NCATE: Encouragement of Political Litmus Tests in Higher Education

Category: Freedom of Conscience

The NCATE, a leading accreditor of education schools, agreed to drop the vague and politically loaded recommendation that education students demonstrate a belief in “social justice” in order to graduate. The standards required that candidates in an education program “demonstrate the content, pedagogical, and professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to help all students learn.” The NCATE language to be changed currently states that “dispositions” are “guided by beliefs and attitudes related to values such as caring, fairness, honesty, responsibility, and social justice.” The standards essentially resulted in a political litmus test for teachers, as it was virtually impossible to evaluate a student’s commitment to “social justice” without evaluating his or her politics.