The Education Commission of the States has brought together an influential group of national organizations to help improve the recruitment and retention of minority teachers.
Known as the Alliance of Leaders for Minority Teachers, the new coalition hopes to identify policies that limit the supply of minority educators and suggest strategies for change.
One of its first tasks will be to produce a book of suggested policy guidelines for state and local lawmakers interested in alleviating the minority-teacher shortage, said Barbara J. Holmes, director of the ecs's minority-teacher project.
The alliance also plans to study the data-gathering systems in four states in order to create a more effective model for evaluating policy decisions that affect teacher supply and demand.
In addition to the ecs, members include: the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the American Council on Education, the American Federation of Teachers, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, the National Association of State Boards of Education, and the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges.
The other participating groups are: the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, the National Center on Education and the Economy, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Education Association, the National Governors' Association, the National Urban League, the Southern Regional Education Board, State Higher Education Executive Officers, and the Western Interstate Compact for Higher Education.
A national organization representing 106 teacher-education institutions has called on states to create autonomous standards boards to license teachers.
The Association of Colleges and Schools of Education in State Universities and Land Grant Colleges and Affiliated Private Universities passed the resolution this month without dissent.
"Part of the very nature of a profession is that it manages and controls itself and sets its own standards," said Stephen Lilly, dean of the school of education at Washington State University and a member of the group.
The five-point resolution was based on the work of a three-member task force, formed 18 months ago.
According to the document, state-level standards boards should: be established by statute, be provided with an independent staff and budget, and have a membership that reflects the various components of the profession as well as the general public.--lo