July 1, 2013, marked the de facto consolidation of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC), making the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) the new, sole specialized accreditor for educator preparation. (CAEP accreditation is specific to educator preparation and is different from regional accreditation. It is the educator preparation provider, specifically, that receives CAEP accreditation — not the larger organization or institution of higher education that may house the provider.)
Under de facto consolidation, NCATE and TEAC are subsidiaries of CAEP, maintaining their recognition by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) for the purpose of maintaining the accreditation of educator preparation providers until such time as said providers come up for accreditation under CAEP.
CAEP represents more than a coming together of two organizations. The design team that recommended to the respective boards the creation of CAEP as a unified accrediting body made clear its ambitions for CAEP as a change agent:
We wish to emphasize that we have not approached our task as merely unifying NCATE and TEAC with the least possible change to two accrediting systems that are already quite similar and effective. Rather, we have set a much more ambitious goal: to create a model unified accreditation system….
CAEP’s goals should be not only to raise the performance of candidates as practitioners in the nation’s P-12 schools, but also to raise the stature of the entire profession by raising the standards for the evidence the field relies on to support its claims of quality. (Design Team Report)
CAEP has member organizations of teachers, teacher educators, content specialists, and local and state policy makers, all committed to advancing excellence in educator preparation with the ultimate goal of strengthening P-12 student learning Together, these organizations represent more than 3 million individuals. The professional associations that comprise CAEP also provide financial support and participate in the development of standards, policies, and procedures.
A council of educators created to ensure and raise the quality of preparation for their profession, NCATE was founded in 1954 to accredit teacher certification programs at U.S. colleges and universities. Five national education groups were instrumental in the creation of NCATE:
- American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE, which formerly accredited teachers colleges),
- National Education Association (NEA),
- National School Boards Association (NSBA),
- National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC)
- Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).
TEAC was founded in 1997 as a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving academic degree programs for professional educators, those who will teach and lead in schools, pre-K through grade 12.
The TEAC accreditation process — which forms the basis for CAEP’s Inquiry Brief Accreditation Pathway — is built around the provider’s case that it prepares competent, caring, and qualified professional educators. The provider is required to have evidence to support its case, and the accreditation process examines and verifies the evidence.