IMAC testifies before US Department of Education

On June 9, 2008, Lee Havis will testify for IMAC before the US Department of Education. His testimony will oppose the renewed recognition of the Montessori Accreditation Counsel for Teacher Education (MACTE) due the harmful nature of this recognition to the entire Montessori community.

He said, “This recognition will especially harm true natural Montessori teaching, because it will give prominent attention to the MACTE type of culture-based Montessori teaching, which is primarily represented by the American Montessori Society (AMS). The IMAC agency, which includes all types of Montessori teaching, is the logical choice for any official US government recognition. Unfortunately, the Department refused to recognize IMAC because they said there was ‘no need’. My written comments indicate that recognizing MACTE is unfair to IMAC, and there is no need for MACTE as well, especially in view of its harmful effects on non-AMS types of Montessori teaching.”

The IMAC statement also argues that the MACTE agency fails to comply with the USDE’s own criteria relating to qualifying institutions for federal funding and protection against conflict of interest in the decision-making process. Lee says, “There is no genuine need for MACTE recognition. MACTE’s real purpose in recognized status is not federal funding at all, but rather to leverage and control the preferential treatment of AMS-type Montessori teacher certification. For example, MACTE openly states that ’It is vitally important that each of the 50 states grant recognition of Montessori certification obtained from institutions and programs accredited by MACTE for Montessori classrooms’.”

If MACTE is successful with their campaign to gain control over Montessori certification, Lee says it would effectively censor out any competing alternatives to the AMS-type of conventional Montessori teaching, bringing about a virtual monopoly for this type of Montessori certification. Of course, this would stifle competition and innovation that is so important for progress, quality, and development in the field.”

The USDE will formally consider MACTE’s petition for renewed recognition renewal at its meeting in Washington, DC on June 9-10, 2008. IMAC plans to present oral testimony at that time. For further information, contact IMS; email havis@imsmontessori.org. You may also submit your own comments directly to USDE: The Hon. Margaret Spellings, Secretary, United States Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave. SW Washington, DC 20202