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Wise Looks to Outside Funding for New Activities

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Washington--Under its new leadership, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education has taken the unprecedented step of seeking a grant from a private foundation to underwrite new ncate activities and shore up its financial base.

In his formal debut as president at the council's fall conference here last week, Arthur E. Wise disclosed that he had presented a $1-million funding proposal to an unidentified "major foundation." The proposed three-year grant, to be earmarked for an outreach program and other initiatives, would enhance ncate and help transform the group into a leader of teacher-education reform, Mr. Wise said.

He said the grant would be the first of many he hopes to attract.

Although Mr. Wise, who took over the helm of the accreditation group in July, intimated that he would recommend numerous changes in the organization in the months ahead, the grant proposal was the only topic on which he elaborated publicly.

Specifically, the foundation money would be used to establish a roundtable of leading business figures to help them understand and address teacher-education issues. The outreach program would also attempt to form closer working relationships between ncate and groups outside its traditional circle, such as the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, the Holmes Group network of universities, and foundations.

To share ncate's mission with an even broader audience, Mr. Wise's proposal also calls for an information and public-relations initiative that would include the hiring of an information director, the upgrading of the council's newsletter, and the redesigning of its annual report.

Accreditation decisions "are really only as potent as people perceive them to be," Mr. Wise, a former rand Corporation researcher, said in explaining the need for a broad outreach campaign.

The grant would also help finance the development of standards to be used in the accreditation of advanced-studies programs in education, he said.

Seeking outside funding sources is one of several measures the group is considering to bolster its financial situation, strained in part by the embezzlement of more than $100,000 by a former bookkeeper.

"Ncate has been living beyond its financial means," Mr. Wise told the group members. "The very first priority is to make ncate fiscally sound." The new president, however, would not divulge budget numbers.

A committee chaired by Robert Chase, vice president of the National Education Association, has been formed to study restructuring ncate's membership dues and the fees paid by higher-education institutions seeking accreditation. At present, the n.e.a. and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education pay a major portion of the council's expenses.--kd

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