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Wisconsin colleges get low marks for teacher training

UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)  A new national report gives Wisconsin universities low marks for training teachers -- but school leaders condemned the rankings almost before the ink dried. The National Council on Teacher Quality checked more than 1,600 schools that prepare elementary, secondary, and special-ed teachers.

U-W Eau Claire was named the 92nd-best university for elementary teacher prep. Madison was ranked 117th, and La Crosse 125th. For undergraduate secondary programs, U-W River Falls was the highest-ranked in the state at 113th. Carroll of Waukesha was next at 193rd.

Melanie Agnew, who heads the Wisconsin Colleges of Teacher Education, says the rankings are irrelevant. She says the state is currently working to make its teacher prep programs stronger. Also, Agnew said the council did not visit the campuses or talk to anyone there. The group's ratings were based on the selection process for teaching candidates, and the overall scope of their college coursework.

Wisconsin has 36 teacher training schools. 22 were not ranked because they were considered in the bottom half of the national ratings. Yesterday's rankings were a follow-up to the council's inaugural survey from a year ago.