Standards for Inclusive Teacher Preparation Programs

This document outlines eight standards for Inclusive Teacher Preparation Programs in an effort to produce quality inclusive schooling in NYS.

Logo for Task Force: Inclusive i with a face in it


Rationale for Standards

Standards for teacher preparation programs serve to guide our practice. They represent agreed-upon, valued stances with regard to teaching and teacher education. Standards help us reflect on our practice, what we value, what we teach and how we teach. They help us to systematically consider issues central to the improvement of education. The process of developing and interpreting standards plays a key role in teacher education and practice by serving to redirect, reform, and re-invigorate the field itself. Standards not only function to improve education programs available to prospective teachers but they also server to promote the advancement of the profession through asserting the importance of delivering quality education.

Definition of Inclusion

Even though inclusion has varies meanings for different individuals, practitioners, schools, and institutions, there is a core understanding of inclusion that can and should guide teacher preparation. For these standards we have defined inclusion as incorporating the following beliefs. Students with diverse backgrounds, capabilities and support requirements participate in general education settings as full members of the learning community. Necessary services and instructional assistance for the students and teacher are provided within the classroom. The general classroom teacher, in collaboration with support professionals, assumes responsibility and accountability for designing meaningful learning experience that maximize learner strengths and assure the success of all children in achieving curricular learning goals that meet high standards. (Dorrow, 1999)

Development of the Standards

These standards are a natural outgrowth of the work of the Higher Education Task Force which was started in 1996 as one component if the New York State Partnership for Statewide Systems Change 2000. The Higher Education Task Force focuses on the preparation needed for quality inclusive teaching and the challenges of moving institutions toward inclusive teacher preparation.

Over 70 institutions (originally 20 at the time of the creation of these standards) representing a range of schools, from small colleges to large universities, are members of the Task Force. Each member institution has agreed to support improvements of teacher preparation for quality inclusive schools.

Purpose of the Standards for Inclusive Teacher Preparation Programs

The following standards do not prescribe practice. Although the standards may be clear and precise, they allow for alternative ways of approaching practice. The design and delivery of inclusive teacher education programs is the purview of practitioners and institutions.

Standard 1: Strong Inclusive Framework

The program has a conceptual framework that contains a strong inclusive focus and allows for growth and change of values, knowledge, and practices.

Sample Indicators:

Standard 2: Inclusive Faculty Dedication

The program is served by a core group of full time faculty who are committed to inclusion and who work to deliver, sustain, and advance inclusive teacher education.

Sample Indicators:

Standard 3: Collaborative Practices

The program incorporates collaborative practices throughout such that collaboration is essential to program success.

Sample Indicators:

Standard 4: Inclusive Field Experiences

The study of inclusion and inclusive practices is integrated with field experiences.

Sample Indicators:

Standard 5: Continuing Research & Evaluation

The program reflects a continuing commitment to research and evaluation that reflect the changing world of knowledge and practice on inclusion in education and society.

Sample Indicators:

Standard 6: Institutional Support for Inclusion

There is strong institutional support for inclusion and the program.

Sample Indicators:

Standard 7: Program Promotes Broad Knowledge

The program helps students achieve a broad knowledge base with depth of understanding in disciplines appropriate to their teaching.

Sample Indicators:

Standard 8: Displays Values, Knowledge, Practice

The program prepares graduates who display values, use knowledge, and practice inclusively in four areas: children and youth, teaching and learning, collaborative relationships, and societal concerns.

Sample Indicators:

Standards Development Committee

Laura Dorow, ED. D.
Utica College of Syracuse University

Kathleen DaBoll-Lavoie, PH. D.
Nazareth College of Rochester

Lois Fisch, Ph. D.
Utica College of Syracuse University

Craig Hill, Ed. D.
Nazareth College of Rochester

Gerald Mager, Ph. D.
Syracuse University

Joan Black, Ed. D.
Marymount College

Nancy Dubetz, Ed. D.
Lehman College, CUNY

Merrily Miller, Ed. D.
Mount Saint Mary College

*the institutions listed represent where they worked at the time of the development of this document (July 2000)


At the time of the creation of these standards for inclusive teacher preparation programs, there were 19 institutions of Higher Education that participated in the development and use of the standards.  Today there are over 70.

Parents and practitioner members of the Task Force and representatives of the Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID) in the New York State Education Department also participated in the development of these Standards Created July 2000.