Academic leaders in teacher education are currently faced with unprecedented policy pressures related to collecting, reporting, and acting on an intensifying array of program outcome measures. Moreover, many of the state and federal policies driving these pressures are saturated with paradox, attempting to address multiple and often contradictory goals. Perhaps the most fundamental of these is related to the essential tension between policy goals related to identifying and eliminating “low-performing programs,” and those related to “program improvement.” Coping with contradictory discourses and policies related to accountability, program improvement, and “data use” has become one of the facts of life experienced by virtually all contemporary teacher educators.
We have an opportunity to make our voices heard. Though the proposed federal regulations for teacher preparation programs were released for comment most inconveniently during the hurly burly of exams and the holidays, I was determined to find a festive, collegial way to engage the faculty and students at my institution in contributing our knowledge and experience by February 2.
AACTE’s challenge to generate 100,000 comments inspired me. There’s no guarantee that the U.S. Department of Education will listen, of course, but an onslaught of letters will hopefully grab their attention. The question for me: How to spur people to actually read and respond to the proposal.
On Friday, January 2, AACTE submitted formal comments to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regarding the burden and cost estimates that were provided in the proposed federal teacher preparation regulations. The extensive 38-page analysis echoes many of the concerns raised by AACTE members and colleague organizations.