To the Editor:
The recent article “Teacher-Prep Accreditation Group Seeks Traction” addresses the uncertain future of the new accreditor, the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation. While the article accurately touches on anumber of problems that CAEP labored over at its inception, including its continuing organizational challenges, the article fails to focus on what may be the most important reality that imperils CAEP’s effectiveness.
Many teacher-educators oppose efforts to enforce uniform, rigorous program standards to monitor the quality of their own and others’ programs. They prefer to keep accreditation voluntary, as it is in most states, and they often resist strong government regulation, arguing that both of these stifle innovation and candidate diversity.
As a result, too many weak or mediocre programs survive, with deleterious impact on the quality of the nation’s teaching force. Other professions have faced similar challenges, but they have been able to overcome their internal differences by agreeing on self-policing.
No accreditor, including CAEP, can fill a leadership vacuum at the core of its profession. Teacher-educators have primary responsibility to build a strong professional community that is committed to excellence throughout its enterprise.
James G. Cibulka
The letter writer was formerly the president of NCATE and the founding president of CAEP.