Congressional briefing panelists (L–R) Jane Bray, Jennifer Robinson, Mario Santos, Lisa Fischman, Danielle Riley, and Qualyn McIntyre. Photo courtesy of Megan Shearin, Old Dominion University.
A well-attended congressional briefing February 14 highlighted the positive impact of Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grants in schools around the country, aiming to inspire lawmakers and staff to continue supporting the program as they reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA) and determine appropriations for federal spending.
In a packed Senate hearing room, the Valentine’s Day briefing presented testimony about how TQP grants have catalyzed improvements to educator preparation programs as well as to the schools and communities they serve. Dean Jane Bray of Old Dominion University (VA) served as moderator for the panel discussion.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of AACTE, and we want to celebrate with you at the 2018 Annual Meeting! As we honor the past, present, and future of educator preparation in Baltimore, Maryland, several fun activities will be offered to engage attendees, including the AACTE History Trivia Contest. Come test your knowledge about the history of AACTE and have a chance to win one of three prizes!
In an online radio show February 12, Education Talk Radio host Larry Jacobs interviewed AACTE staff members about the upcoming AACTE 70th Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland. Rodrick Lucero (vice president) and Matthew Wales (senior director of meetings, events, and special projects) joined Jacobs to discuss preparations for the event, which marks the 70th anniversary of AACTE, and what to expect on site at the Baltimore Convention Center and Hilton Baltimore.
Jacobs opened with an overarching question about AACTE’s purpose, in honor of the Association’s 70th anniversary. Lucero said it boils down to uniting the field in a national narrative, pooling everyone’s research and practice and solutions so that progress anywhere can benefit students everywhere. He emphasized that this narrative must be “put forward by the experts, and those are the people that are trained and able to speak about the work we do with kids, and with training teachers.”
On February 12, President Trump released his Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) budget request to fund the federal government. Similar to the previous request, this plan cuts 29 education programs while carving out space and funds for new programs focusing on choice opportunities.
In a press release from the U.S. Department of Education, Secretary Betsy DeVos lauded the request for “expanding education freedom for America’s families while protecting vulnerable students.”
According to the Department’s fact sheet, the president’s education budget features six major themes:
- Providing better choices for more families to attend a high-quality school.
- Supporting high-quality special education services to children with disabilities.
- Creating new and alternative pathways to successful careers for students.
- Promoting innovation and reform around STEM education.
- Implementing school-based opioid abuse prevention strategies.
- Making the Department more efficient while limiting the Federal role in education.
Despite all the action in Washington, DC, this month, AACTE will not be offering a February Federal Update webinar – instead, please catch it live at the AACTE 70th Annual Meeting in Baltimore.
In fact, I am thrilled that this year you have two opportunities to catch my Washington Update: Thursday, March 1, 3:45–4:45 p.m., and Saturday, March 3, 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Congratulations to Ruby Ellis, Holmes Scholar of the Month for February!
Ellis is pursuing her doctorate at Auburn University (AL) and is committed to both equity and diversity in the classroom, which directly aligns with the mission of the Holmes Program. Her highest interest is serving individuals from underrepresented and underserved backgrounds in efforts to give them access to a higher quality of education. She believes that all students should have access to the best pedagogical practices in order to enhance learning.
The authors are organizers and moderators of the principal preparation webinar series for AACTE.
On February 21, AACTE will kick off the new interactive webinar series, “Leveraging Community Resources to Strengthen Clinical Practice for New Principals,” supported by The Wallace Foundation. These free webinars are designed to build on the Wallace Foundation’s 2016 report Improving University Principal Preparation Programs: Five Themes From the Field, which highlights the need for realistic clinical experiences in quality preparation programs.
Last month, the Oregon Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (OACTE) convened the second annual Oregon Education Summit, organized to unite as many stakeholder groups as possible around educator preparation and related topics. Held January 5 at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, just 15 miles from the State Capitol in Salem, the gathering attracted representatives from every OACTE member institution as well as community colleges, legislators, PK-12 district staff, the state Department of Education and licensing agency, and nongovernmental agencies.
The summit was borne of the desire by OACTE to both claim a seat at the state table and access first-hand information – while establishing the organization and its members as willing collaborators on all aspects of education in the state. The first summit, held a year ago, was a success that organizers were eager to build on in Year 2. “Our first step is always a proactive one. We begin by asking, ‘How can we help?’” said OACTE President Leif Gustavson, who is dean of the College of Education at Pacific University. “Then we tend to get invited to the table. We are not an obstructionist organization, and we need to not think of others that way either. The summit gives us all an opportunity to meet face to face and realize the potential of what we can accomplish collectively.”
The National Association of Community College Teacher Education Programs (NACCTEP) and AACTE are partnering in a new effort to better align their members around common work. In this pilot initiative, the organizations will explore and develop collaborative membership and governance structures, joint programming at the AACTE Annual Meeting, and other offerings.
Currently, 2-year colleges are eligible only for “affiliate” membership with AACTE, but a recent survey of AACTE members revealed an openness to incorporating community colleges more explicitly in the Association’s membership structure. About 800 community colleges nationwide offer some type of teacher preparation, including many programs that lead to bachelor’s degrees and licensure as well as others that prepare candidates to move on to 4-year institutions. Approximately 120 of these community colleges are members of NACCTEP.
One of AACTE’s most important goals is to support members in preparing educators for highly diverse schools. Teachers must work with students from different racial, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds, as well as students with varying abilities – and varying command of the English language. The notion that educators will only teach one type of student from one type of background is as antiquated as reruns of Leave It to Beaver. Thus, AACTE members are committed to ensuring that teacher candidates will be successful with all of their students.
Teachers, however, cannot do this alone. They need our help, and they need the help of policy makers and key stakeholders within their states, cities, and school districts.