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February 28, 2000

Reinventing Education
Success of teacher education
impacts future of the university!

By Amy Williams, Assoc. Editor

FRESNO -- In Chicago, last weekend, The National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education [NCATE] held a crisis meeting on an urgent topic. What was it, Teacher-training programs and the lack of impact on student learning.
      The importance of the meeting and the topic is underscored as lawmakers' across this nation push to hold Schools of Education accountable for the performance of the school teachers they train. In a quick move to quite public concern, Schools of Education are desperately searching for ways to require faculty members in the Arts and Sciences to share responsibility for the sad state of teacher education.
      About 400 people attended the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education session in which NCATE announce new standards to apply to all programs seeking accreditation beginning in 2001.
      The Educational Testing Service representatives attending the session announced that it is adapting academic-subject exams to accommodate the new accreditation standards.
      Some policymakers also have asked whether other entities, such as states or private companies, could do a better job of training teachers. Congress has required teacher-education programs to report how many of their graduates pass certification exams and ordered states to rank colleges based on those results.
     Ironically, NCATE panelists expressed concern over what to measure and that adapting teacher-training curricula to state standards for Schools of Education would make those curricula too narrowly focused on just passing the examination.
      Presenters at the session admonished professors of teacher-education to change their course content to focus on what their students actually learn and to set examples of how to learn and teach course content instead of letting students sort themselves out according to the laws of probability.


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