Wednesday, December 22, 2004

and the scam goes on….

So here’s the latest installment on the literacy education standards saga…. I received the following email from the International Reading Association the other day—the subject line read, 'Preparing For NCATE Accreditation?':

Dear Michele Knobel,

Is Your Graduate Program in Reading/Literacy Preparing for NCATE/IRA Accreditation?

The International Reading Association is planning a one-day institute on writing a program report for NCATE accreditation at its Annual Convention in San Antonio on Sunday, May 1, 2005.

Registration for Institute No. 22 entitled "IRA and NCATE: A Partnership for Teacher Quality", is now open to only IRA members on our website.
Visit our website at for details. To register, you will need to click on the "Registration" link at the top of the web page and log in to your account at our secure online registration system with the following username and password combination.

Username: xxxxxxx
Password: xxxxxx

For nonmembers, general registration doesn't open until January, but if you'd like to guarantee your spot at the conference, please use the login information provided above and join IRA as a member today, and then add registration to your shopping cart.

NCATE has simplified the program report process for colleges and universities. A Web-based report template will be used by all Specialty Professional Associations (SPAs). Colleges and universities are required to show how their candidates have mastered the content knowledge in reading/literacy, how they conceptualize and plan their teaching, how they implement their plan with students, and what the effect is on student learning. Institutions are asked to identify 6-8 performance-based assessments that relate to the IRA standards.

This session answers the following sample questions and much more!
1) What are the components of a program report?
2) What is a rubric and how is it used to prepare a program report?
3) How much data need to be included?
4) Does IRA have sample assignments, assessments, and rubrics?

If you have additional questions, contact Gail Keating at

As someone who is ‘preparing for NCATE accreditation’ and who is keenly interested in obtaining sample assignments blah blah blah I dutifully logged on to see what the day-long program looked like etc. etc. (when will I ever learn?! Are there no limits to my naivete?!). It turns out that even for IRA members, ‘Institute No. 22” (number 22????) costs $125 for a day-long insider spiel on what it takes to pass NCATE inspection for literacy (i.e., reading) specialist degrees. Okay, now I’m no maths whiz, but lemme see… If a conservative estimate puts enrollment in the one-day ‘institute’ (gimme a break! ‘Institute’?!) at 200, that’s $25,000 into the IRA coffers (sans the consultancy fee for the folk running the ‘institute’). If this really is the 22nd one of these things IRA has run, that spells $$BIG BUCKS$$ whichever way you look at it. I really don’t get it. If the IRA is genuinely interested in the quality of literacy specialists produced by US universities, surely things like sample rubrics, assignments and whatnot would be free….. This whole NCATE accreditation thing is inevitable, but for those of us who would like to escape with at least some dignity and professionalism intact need to start a grassroots movement in order to circumvent the propriety rights the IRA seems to have claimed for itself—so, anyone interested in obtaining the rubrics and assignment descriptions etc. that we've put together here at Montclair State U., just send me an email and I’ll mail you a CD-ROM of what we’ve put together. Of course, what we've done is far from perfect, but it’s a place to start from nonetheless. AND our stuff is FREE!!

Sorry not to address the point head on but .....

Julie Andrews??????
Is she an expert in this area?
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