Controversy continues to brew on how to best judge universities who prepare teachers. The latest example comes from Maryland where “teacher colleges may get an option on accreditation.” Until a few years ago, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) was the only agency sanctioned to accredit universities that prepare teachers. In 2003, the U.S. Department of Education recognized the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) established as a competitor. To be sure, both share the goal of improving teacher preparation – but there is a major difference.
Universities must meet NCATE standards – which are externally developed by consumers (administrators, teachers) and regulators (policymakers). However, under the auspices of TEAC universities can make up their own standards. This cannot be a good thing – especially given the demand from the federal government that every teacher be ‘"highly qualified. " Why should a university have a choice when it comes to meeting standards? Can you imagine hospitals getting to choose whether or not they have to meet standards? Or getting to choose the standards they are expected to meet?
As noted in the recent new article (cited above), Edward Root, Maryland state board of education president, complained about NCATE's "burdensome" overemphasis on content: "It requires too many courses in math, physics or chemistry that the teachers do not teach in high schools." Is that not what the USDOE has pushed with its "highly qualified" teacher provisions?
This issue is worth exploring. Hmmm.