Stanford School of Education Dean Deborah Stipek here responds to an article posted on the NAS website by Michele Kerr, a graduate of the education program.
Regarding the claims of a former student at the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP), the National Association of Scholars notified us that they were going to print the former student's assertions, and offered us the opportunity to respond. In the note to our office the NAS acknowledged that they had no way of verifying any of the claims made by the student but were going to publish the student's assertions regardless. This is very disappointing and does a tremendous disservice to STEP, its faculty, and frankly to the NAS, whose mission states a commitment to "intellectual integrity." As all parties involved in this matter, regardless of philosophy, should be aware, none of the scholars or administrators mentioned in the student's article should publicly comment on the details of her allegations in light of their legal and ethical obligations to maintain the confidentiality not just of her academic record, but also the confidentiality of all parties involved including partner schools, students at partner schools, and STEP students. However, as Dean of the School of Education at Stanford University, I can make the following general observations: first, 95% of STEP graduates are highly positive about their experience, and the student in question obviously falls in the remaining 5%. Second, the program has repeatedly received high praise from national and state accreditation agencies. Finally, without going into the specifics about the student's allegations, I can state without equivocation that we do not discipline students for having different or opposing viewpoints, nor for blogging about their educational experience or perspectives (so long as legally protected student information is not disclosed). I'm hopeful that your readers are able to distinguish between unverified assertions by an apparently disgruntled former student, and a reputation for excellence substantiated by hundreds of other graduates of STEP.