National Standards Set Benchmark for Performance of New FCS Teachers
Fox, Wanda S., Stewart, Daisy, Erickson, Patricia M., Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences
What should a beginning family and consumer sciences (FCS) teacher know and be able to do? The National Standards for Teachers of Family and Consumer Sciences (NSTFCS) provide a nationally recognized response to this question. States and institutions of higher education can build on the Standards as they determine expectations for teacher licensure and preparation. The Standards guide the development and implementation of university teacher education programs, which require the support of secondary teachers and FCS content specialists.
The NSTFCS are a set of core, essential standards that describe knowledge, skills, and attitudes expected of beginning FCS teachers. They provide a foundation for FCS teacher licensure and preparation, which are accomplished by individual states and institutions based on their more specific standards and requirements. These standards for teachers are separate from the earlier National Standards for Family and Consumer Sciences Education (National Association of State Administrators of Family and Consumer Sciences [NASAFACS], 1998), which are a curricular framework conceptualizing 16 FCS areas of study for middle and high school student learning.
The NSTFCS were approved by the National Association of Teacher Educators for Family and Consumer Sciences in December 2004, following an intensive 2-year development process. This process included sessions at the 2003 and 2004 AAFCS annual conferences, along with several other national conference sessions, surveys, and meetings. More than 300 FCS professionals representing various local, state, and national roles, professional organizations, and perspectives were involved. The result was a set of standards for which there is a high degree of national consensus. Promoting a futuristic approach to FCS teacher education and development, the NSTFCS were informed by earlier frameworks for FCS middle and high school education and standards for university teacher education (American Home Economics Association, 1974, 1989; American Vocational Association, 1994; Home Economics Teacher Educators, 1978; NASAFACS, 1998).
The NSTFCS exist in a complex national context of standards and accountability in education, including teacher education (Cochran-Smith, 2005). Early in the 1990s, work by the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium [INTASC] (1992, 1995), a program of the Council of Chief State School Officers, propelled a national movement away from teacher licensure based on specific college courses and credit hours toward performance-based standards, assessment, and licensure of beginning teachers. According to INTASC, standards for beginning teachers "articulate what entering teachers should know, be like, and be able to do in order to practice responsibly, and to begin the journey toward deepening expertise" (1995, p. 3). The No Child Left Behind legislation further emphasized teacher quality and accountability, aiming for a "highly qualified teacher" in every classroom who "knows what to teach, how to teach, and has command of the subject matter being taught" (U.S. Department of Education, 2002, Para. 2). Responsibility for licensing teachers who meet these expectations rests with individual states; most states have reciprocity agreements recognizing each others' teacher licenses (National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification, 2006). University teacher education programs in turn are responsible to prepare and assess teacher candidates who meet the standards for licensure in their particular state.
Teacher education programs are accredited by the respective state to which they recommend teacher candidates for licensure. In addition, programs usually are accredited by a national organization, such as the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC), or another accrediting body for teacher education. State and national accreditations typically include broad based expectations or standards related to professional education and developmental levels, in addition to those for specific content. …