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Volume 68, Issue 70, Thursday, December 5, 2002


Edu. college meets tough national standards

By Paul Saleeba

The Daily Cougar

UHis College of Education is one of only two Texas universities producing nationally accredited teachers, a status it recently earned under a new, more rigorous standard.

'Only 10 institutions in the state of Texas try to get national accreditation, and we were one of two universities in the state to get national accreditation, said COE Dean Robert Wimpleberg, talking about the new National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education standard.

This accreditation is a mark of quality and resources for a school that can achieve it, Wimpleberg said. Forty schools in Texas are producing teachers, but only the ones coming from UH and Texas A&M University are able to teach in states other than Texas without getting licenses from those states.

NCATE accreditation makes the COE program more attractive to would-be teachers, Wimpleberg said, as they can take their skills to the best job markets and choose where they work from a wider variety of environments without having to invest more time in getting a license whenever they change states.

The accreditation process was a rigorous one, Wimpleberg said. 

'The whole program from top to bottom is scrutinized ... A team of six people comes to campus, (and) talks to everyone, he said. The examination covered overall student quality, faculty quality and studentsi passing rates, as well as the rate of improvement of the teaching program. 

'(NCATE) is the only national accrediting group authorized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit teacher education, Wimpleberg said. 'If you want that accreditation you need to have a strong program. ... Itis just a sign of quality.

The NCATE standards allow teachers trained at accredited schools to transfer their licenses across 30 states without further education requirements.

However, even with this mobility, UH supplies about 20 percent of the teachers in Texas, and about 70 percent of the Houston Independent School Districtis teaching force.

The COEis program boasts that 93 percent of its graduates find work in Texas public schools within the first year.

'The outcome is to prepare teachers, principals and school personnel to raise achievement in schools, and this is what this accreditation is all about, Wimpleberg said.

Teacher education, however, is usually oriented to create teachers in a community to serve that community. Unlike students going into other professions that have one or a few powerhouse schools, teachers usually go to a college in the region where they wish to teach.

Wimpleberg said he believes this accreditation, plus UHis push to become a top-tier research institution, will help garner further funds. He said the COE alone this year has secured $6 million in new grants.

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