NCATE Denies Accreditation to 1 in 3 Schools in Fall

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Slightly more than one-third of the education schools up for accreditation this fall were rejected by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

Included is Radford University, a Virginia institution that has reduced its professional-training component to comply with state law.

The proportion of schools denied accreditation is in line with ncate's rate of rejection since the body began using tougher standards to judge programs two years ago.

"The major stumbling block still seems to be the design of the curriculum," said ncate's president, Arthur E. Wise. "This is where [schools] really have to develop a consensus among the faculty about what the goals of the teacher-education [pro4gram] are and mobilize the faculty around that vision."

Of 35 institutions reviewed, the unit-accreditation board issued 13 denials--two affecting a program at one level only--at its biannual meeting in September. The schools were given time to file appeals.

Under ncate policy, the identities of previously accredited schools appealing denials, as well as of schools failing in their first attempt at accreditation, were not disclosed. Seven schools were identified this month as not earning reaccreditation.

Radford failed to meet two of 36 ncate standards, in part because it was restructuring its program during the site visit, said Gary D. Ellerman, acting dean of the education college.

He said Radford, a state school, was also affected by a recent Virginia mandate that imposed an 18-hour8limit on teacher-training courses, excluding student teaching, and abolished the education major.

"We got caught between the two," he said. "I can't say it's all ncate's fault; I can't say it's the legislature's fault; we're not completely blameless." He said Radford has applied for a second review in spring 1992.

Ncate reaccredited the advanced training program at Fordham University in New York, but rejected its basic program. Conversely, the accrediting body approved the University of Southern Indiana's basic program and rejected its advanced one.

"We don't understand why we failed," said Max Weiner, dean of the graduate school of education at Fordham. He said ncate cited the failure of the school to provide a direct, substantial daylong student-teaching experience for 10 weeks. Yet, he said, all three of its models exceed the 10-week period, although students are not in the classroom all day long every day in two of them.

He said Fordham was exploring whether to try to meet the new standards, given its liberal-arts mission, or to leave ncate.

Thomas Pickering, education dean at the University of Southern Indiana, said his college was not surprised it had failed to meet all the standards in its advanced program, which first admitted students last year.

"I'm not sure that we agreed with the [entire] report," he said. "We do plan to address those items."

Others denied reaccreditation include Augusta College, Georgia; Central Washington University; Lock Haven University, Pennsylvania; and Nazareth College in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Vol. 10, Issue 13

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