To the Editor:
You would not know from the article “Teacher-Hopeful Runs Afoul of ‘Dispositions’” (Feb. 1, 2006) that there are two federally recognized accreditors of teacher education programs in the United States, and that the one cited in the article, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, is not the one with which Le Moyne College is affiliated.
Le Moyne, along with over 100 other institutions nationwide, is currently a candidate for accreditation from the Teacher Education Accreditation Council. TEAC, in contrast to NCATE, does not rely on a program’s assessment of “dispositions,” which have become a recent point of national contention. It does, however, require evidence that a teacher education program’s graduates can teach all the students in their classes effectively and caringly.
There is rock-solid evidence that teachers’ expectations, particularly low expectations, are a contributing factor in the performance of the nation’s schools. While a teacher’s private beliefs and dispositions are solely that teacher’s business, the teacher’s behavior in the classroom that may flow from those expectations is the public’s concern and the proper subject of accreditation.
The effort to directly assess dispositions, misguided as it may be, is at its core an effort to ensure that the nation’s teachers do their best for each and every student, and not give up on students on account of their race, background, religion, heritage, wealth, parents, and so on. While TEAC goes about accreditation and the evaluation of its standards in a manner different from NCATE’s, the problem to be solved is the same for both accreditors.
Frank B. Murray
Teacher Education Accreditation Council
The writer is also a professor of educational psychology at the University of Delaware school of education in Newark, Del.
A version of this article appeared in the February 22, 2006 edition of Education Week as Another Accreditor’s View On Teacher ‘Dispositions’