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NCATE Amends Charter To Permit A.F.T., Others To Join

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The organization that accredits teacher-training institutions has altered its constitution to enable the American Federation of Teachers to join the group and to open up membership to more national organizations.

The National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education accepted the aft's application for membership last fall. It became official late last month, after approval of a constitutional change that allows the teachers' union to appoint members to any of ncate's four governing boards--up to a total of four members--as part of the group's4teacher constituency.

Formerly, only the National Education Association, which was a founding member of the organization, had authority to appoint teacher members to the boards.

New Constitution

Under the new constitution, approved by ncate's executive board on Sept. 25, board members must belong to one of the following categories: teacher education, teachers, state and local policymakers, specialty organizations that engage in the professional preparation of teachers, and public and student representatives.

The constitutional changes add four seats to each category. An aft official last week said that the union's executive council will decide next month how many of the four seats in the teachers' category it will choose to fill, and on which boards.

The nea now has a total of 14 seats on the executive board and the three other ncate boards. Teacher groups must pay $5,200 a year for each member who sits on one of the four boards.

During its meeting, the executive board also limited membership in the "teacher education" category to national groups that represent highel10ler-education institutions that prepare school personnel.

In March, the board tentatively agreed to open up membership in that category to organizations that represent individual teacher educators, such as the Association of Teacher Educators.

Objections from associations that represent teacher-training institutions, however, such as the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, led the board to reverse its decision.

Board members also accepted as new members the National Association of Elementary School Princi4pals and the American Library Association. Both groups will be represented in the "specialty organizations" category.

State Recognition

At a concurrent session, ncate's new state-recognition board gave its stamp of approval to state procedures for accrediting teacher-education programs in six states: Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Montana, North Dakota, and Oklahoma.

But it requested that two other states--Alabama and Utah--provide additional information before it acts on their requests this spring.

Once ncate has endorsed a state's system for ensuring the quality of individual teacher-education programs, the ncate evaluations in that state will focus on the entire school, college, or department that prepares teachers.

The new procedure is expected to save teacher-training institutions time, effort, and money. It is considered an important part of ncate's broader effort to redesign and upgrade its standards and procedures.--lo & br

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