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Institute for Educational Inquiry
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Unpacking Postulate Twenty


postulate twenty
Those institutions and organizations that prepare the nation's teachers, authorize their right to teach, and employ them must fine-tune their individual and collaborative roles to support and sustain lifelong teaching careers characterized by professional growth, service, and satisfaction.


The nineteen postulates first published in 1990 (Teachers for Our Nation's Schools) and then slightly revised in 1994 (Educational Renewal: Better Teachers, Better Schools) imply about five dozen conditions necessary to robust teacher education programs. They imply also specific responsibilities for both individual institutions and agencies as well as necessary collaborations. While collaboration tends to reveal shortcomings in the functioning of individual agencies, it does not guarantee corrective action. Indeed, the satisfaction that often derives from collaborative effort sometimes obscures these shortcomings. Critical introspection is a necessary component of educational renewal.

The nineteen postulates were written with the simultaneous renewal of schooling and preservice teacher education in mind and with anticipation that such would later characterize schooling and in-service teaching and teacher education. It has become increasingly apparent that this is a dangerous assumption running counter to much prevailing practice. Although professors of education and the arts and sciences frequently are a presence in schools, they are most often there in pursuit of their own interests and not the advancement of common school-university purpose. Even when school-university partnerships for teacher education are quite well established, the induction experience of neophytes into teaching is commonly abrupt and the college or university from which they came is absent. Ironically, the various school-based or teacher-oriented agencies that impact the teaching experience are rarely joined in a common purpose of school and teacher renewal. Collaboration during the early induction period is still in the category of educational innovation.

The loss of teachers during the first three years after entry is now a matter of concerned attention. What is the responsibility of colleges and universities for their in-service teacher education graduates? If any, how is it to be funded? What are the implications of faculty participation for the reward structure? Is the nature and comprehensiveness of the teacher induction period to be left exclusively to the employing districts? What is the role of the union in ensuring teacher support services in the school district? What, if any, is the responsibility of colleges and universities in sustaining a continuing relationship with their teacher graduates in both pedagogy and subject-matter expertise?

The implications of Postulate Twenty with respect to necessary conditions for supporting and sustaining teachers are daunting—perhaps more daunting than the implications of any that precede, in that they encompass some new roles for institutions, agencies, and their personnel and not just improved performance in long-standing roles. The need is now recognized, however, and work toward implementation has begun.

Institute for Educational Inquiry
August 2000