Blogs > Cliopatria > A Well-Deserved Win for FIRE

Mar 1, 2006 2:58 am

A Well-Deserved Win for FIRE

Under pressure from FIRE and in the face of negative publicity, Washington State University has modified its"dispositions" requirement, which had been used to screen out prospective public school teachers on the basis of their (conservative or libertarian) opinions on selected political and social issues. The school introduced new evaluation forms that provide Ed professors with no opportunity to penalize an undergraduate based on the student's ideology.

WSU's action comes on the heels of a decision by the nation teacher accrediting agency, NCATE, to similarly modify its guidelines. (NCATE, too, was acting under pressure from FIRE.) Abandoning previous instructions for Ed schools to individually assess the"disposition" of each student to"promote social justice," NCATE now maintains that professors cannot use dispositions to evaluate a student's political or social beliefs, but merely a student's behavior.

Unlike WSU, my own institution, Brooklyn College, has made no public alteration in its widely condemned dispositions policy. Yet its chances of acting in defiance of NCATE's own guidance seem slim.

The affair provides another reminder of FIRE's importance to the academy.

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