Ed. School Deans Rap 'Quick Fixes' for Teaching

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A group of 17 deans of elite education schools, who met at the Wingspread conference center in Wisconsin earlier this month to discuss how to improve standards in the teaching field, have warned against using "quick fixes" to boost quality or to alleviate shortages.

However, the deans postponed discussion of a major item on their agenda--a proposal to form a new association of education schools that would set higher accreditation and admissions standards than those now set by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. (See Education Week, Oct. 12, 1983.) Until now, ncate has dominated the standard-setting in the field, and some of those who organized the deans' meeting in Wisconsin said they felt the time for a new associ-ation might have come.

Robert Koff, dean of the education school at the State University of New York at Albany and one of the initiators of the Wingspread meeting, said that no new official association had been formed there and that the subject of accreditation was not discussed. A second meeting is planned for sometime next spring, he added.

The group condemned the practice of states' granting waivers to unqualified teachers to solve staff shortages, saying it was "inconsistent" for states to pass tough teacher-certification laws and then grant waivers to some who had not even graduated from college. "Such a practice merely panders to mediocrity," said Mr. Koff.

The deans also said they opposed short-term programs that claim to retrain teachers in a new subject in only a few months.

Such programs are commonly offered in mathematics and science, they said.

The deans said they endorsed the concepts of mentor and master teachers, merit pay, and a higher starting salary for teachers.

They also endorsed teacher-education courses that are "intellectually demanding" and agreed that many of the existing courses should be ''modified," said Mr. Koff.

The two other deans who joined Mr. Koff in initiating the Wisconsin conference were Judith E. Lanier, dean of Michigan State University's college of education, and John Palmer, dean of the University of Wisconsin's education school.--ha

Vol. 03, Issue 09

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