Holmes Group Seeks To Add 80 New Members

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Washington--The Holmes group, a coalition of 39 education deans from some of the nation's leading universities, announced here last week that it would invite 80 other carefully selected institutions to join its efforts to upgrade teacher-training standards.

The group agreed that its membership for the time being should be limited to only one major research institution for every 25,000 classroom teachers within five geographic regions, but should also include at least one leading public university in each state, said Judith E. Lanier, dean of the college of education at Michigan State University in East Lansing and chairman of the group.

The membership guidelines provide that institutions with significant minority enrollments should be included as well, Ms. Lanier said.

"We are looking for a particular group of research universities that are preoccupied with the issue of how to go about informing and improving education practice," said Robert H. Koff, dean of the school of education at the State University of New York at Albany and a member of the group's steering committee. "Member institutions will have faculty who find it impossible to disentangle their research from their teaching," he said.

In addition, the group agreed that all institutions choosing to adopt the Holmes group standards will be expected to phase out typical undergraduate-degree programs in education, Mr. Koff said.

Last June, the group approved a preliminary set of standards that would require all prospective "career" teachers to major in an academic subject area rather than in education and complete a post-baccalaureate program leading to a master's degree and a provisional certificate.

But the question of whether4Holmes group members could continue to offer undergraduate degrees in education was not settled at that time, Mr. Koff said.

'Quality Indicators' Set

Over the next two months, those deans currently participating in the Holmes group will use a series of "quality indicators" to decide which other institutions should be included in the network. The academic leaders of those institutions will be invited to join the group sometime next January.

According to the group's leaders, those indicators include, but are not limited to, the following:

Institutions that are members in the American Association of Universities, a group of the most prestigious public and private research universities in North America.

Institutions with education programs known for the excellence of their research and instruction.

Institutions offering advanced graduate study in education.

Institutions with an established record of major investment in research and development activity.

Next July, the consortium's membership committee will announce the names of its new members. All members will then work to implement the Holmes group's reform platform by 1990, Ms. Lanier said.

Criticisms Voiced

The group's activities have met with some criticism recently.

Henrick D. Gideonse, dean of the college of education at the University of Cincinnati, in a recent letter to the membership of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, said the manner in which the Holmes group has proceeded has created "divisiveness" within the profession. (See Education Week, Oct. 30, 1985.)

Mr. Gideonse is a candidate for the presidency of aacte. Many in the Holmes group, according to one8member, viewed the letter as "a campaign ploy." It had nothing to do with the decision to increase the group's membership, the representative said.

In an interview last week, Mr. Gideonse, responding to the announcement that the group plans to broaden its membership to 120 institutions, questioned why such limits to membership should be set.

"I don't see any connection between the number they chose and what they hope to achieve," Mr. Gideonse said. "I agree with 95 percent of the proposals they have made. But the image they have created is one of exclusiveness, and I think that is unfortunate."

Robert L. Saunders, dean of the college of education at Memphis State University and the current president of aacte, said he was pleased to hear of the group's plan to increase its numbers. The move, he said, dispels earlier rumors that membership would be open to only a small number of institutions "that would attempt to speak for all of teacher education."

"Most of the deans I talk with," Mr. Saunders said, "agree with the goals and objectives of the Holmes group."

'Corps of Teachers'

The group was expected to endorse the concept of a "national service corps of teachers" during its meeting here, but no consensus was reached.

The proposal provides that talented college graduates with "modest" preparation in education and a desire to serve society would be able to teach for one to three years, provided they received teacher training during the summers and guidance from experienced career teachers thoughout the school year.

The Holmes group will release a final draft of its standards and proposals, "Goals for Educating Teachers as Professionals," in January.

Vol. 05, Issue 12

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