on high-quality teachers for high-need urban schools. This work addresses the existing gap in the extant research on urban schools by including the voices of school principals that are often unsolicited when discussing teacher preparation reform, particularly reform efforts responding to the staffing needs of Title I urban schools.

This study explores the perceptions that Title I principals have of urban teaching, urban school challenges, and, most importantly, of urban teacher preparation. Individual interviews were conducted with four Title I urban elementary school principals from public schools in the Southeast. Additionally, an analysis of documents was conducted from five university-based urban alternative teacher preparation programs.

Results from this research reveal that Title I school principals are aware of their staffing needs and challenges and are equally attuned to what they consider to be critical aspects of teacher preparation for Title I urban schools. This dissertation also highlights efforts underway in colleges and universities across the United States that are utilizing urban alternative teacher preparation to address staffing needs in urban schools. These efforts challenge the negative accusations about and allegations against both college of education and alternative teacher preparation programs’ inability to produce well-prepared teachers for all children, especially disadvantaged youth.

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