Christine Stuart photo
Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor (Christine Stuart photo)

Connecticut was one of seven states Wednesday to receive funding from a national organization of school officials in order to plan for changes to teacher preparatory programs.

Education Department Commissioner Stefan Pryor said the funding will help the ongoing efforts of the Educator Preparation Advisory Council created by the 2012 education reform legislation. That group has met seven times and have agreed to six goals for any teacher prep program offered at any of the state’s colleges or universities.

“We’ve raised the bar for kids across the country and because we’ve raised that bar we have different expectations for teachers,” Chris Minnich, executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, said Wednesday in making the funding announcement. “Without giving teachers more support and better preparation, we will be unable to reach that bar of Common Core standards.”

The Common Core standards, which were spearheaded by the National Governors Association, are expected to be implemented by 2015 with the hope that at least 85 percent of the curricula will be based on a set of standards. At least 45 states and the District of Columbia have agreed to implement the standards, which are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to enter college or the workforce.

“States across the nation have raised expectations for students, and that means that we have a responsibility to ensure that educators are prepared to help all students graduate ready for careers, college, and lifelong learning,” Minnich said.

Connecticut will receive $100,000 over the next two years to develop a pilot that the state will use to develop and implement regulations around how teachers are trained. Already the Educator Preparation Advisory Council has developed six goals regarding entry standards and program effectiveness. Those goals will guide the group, but the focus will be on “program approval and data collection systems,” Sarah Barzee, chief talent officer at the state Education Department, said.

But changes won’t be coming to the classroom anytime soon for teachers.

It will take at least three years before the coalition of stakeholders officially makes changes to the curriculum for educators at public and private colleges and universities in Connecticut. In the meantime the coalition will be looking at best practices from other states and meeting in small groups to discuss what changes should be made.

Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, and Washington also received grants from Minnich’s organization.

The organization looked to give funding to states that were taking a comprehensive approach to creating a system where educators are ready when they enter the classroom. Whether that means Connecticut will be looking to increase the GPA of all students seeking to be teachers remains to be seen, officials said Wednesday.