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To the Editor:

With reference to your story "Aacte Decides Not To Support Teaching Board" (Sept. 20, 1989), I want to bring to the attention of your readers what the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education's board of directors actually did.

That group voted unanimously to "urge the National Board [for Professional Teaching Standards] to reconsider its policy on prerequisites for certification."

Our board disassociated itself from the limited prerequisites--a baccalaureate and three years of teaching experience.

It did not vote to disassociate itself from the work of the national board or to oppose the efforts of the board to set high standards for the teaching profession.

Aside from the headline and the first paragraph, your story accurately conveys what occurred at the Sept. 13-14 meeting of the aacte board.

We support the conclusion of the national board, as expressed in its report to the public, regarding the assurance of professional competence: "The combination of a rigorous assesment, an extended course of professional study, and a well-supervised clinical practicum provides the strongest warrant of competence."

"Such a requirement," the report continues, "assures not only that certain studies have been completed, but that certificate holders have been socialized in college and university settings where there is extended time for interaction and reflection with peers and faculty on matters of professional practice, ethics, and tradition."

What puzzles and disappoints us is that this combination of assurances--virtually standard for the other professions--is "both controversial and difficult to legitimize" in teaching, according to the national board. We disagree.

Aacte believes that the prerequisites proposed by the national board represent a step backward from current standards and fears that the board's approach will actually lower the very quality the board seeks to elevate.

Aacte is pledged to working with the national board to address these concerns. The association is seeking appropriate channels to convey that intent and offer recommendations for modifying the national board's proposals.

John I. Goodlad President American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education Washington, D.C.

To the Editor:

I think President Bush deserves more credit for his speech on drugs ("Streetwise Students Give Bush Speech Failing Grade," Sept. 20, 1989).

The only articles I've seen on it are full of criticism--people saying that he doesn't really care or know and that it won't help anyway.

I realize that his speech probably won't stop pushers from dealing drugs or kids who are already addicted from using them. But they were not mainly who he was talking to.

I think he was mainly directing his speech to junior-high and high-school kids who haven't tried drugs. He wanted to warn them about the dangers and help convince them never to use drugs.

I just wish people would give him a chance. He really does care.

Megan Davis St. Paul Lutheran School Fort Wayne, Ind.

Editor's Note: The writer, an 8th-grade student, wrote this letter following a class discussion of the article cited.


Commentary proposals, manuscripts, and letters should be addressed to: Commentary, Education Week, 4301 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Suite 250, Washington, D.C. 20008.

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