A Brief History of the Council for Social Foundations of Education*
Jan Armstrong, University of New Mexico
In the late 1970’s, concerns about the erosion of support for social foundations in higher education led to the formation of the Coordinating Council of Learned Societies, an informal coalition of seven professional organizations: the American Educational Studies Association (AESA), Comparative and International Education Society (CIES), History of Education Society (HES), John Dewey Society (JDS), Philosophy of Education Society (PES), Society for Educational Reconstruction (SER), and Society for Professors of Education (SPE). In 1980, the Coordinating Council became the Council of Learned Societies in Education (CLSE). That year, each of the Council’s member organizations formally endorsed the “Standards for Academic and Professional Instruction in Foundations of Education, Educational Studies, and Educational Policy Studies.” The Council brought together representatives from across the social foundations fields to disseminate, and later revise, these Standards (Council of Learned Societies in Education 1986, 1996). Eventually growing to represent twenty member organizations, in the late 1980’s, the CLSE secured membership in the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) as a specialist organization (Dottin, Jones, Simpson and Watras 2005). This affiliation was mutually beneficial for CLSE members and NCATE (ibid.). CLSE-appointed scholars (Joe DeVitis, Richard Pratte, Joan K. Smith, and Donald Warren), worked with NCATE as it revised its own standards for unit accreditation. As a result of the Council’s formal involvement with NCATE, a number of social foundations scholars became involved in national accreditation work. These individuals were appointed to NCATE’s Board of Examiners (BOE), participating in the unit accreditation process as members of site visit teams. For more than two decades, CLSE Leaders held positions on a key decision-making committee: the NCATE Unit Accreditation Board (UAB). Erskine S. Dottin represented CLSE on the NCATE Unit Accreditation Board (UAB) from 1998 to 2004. In 2000, after a two-year process of deliberation, the Council formally changed its name to the Council for Social Foundations of Education (CSFE). In 2004, for financial reasons, the Council ended formal membership in NCATE. The Council remains involved in national and state accreditation activities through the work of individual members and collaboration with the AESA Committee on Academic Standards and Accreditation (CASA). In 2006, a CSFE Steering Committee formed to discuss next steps, identify officers and develop a new vision for the Council.
*Detailed reports of the early years of the CLSE/CSFE appear in Educational Studies (Dottin, Jones, Simpson, and Watras 2005), and the introduction to the 1986 edition of the Standards for Academic and Professional Instruction in Foundations of Education, Educational Studies, and Educational Policy Studies.
Council of Learned Societies in Education. 1996. Standards for Academic and Professional Instruction in Foundations of Education, Educational Studies, and Educational Policy, 2nd ed. San Francisco: Caddo Gap Press.
________. 1993. Constitution. Unpublished Document.
________. 1986. Standards for Academic and Professional Instruction in Foundations of Education, Educational Studies, and Educational Policy. Ann Arbor, MI: Prakken.
Dottin, Erskine, Jones, Alan, Simpson, Douglas, and Joseph Watras. 2005. Representing the social foundations of education in NCATE: A chronicle of twenty-five years of effort. Educational Studies, 38 (3): 241-254.