I am writing this letter as a representative of the Michigan Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (MACTE) board of trustees. MACTE represents almost all of the 34 teacher education programs in Michigan. I wish to offer my services, and the services of other educators in Michigan, to assist you in solving the problems facing education in Michigan. Among our ranks are some of the most experienced and respected scholars in education and the most highly regarded teacher education programs in the country. Although my colleagues and I represent different institutions and diverse perspectives, we believe that many of the current educational reform proposals will harm education in this state. We would like the opportunity to share our understandings, concerns and research with you.
Michigan has a rich history in education of which it can be proud. It can be better, and together we can make reforms that will help us realize a brighter future for our citizens, schools and state. However, if we do not work together upholding the standards of truth, care and justice, we will see a continued erosion of our state’s well being. No individual, community or institution on its own can bring about the change needed. It is only as we work together for the welfare of all that we will see the positive growth for which we all long.
I am speaking on behalf of Michigan’s teacher educators who believe teaching is a noble profession and have dedicated their lives to this high calling. Like most other teachers I know, I chose to become a teacher because I wanted to give back to my community and to help young people become the best they could. I was motivated by a love of learning and a desire to serve humanity to the best of my ability. I have been privileged to teach at almost every level in several settings around the world and the United States over the last 40 years. In Michigan, I have held leadership positions in teacher education at public and private universities in urban and rural settings over 27 years.
As teacher educators, my colleagues and I have hundreds of years of teaching and teacher education experience. We are proud of our graduates and believe they are among the best prepared in the world. We are troubled that many of the reform policies for education and teacher education undermine the excellence and standards we have achieved.
We believe many of the perceptions and assumptions upon which these educational reform policies are made are faulty. We believe these reform proposals work against what their proponents claim to be supporting and that they subvert the best interests of our children. For instance, you call for increased knowledge, professional development, technology and clinical experiences for teachers while approving alternative certification routes and eliminating continuing education requirements for teachers, which work against these purposes.
Thank you for your time and consideration of this request. We look forward to collaborating with you in our combined efforts to serve the best interests of the children of Michigan. We helped build a world-class education system in Michigan. Let us work together in solving these problems.
Rodney H Clarken