To the Editor:
There is no question, as is pointed out in “Teacher-Prep Accreditation Group Seeks Traction,” that the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) had fundamentally different views and practices when they were founded; however, these were successfully bridged in the 2010 design-team report. The report was the blueprint for the new organization—the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation, or CAEP—which was formed by the merger of the other two groups.
The CAEP leadership saw the report as a provisional document, while the TEAC leadership saw it as a binding “constitution” for how the organization would operate. The design team, for example, published new common CAEP standards, in which they promised that any subsequent standards would be “fewer, clearer, and higher.” CAEP, of course, failed to deliver on the first two, and the jury is out on whether the 2013 CAEP standards are really “higher” than prior standards—meeting that goal depends on what evidence will be accepted to satisfy the standards and if that evidence increases the accuracy with which qualitycan be detected and affirmed.
Had CAEP followed the plan set out in the design-team report, it would have avoided all the problems described in the Education Week article. It would also have avoided the vote of no confidence by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and a congressional protest of a standard. I would argue that CAEP would also have been able to accomplish the following: the implementation of rigorous standards in language understood and accepted by everyone; recognition from the U.S. Department of Education and all CAEP’s state partnerships; retention of a mature and seasoned staff and substantial financial reserves; increased membership, owing to a genuine respect for programs; and the development of recognized scholars as volunteers with an intellectual capacity to advance the field.
CAEP, hopefully, may still accomplish all this, but would have done so sooner and surer if it had not abandoned its founding principles.
Frank B. Murray
H. Rodney Sharp Professor Emeritus
University of Delaware
The letter writer was the founding president of TEAC.