Teachers Column

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In recent weeks, Arthur E. Wise, president of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, has begun lobbying for what he calls "a truly national system of accreditation."

And he has promised that the education community will be hearing more about his proposal.

In a panel discussion this month during the Council of Chief State School Officers' annual meeting, Mr. Wise noted that both ncate and the states, which approve teacher-education programs, share the common goal of improving the professional preparation of teachers.

Other professions have drawn strength from uniting behind a common set of accreditation standards, he added.

"It is a matter of some wonder that we continue to operate two systems that drain your state offices and ours as well," he told the chiefs. "The potential for our working together is great."

Mr. Wise repeated his suggestion a few days later at a national forum held to discuss John I. Goodlad's new book on teacher education.

The new ncate standards are "highly compatible" with Mr. Goodlad's recommendations, Mr. Wise said, adding that accreditation and licensing play an important role in the reform of teacher education.

He said it was "extraordinarily necessary" to overhaul both systems concurrently if the nation is to create a system that indicates when individuals are ready to practice as teachers.

Teachers are more likely to remain in the profession if they believe they are making a difference and are receiving collegial support that enables them to grow, according to a new book published by Teachers College Press.

Personal fulfillment and professional involvement play far greater roles than do financial incentives in retaining dedicated individuals, says Careers in the Classroom: When Teaching is More Than a Job, by Sylvia Mei-Ling Yee.

A program executive at the San Francisco Foundation, Ms. Yee interviewed teachers in schools representing a range of socioeconomic groups in New York City and the San Francisco and Los Angeles suburbs.

Although the teachers she interviewed want to make a decent wage, she writes, they are motivated by intrinsic values. "They want to make a difference with kids," she says.

And, after the isolation of a classroom, they long for information and feedback from their colleagues.

Despite the secondary importance of money, Ms. Yee concludes that it is nevertheless essential to provide "a reasonable workload, time off to observe and exchange ideas with other teachers, and to take part in decisions that influence student learning."

--ab & kd

Vol. 10, Issue 13

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