State Superintendent of Education John White told two U. S. House subcommittees Wednesday morning that Louisiana's overhaul of teacher training will provide major dividends.

"College seniors aspiring to be teachers in Louisiana now experience year-long residencies under the tutelage of full-time mentor educators singularly dedicated to the resident's development, so that every graduate of our colleges of education is validated as an effective teacher before his or her first day of full employment," White said in written testimony.

'We owe it to teachers and to their students to prepare them in a professional manner and to declare them effective before they take a full-time job as a classroom teacher," he said.

White was one of four educators who appeared before the House Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment and the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education.

The panels are exploring how the federal Higher Education Act can better support teachers.

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White noted that the changes in Louisiana stemmed in part from a survey of teachers.

"More than 6,000 educators responded, and the results were humbling," he said.

"Educators overwhelmingly said they were not prepared to teach in their first years in the classroom, and that they wished they would have had more time to practice actually teaching under the tutelage of a highly-educated mentor prior to their first day alone in the classroom," White said.

"Recent research shows us that aspiring teachers who prepare for the job alongside mentors who have a proven track record of student success demonstrate classroom performance akin to teachers with two more years of experience," he said.

"With high-quality preparation we can end the tragic phenomenon of the hapless first-year teacher."

Email Will Sentell