AACTE Warned of Efforts to Harm Public Education

From: Education Week
Diane Ravitch, no friend of the current state of teacher education, got a standing ovation from an unlikely crowd last week: a roomful of deans and directors gathered here for the annual conference of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.In a speech titled “The Future of Teacher Education in a Hostile Environment,” the New York University professor and noted education historian spoke about what she sees as attempts to cast aside public education. “Today, we face a situation that can be described as a crisis,” Ms. Ravitch told many of the 2,600 conferees. “People in the past did not say public education needs to be dismantled, but today, there are critics who feel the public education system is obsolete.”Jack Jennings, the president of the Center on Education Policy, a Washington-based research and policy group, told the deans during a session on the NCLB law that the reauthorization will not be quiet. “It is going to be a ball, at times,” said Mr. Jennings, noting that organizations that were excluded the last time, such as the teachers’ unions, will ask for a voice this time around.At the gathering, the teacher-college association discussed an innovative idea for its members to consider in helping schools fight teacher shortages: training prospective teachers abroad and importing them to U.S. colleges, where they can receive their credentials to become fully certified in local schools.At a session on establishing a collaborative teacher education program between India and the United States, Om Pathak, who helped set up several public schools in India, said his country has the world’s largest English-speaking population, and a large number of postgraduates, especially in the fields of mathematics and science, who are trainable and deployable as teachers. Besides, he added, teacher-preparation costs are significantly lower in India than they are in the United States.Mwangaza Michael-Bandele, a senior director at AACTE who moderated the discussion, said association leaders are “excited about the collaboration” and are working on how best to make it happen.

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