Education News

Three Texas Programs Ranked Among Top In Country For New Elementary Teachers

Dallas Baptist University, the University of Houston and Texas A&M all scored among the top 1 percent in the U.S.

graduated at the top of his class this month at the University of Houston's College of Education.
Nick Morrow, 29, changed careers from audio engineering to teaching because he loves science and being around kids. He graduated at the top of his class this month at the University of Houston’s College of Education.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published on December 25, 2016. 

By the time Nick Morrow graduated at the top of his class at the University of Houston this December, he already spent a whole year in the classroom: two semesters at two different schools in Fort Bend.

“I think that’s probably the most impactful, just being able to teach lessons in the classroom and seeing how to organize and plan lessons,” Morrow said. “It was just a really awesome experience.”

That year-long residency in student teaching goes beyond the state’s requirements for new teachers.

It’s a major reason why UH’s College of Education scored among the best programs in the country for new elementary school instructors.

“I think our kids are stepping out of the University of Houston and into a classroom probably performing at a level that’s closer to a second-year teacher than a first-year teacher,” said Bob McPherson, dean at the College of Education at UH.

Recently, the National Council on Teacher Quality recently surveyed some 2,500 programs. The nonprofit, which is funded by private donors and foundations including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, focused on areas, including:

  • how selective admissions were;
  • early reading;
  • elementary math;
  • overall elementary content;
  • student teaching; and 
  • classroom management

Other Texas programs that scored in the top 1 percent include Dallas Baptist University and Texas A&M.

At UH, McPherson explained that over the last several years, they not only expanded the student teaching, but they also hired 80 percent new faculty, including researchers.

The college has also teamed up with the Houston Independent School District to recruit top students to enter the field.

McPherson said that next they’ll beef up math training for new teachers, one area where they got a poor grade from NCTQ.

As for Morrow, 29, he’s planning to substitute teach in the spring while he looks for a full-time position. It’s a career switch from audio engineering. His dream is to teach science to elementary students.

“When I was growing up, Bill Nye was a big inspiration to me. So I kind of want to be like the Bill Nye for kids,” he said.

Here’s how NCTQ ranked other teacher prep programs for elementary education in Texas. For more information, click here.

2016 Percentile RankUNIVERSITY
99Texas A&M University
99Dallas Baptist University
99University of Houston
97University of Texas at Arlington
95Texas State University – San Marcos
92University of Texas at Austin
91University of Texas of the Permian Basin
84University of Texas at Dallas
83Hardin-Simmons University
82University of Mary Hardin – Baylor
81University of Texas at San Antonio
79Texas A&M University – Kingsville
79University of North Texas
76Texas A&M University – Texarkana
76Midwestern State University
74Southern Methodist University
72University of Texas at Tyler
70LeTourneau University
68Texas Lutheran University
63Concordia University Texas
60Sul Ross State University
60Huston-Tillotson University
60University of St. Thomas
57Howard Payne University
49University of Houston – Clear Lake
49Texas Woman’s University
49University of the Incarnate Word
45Texas A&M International University
38Stephen F. Austin State University
34University of Houston – Victoria
32Angelo State University
32Sam Houston State University
32McMurry University
25Lamar University
19West Texas A&M University
17Wayland Baptist University
9University of Houston – Downtown
*St. Mary’s University
*Texas Christian University
*Texas Wesleyan University

Lubbock Christian University

*No percentile rank reported because NCTQ was not able to review all key standards.


Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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