EMU not handing over docs

The National Council on Teacher Quality, an advocacy and policy group, listed Eastern Michigan University as one of the schools that has not handed over documents for a study regarding teacher preparation.

“Not cooperating: charging excessive fees” appeared next to EMU’s status on www.NCTQ.org, and stated EMU intends to charge $101.15 an hour to recover the non-profit group’s requested documents.

Arthur McKee is a managing director for NCTQ and oversees the teacher preparation studies.

“It is just puzzling why EMU is charging so much,” he said. “They told us initially that it would cost roughly $4,000 to retrieve the records we were requesting.”

McKee said to reduce the university’s workload, NCTQ changed the request to only include documents that pertained to the preparation of elementary teachers. EMU told the organization those records would cost around $2,000.

There have been several hundred institutions that already handed over the requested material, and McKee said the average cost has been $292 per school.

The NCTQ, based in Washington D.C., focuses on bringing
transparency to teacher-producing institutions. McKee added the emphasis of the study is to “strengthen teacher preparation.” The results are scheduled to be published in U.S. News and World Report in the spring of 2013.

There are 30 colleges from Michigan listed on NCTQ’s website. EMU is one of two colleges listed for not cooperating due to charging excessive fees; the other is the University of Michigan-Flint.

Other universities in the state, such as University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Central Michigan University and Western Michigan University, have turned over the requested data.

EMU student Veronica Berkemeier said there should be a more transparent approach when dealing with the release of EMU’s records.

“It seems suspicious,” she said. “A lot of questions can be brought up as to the reasons why they are charging so much. Maybe they are just a bit disorganized.”

Initial letters were sent to deans and university presidents in January 2011 announcing the review.

The NCTQ then wrote specifically to the deans of schools of education requesting data. If there was no response or the request was denied, the letters were followed with open records requests addressed to the deans.

The Eastern Echo could not reach Jann Joseph, dean of the College of Education, or Rich Nemith, College of Education coordinator of data management, for comment.

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