Purpose– The purpose of this paper is to contrast the approaches to improve teacher quality through initial teacher education (ITE) in the Canadian province of Alberta, a consistently high-performing system on international comparisons, to the approach taken in the USA, which has consistently fared less well than the average country in these comparisons. Design/methodology/approach– The authors draw on a case study of policies and practices related to teaching and teacher education in Alberta and on analyses of US teaching and teacher education policy to compare a business capital approach with a professional capital approach to ITE. Findings– The decision by philanthropists, business and corporate interests, and the federal government in the USA to invest in the business capital approach has led to the growing privatization of public education. The USA would do well to learn from Alberta’s investment in the professional capital of teachers. Alberta’s system truly is a system that has decided to invest in building “the whole teacher.” The province supports education, including ITE, pays its teachers competitive salaries, and provides access to high quality and teacher-driven professional development. Originality/value– While comparative analyses of education systems are not new, this comparative analysis of ITE in Alberta and the USA using a theoretical framework based on Hargreaves and Fullan’s (2012, 2013) discussion of business and professional capital should give pause to the current US trajectory of disinvesting from university and college-based initial teacher preparation in favor of early-entry programs.
Journal of Professional Capital and Community – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 11, 2016
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