Preparing Teachers for Diversity: An Analysis of Accreditation Standards




Azevedo, Paula Cristina Rocha

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Teachers across the United States face realities in their classrooms that many were not prepared to handle by their teacher education programs. For instance, teachers meet students who are from cultures other than their own, who speak languages other than English, who are slipping further below the poverty line, or who have different learning needs. There is growing consensus that the disconnection between schools, colleges, and departments of education (SCDEs) curricula on teaching diverse learners and the realities new teachers face are disconcerting; they have also reached a point of stagnation. It is further complicated by the policies of federal, state, and nongovernment agencies such as the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The purpose of this study was to understand how SCDEs interpret and implement NCATE standards by using Cochran-Smith's (2003) conceptual framework of multicultural teacher education. This study examined SCDEs rated as "target" by NCATE in the preparation of preservice teachers for diverse learners. Few studies have demonstrated how NCATE standards impacted the discourse and efforts by SCDEs to prepare preservice teachers for diversity. The findings reveal that teacher educators' reporting on diversity was limited to Standard 4 (diversity) and lack the coherence that Cochran-Smith defined in her multicultural teacher education framework. Understanding the limits of what teacher educators describe in regards to diversity in accrediting institutional reports has implications for teacher educators, researcher, SCDEs, accrediting organizations, and educational policy.



Teacher education, Education, Accreditation, Diversity, Multicultural Education, Teacher Education