Ultimately, the national goals of improving learning outcomes for all students and reducing, if not eliminating, the achievement gap require a teaching corps that brings knowledge and professional competencies to have positive impacts on diverse learners in diverse settings (Gándara & Maxwell-Jolly, 2006). As central actors in schools, teachers have the greatest impact on student achievement (Cochran-Smith & Fries, 2005). Nevertheless, due to varied challenges of preparing high-quality teachers within the context of traditional schools of education, preparation programs have yet to consistently and comprehensively produce teachers who accomplish these outcomes (Ball & Forzani, 2009; Larabee, 2004, 2010). While substantive reform and evidence of improved teacher education emerges (Ball & Forzani, 2009, 2010; Zumwalt & Craig, 2005), systemic change that contributes to better pre-kindergarten-through-twelfth-grade (PK-12) student outcomes remains elusive (Darling-Hammond, 2010).
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