The National Association of Scholars reports a frightening trend of thought control in ed schools. What qualifies NCATE to be an accrediting outfit?
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
K.C. Johnson, Brooklyn College–CUNY
Over the last decade, a new requirement has emerged in teacher-training programs around the country. According to the standards outlined by the National Council for Accreditation in Teacher Education (NCATE), prospective teachers must possess the "knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to help all students learn." We can easily identify "knowledge" and "skills." But what exactly is "dispositions" theory? And why should people outside of the Education establishment be very much concerned about it?
In its 2000 statement of standards, NCATE defined dispositions as "the values, commitments, and professional ethics that influence behaviors towards students, families, colleagues, and communities and affect student learning, motivation, and development as well as the educator's own professional growth." By 2002, the national accrediting agency was also mentioning a new definition: requiring would-be teachers to hold a prescribed set of beliefs on issues that the education school or department deems important -- such as a commitment to diversity or social justice.
"For example," the accrediting agency's 2002 assessment document noted, if an education department has "indicated that a commitment to social justice is one disposition it expects of teachers who can become agents of change, then it is expected that unit assessments include some measure of a candidate's commitment to social justice."
To repeat: the national accrediting agency for education schools and departments has said that it's acceptable for prospective public school teachers to be evaluated on the basis of their political beliefs.