Have you tried walking around with just one eye open? It’s tough: Your field of vision is limited; your balance suffers; you lack depth perception. Our brains need a variety of signals to bring the world into focus—and of course, this holds true not only for eyesight, but for our comprehension of just about everything.
Educator preparation is no exception. To help us meet the demands of professional practice, we form partnerships that span varying perspectives. One-dimensional views issued from the academy are as unhelpful as those emanating from the state house. But we find meaning and make progress on the tough questions when we tackle them from many angles at once, embracing complexity as an element that is essential to moving forward.
AACTE’s upcoming Annual Meeting—a convening primarily for teacher educators—will bring in these key viewpoints with significant participation from the world of practice and beyond. Beginning with preconference events and running through sessions large and small, this conference will provoke new insights on problems of practice through multidimensional views.
The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.
Many people in the teaching profession are applauding the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which President Barack Obama signed into federal law in December. ESSA is not perfect, but what law or federal mandate is? The purpose of ESSA, in short, is to modernize and fix the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which turned into a broken system that, for more than a decade, did far more harm than good.
ESSA, to be sure, addresses some of NCLB’s biggest problems. The good news is that it allows for greater flexibility and opportunities for educator preparation programs to be creative and innovative in impacting PK-12 student learning with local districts and other partners. It also requires states to adopt challenging academic content standards and entrance requirements for credit-bearing course work in the state’s system of public higher education. These changes, among others, are long overdue.
On February 2, the U.S. Department of Education released guidance to chief state school officers on how No Child Left Behind (NCLB) funds in effect through the 2016-2017 school year may be used to “eliminate redundancy and ensure efficacy and quality of assessment.” You might recall that the Department released a Testing Action Plan in October 2015 to reduce the overtesting of our nation’s youth.
The guidance elaborates on what the Department views as principles for good assessments. The principles state that every assessment should be
- Worth taking
- High quality
- Time limited
- Fair, and supportive of fairness, in equity in educational opportunity
- Fully transparent to students and parents
- Just one of multiple measures
- Tied to improved learning
Ed Prep Matters is featuring “Stories of Impact” to showcase AACTE member institutions with educator preparation programs that are making a positive impact in their communities and beyond through innovative practices. We are committed to sharing members’ success stories and encourage you to do the same.
In one of the most impoverished neighborhoods of Portland, Oregon, a flourishing partnership between Concordia University and the PK-8 Faubion School has spawned ambitious plans for a new model of education to help disenfranchised students and the whole community.
Two new studies commissioned by the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) credit the collaborative professional learning of teachers in British Columbia, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Singapore with their students’ strong performance on international assessments. NCEE’s Center on International Education Benchmarking organized a half-day forum last month featuring panel discussions of these countries’ policies that support such systems—and what lessons the United States should draw from them.
Rather than treating professional development as an add-on program such as monthly workshops, the studies say, successful education systems embed it broadly. Teacher-led collaborative learning is deliberately planned into structures such as well-defined career ladders, mentorship programs, and schools’ daily schedules. Although some of these features can be found in U.S. districts, none is widely used or as robust as described in the reports, and panelists advocated for a stronger systems approach.
Over the past month, 35 state legislatures have convened for their 2016 legislative session—and it’s already been a productive year. Since January 1, nearly as many state bills related to educator preparation have been introduced as in all of 2015. In 2015, about 150 such bills were introduced; during January 2016, there were 133, introduced in 33 state legislatures. The states with the most bills proposed so far are New Jersey, Oklahoma, Iowa, Florida, and Michigan. Some of the common topics addressed in the bills include modifying teacher certification/licensure standards as related to teacher shortages and alternative routes to certification, investing in scholarships and loan forgiveness for teachers, and mandating training for teachers to support students with dyslexia as a requirement for licensure.
In addition, since the New Year, 34 state regulations have been proposed in 17 states related to educator preparation. The vast majority of the proposed state regulations relate to streamlining or clarifying teacher certification standards.
The AACTE Board of Directors subcommittee formed to engage in conversation with the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) has concluded surveying AACTE members regarding their perspectives related to CAEP, standards, and accreditation in general. Thanks to all who responded to our survey!
The survey, which invited feedback last fall, received responses from 176 respondents in 46 states. Members of the subcommittee met with AACTE President/CEO Sharon Robinson on January 21 to begin an initial review of the responses. This month, we will finalize our review of the data and present our findings and recommendations to the AACTE Board of Directors, which commissioned the work last spring. At this point, we can report that the standards that garnered the most desire for continued dialogue and attention were Standards 3 and 4. Following the February Board meeting, we will share more specific themes from the survey.
On January 12, the Council of Chief State School Officers announced the finalists for the 2016 National Teacher of the Year award. The finalists are state teachers of the year from Washington, Connecticut, California, and Oklahoma.
The editors of the Journal of Teacher Education are pleased to be organizing our annual major forum for AACTE’s 68th Annual Meeting. This year’s session, “Equity, Access, and the Digital Divide: Challenges for Teacher Education,” will be held Wednesday, February 24, 9:00-10:15 a.m. (Be sure to add it to your personal schedule in the Online Event Planner!)
Our goal is to bring together representatives of stakeholder institutions and organizations to discuss how AACTE members, working together, might effectively respond to the challenges teachers face in using technology to meet the needs of all students despite the inequities posed by the digital divide.
The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.
With the signing of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in December 2015, there was an intentional shift in power from the federal government to the states when compared with its predecessor, the No Child Left Behind Act. There is great value in having more autonomy and accountability at the state level, and in many ways California has been ahead of this curve in terms of a strong statewide approach that focuses on local control and multiple measures of effectiveness. Under the leadership of California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Chair Linda Darling-Hammond, the state has forged a new path around program quality and assessment, revising its policies and practices to focus on outcomes instead of inputs. In many ways, this shift anticipated what was put into law with ESSA.