Most reformers have demanded that education follow the pattern of all other professions and require completion of an accredited degree program before the license to practice is awarded. Acknowledging the pressure for greater accountability in higher education, early in the Obama administration the goal was set that all programs for educators be accredited.
Regrettably, less than half the nation’s programs that prepare professional educators for the schools are currently accredited. Those that are accredited are either located in the few states that mandate accreditation, in other states that encourage accreditation in their state program approval process, or seek the market advantage that comes from being able to advertise that their program is accredited while some competitors are not. Nearly all of them speak of the value of accreditation in terms of how much was learned and how it facilitated improvement of their program (see CHEA).
There are two national accreditors in education recognized by the Council of Higher Education (CHEA) and the United States Department of Education (USDE). Those that have selected TEAC are generally the independent liberal arts colleges, the flagship research universities, and those who prefer TEAC’s reliance on self-inquiry and continuous improvement.
TEAC offers an accreditation system that gives great weight to the evidence of student accomplishment the program relies on to prove that its graduates are competent. Programs attracted to TEAC’s approach are schools that think independently and arrive at novel and productive solutions to the advancement of teaching and knowledge. These schools and programs find TEAC’s audit approach to accreditation highly supportive as it helps them in the important work of developing an on-going, valid, and influential quality control system aimed at continuously improving teacher/leader preparation.
What everyone wants to see is some credible evidence that tomorrow’s teachers can teach at the high levels expected of them. A system of accreditation like TEAC’s is precisely about this evidence.