As 2015 comes to an end, we want to take a moment to reflect on what was a very active year for state policy makers and AACTE state chapters.
In 2015, state legislators proposed more than 150 bills related to educator preparation. Of these proposed bills, 18 were enacted into law. Some of the highlights of these new state laws are the creation of a new teacher leader endorsement in New Jersey; establishing the Teach Nevada Scholarship Program to incentivize students to pursue teaching degrees in Nevada; prohibiting video recording of classroom teachers in New Hampshire; and modifying teacher licensure standards in Delaware, Illinois, Maine, and Michigan.
On December 10, President Obama signed into law the latest reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—now titled the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
The long-overdue reauthorization is being heralded as the end of the heavy-handed No Child Left Behind era, returning much of the authority to states and local agencies to oversee PK-12 education. But like any law of such great scope, this one has plenty of contentious content, and education organizations are offering decidedly mixed reviews.
In its statement on the passage of ESSA, the Coalition for Teaching Quality (of which AACTE is a founding member) said, “While the Coalition appreciates ESSA’s efforts to strengthen the capacity of states and districts to improve teacher quality, the bill unfortunately reflects a significant step back for many of our nation’s neediest students by eliminating a meaningful minimum entry standard for teachers and the need for states and districts to correct ongoing inequities in access to high-quality teachers.”
On December 8, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) released its 2015 State Teacher Policy Yearbook, offering the council’s annual assessment of various state policies related to teacher quality. While the report’s focus and conclusions might not be surprising, they offer what might be a preview of what to expect from NCTQ’s upcoming 2016 Teacher Prep Review.
One of the areas of focus in the yearbook, for example, is “delivering well-prepared teachers.” NCTQ outlines 13 goal topics in this area and assigns a letter grade to each state. An overview chart (see below) summarizes the results.
December is always an interesting time, as people’s thoughts turn to wrapping presents, lighting candles, or marking the shortest day of the year.
In Washington, December also means wrapping up spending bills or meeting hard-and-fast deadlines, making room for extra time as needed. This process typically interjects wrangling, rancor, negotiation, and deal-cutting into the holiday hubbub.
Six months have passed since the 2015 Holmes Scholars Dissertation Retreat at Florida A&M University (FAMU). It was an honor and pleasure to work with my colleagues as we coordinated the last two retreats, and we owe special thanks to Carolyn Hopp and Sheila Moore for organizing the 2015 event. Now we’ve begun preparations for the third annual retreat—to be held May 27-28, 2016, this time at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.
Highlights of the 2015 event included a welcoming lunch and keynote address, breakout sessions to assist students at all phases of the dissertation process, and outstanding support provided by Holmes mentors, university faculty, and even many who were not affiliated with our network, such as writing coach Vernetta Williams.
AACTE will host its second annual Job and Information Fair during the 68th Annual Meeting at The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, NV. Promote your program or organization for just $150!
The event will be held Wednesday, February 24, 2016, 1:15 – 3:15 p.m. in the Conference Community Center and open to all Annual Meeting attendees.
Tables will be available in two areas:
- Job Fair – This option is for institutions and affiliates looking to advertise, and potentially interview, AACTE Annual Meeting attendees regarding positions available.
- Information Table – This option is for institutions and affiliates looking to market, promote, and exchange ideas and best practices from programs currently ongoing within their organization.
The events that recently took place at the University of Missouri are not isolated incidents. Sadly, they are only the most recent examples of a growing trend and reflect the injustices on campuses and in communities across the United States and worldwide. Rather than use this space to recapitulate these events, we instead consider how and why the field must be responsive to these injustices, how we should use these events to make decisions about instruction and about the culture we establish in our classrooms, and how we might use our scholarship to aid in the struggle for justice.
On one hand, acts of injustice seem incompatible with the culture of higher education—which is supposed to support rational thinking, human rights, and informed debate. Yet even at institutions of higher education, where most individuals consider themselves scholars, each of us carries with us experiences, prejudices, and perspectives that are not informed by scholarly work or debate. We cannot take the position that we are “above” the prejudices and stances which have long personal and sociological histories.
AACTE and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) are now accepting applications for the 2016 Holocaust Institute for Teacher Educators (HITE) in Washington, DC. Now entering its 9th year, the institute is open to any full-time faculty member specializing in secondary education in an AACTE member college or school of education. Favorable consideration will be given to those applying along with a colleague from the same institution but each colleague must complete an application.
Applicants selected to participate in the program will attend a weeklong workshop in June to be hosted by the USHMM in Washington, DC. Participants will receive extensive training on content and pedagogy of teaching the Holocaust/genocide and must agree to conduct a follow-up activity that employs the training they receive.
The editors of the Journal of Teacher Education (JTE) invite manuscripts for a special issue on preparation for teaching to changing standards (e.g., Common Core, Next Generation Science Standards, C3 Framework for Social Studies Standards). Manuscripts are due February 15, 2016.
The Common Core State Standards for mathematics and for English/language arts have been adopted by more than 40 states. Many states have either adopted or are considering the Next Generation Science Standards. The C3 Framework for Social Studies Standards was intended to provide guidance to states wishing to revise their standards.
The second annual Tennessee edTPA Conference was held November 12–13 at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville. Attendees from 13 Tennessee institutions, and one guest from North Carolina, collaborated to learn more about edTPA and develop new skills to share with faculty, staff, and candidates on their campuses.
The growing interest in edTPA across the state was evidenced by this year’s attendance, which grew by about 10% to 130 educators. The busy first-day agenda included a keynote presentation on the recently released edTPA Administrative Report, 13 breakout sessions, and lunch conversations among attendees with similar responsibilities. The second day was equally full, with local evaluation training facilitated by Cathy Zozakiewicz from the Stanford Center on Assessment, Learning, and Equity.