Group targets BU students for information

A lobbying group has been targeting Butler University’s College of Education students to obtain  the syllabi of courses.

The National Council on Teacher Quality has been reaching out to students in the college to offer them money in exchange for syllabi or other course information.

In some cases, representatives from the organization have shown up on campus and posed as students who missed class when the syllabus was first passed out, COE Dean Ena Shelley said.

“I’m very concerned that our students will feel victimized,” Shelley said. “No one should have to worry about being targeted on their own campus.”

The organization’s website states that the group “advocates for reforms in a broad range of teacher policies at the federal, state and local levels in order to increase the number of effective teachers.”

Shelley said the group’s view of reform does not align with the college’s mission and values and said the group’s reporting is misleading.

“They have a tendency to tell people things that serve the organization rather than the teachers or students,” Shelley said.

Last year, Shelley penned a letter  as the president-elect of the Indiana Association of Colleges for Teacher Education advising that universities and colleges not participate in the organization’s project.

The lobbying group has been under fire for not being transparent with its criteria.

Its findings are often used with the US News and World Report to grade and rank education programs at colleges and universities around the country.

Shelley said this is not the first time that she has warned students about the group, and she doesn’t expect it to be the last.

She said she hopes to educate students so the university’s reputation and students’ safety are priorities.

Shelley said one student has come forward to explain that information was given to the group.

As of now, the college passed along the message to prevent any further misinformation.

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