The following letter was sent to Secretary Arne Duncan by Dean Lisa Vollendorf of the College of Humanities and the Arts at San Jose State University, in response to Duncan’s plan to rate colleges of education by the test scores of students taught by their graduates. Comments on this proposal will be accepted until January 2, 2015. Please send your to:



Dear Secretary Duncan:



As a committed educator who has devoted her life to public higher
education, I am dismayed by the onerous requirements put forth by this
proposal. At San Jose State University, which is part of the 23-campus
California State University system, we will find it fiscally impossible to
comply with so many requirements. In particular, it will cost us much more
than we can afford to track our graduates. Moreover, we are deeply troubled
by the connection between accreditation for teacher credentialing programs
and the test scores of those teachers’ students. The CSU is the largest
four-year public higher education system in the nation, and we are
committed to affordability and access. That commitment translates into
recruiting and training students who are in turn committed to working
throughout the community, including in low-income and under-served areas of
our K-12 system. By tying the test scores of those children to our
accreditation standing, the federal government is sending the message that
the only students we should be serving are those who are lucky enough to
live in privileged areas with a strong tradition of good schools. I am
proud to educate diverse students from all walks of life, and proud when
they go out into the diverse communities from which they hail to give back
and make society better. These new regulations will disincentive programs
and teachers from serving those communities. Please reconsider this overall
plan and think again about the adverse effects on those who most need
improved schools and those who prepare teachers to work in those
under-served communities. Public institutions will be so hard hit by these
regulations that we are concerned that we will no longer be able to afford
credentialing programs.



Lisa Vollendorf, PhD
Dean, College of Humanities and the Arts
San José State University