The NAS expressed its pleasure, today, with the announced decision of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) to drop the reference to "social justice" in its professional dispositions standard. The announcement was made by Dr. Arthur Wise, the president of NCATE, at a meeting of the Department of Education's National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, which was reviewing NCATE's petition for continuing recognition.
"The NAS has had a long-standing concern with the mischief inherent in the use of as ideologically fraught a term as 'social justice' in the assessment of students in teacher-training programs," said Steve Balch, NAS's president. "The concept is so variable in meaning as necessarily to subject students to the ideological caprices of instructors and programs. We are therefore most pleased that NCATE has responded to the efforts of the NAS, and other groups that brought this issue to the attention of the Department of Education, by eliminating its 'social justice' dispositions standard. We trust that NCATE will vigorously communicate this change to its member programs."
"Many teacher-training programs at public institutions continue to use 'social justice' in their student-evaluation protocols. These practices raise the same intellectual-freedom and First-Amendment issues as did NCATE's standard. The elimination of these programmatic political tests should be the next step," Dr. Balch concluded.