Tuesday, June 06, 2006
The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education won a key endorsement on Monday in its quest for continued federal approval of its accrediting power after announcing that it would drop controversial language relating to "social justice" from its accrediting standards for teacher-preparation programs.Candace de Russy calls this "grand news." They've thus avoided the reasons that groups like FIRE, NAS, and ACTA have raised for removing NCATE's authority to accredit teaching programs. There is additional coverage at Inside Higher Ed.
...On Monday, at a hearing of the U.S. Department of Education's National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, Arthur E. Wise, president of Ncate, called the criticisms of the standards "unwarranted" but announced that the organization would drop "social justice" from the guidelines, "lest there be any misunderstanding about our intentions."
Mr. Wise emphasized that the phrase "social justice" was merely an example of criteria institutions may adopt when assessing candidates' dispositions, and was never intended as an accreditation requirement. Each institution, he said, was free to choose its own disposition evaluation criteria.
"The allegation that Ncate requires thought control is simply wrong," he said.
Anne Neal of ACTA is reported to have said that changing a few words changes nothing. The definition of professional dispositions now says that teaching candidates are expected "to demonstrate classroom behaviors that are consistent with the ideas of fairness and the belief that all students can learn." But it will also allow schools to impose additional dispositions. Perhaps Neal is right. Any thought that this is the death knell of dispositions theory is quite premature.