The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.
As practitioners in the field, we know that great things are happening every day in teacher preparation and school leadership. We are also keenly aware of some of the statistics revealed in the recent report of data collected by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. The results are disconcerting, and as Secretary John King articulated, reveal the necessity for continued attention to this issue.
Ed Prep Matters is pleased to bring you this special feature on state policy and AACTE state chapter activity. For a summary of the year prior to June, see this article.
Overview of State Policy Activity
In June, state policy activity slowed down to a crawl, as more than 30 state legislative sessions have adjourned for the year. Currently, only nine state legislatures are in their 2016 session, while three state legislatures are in a special session.
Nine education-related bills in four states–Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania–were introduced in June. These bills covered issues including offering loan forgiveness for educators employed in “failing schools,” expanding pathways into the teaching profession by modifying certification requirements for substitute teachers, and creating a tiered licensure structure for educators.
Are you interested in advocacy and inclusion in teacher preparation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) issues? How can teacher education better support family diversity and gender-diverse and transgender youth, as well as address gender stereotyping and bias-based bullying topics in teacher preparation? Please join me in forming a new AACTE topical action group (TAG) to address these questions together!
According to a recent update from the Human Rights Campaign, 201 anti-LGBT bills have been introduced in 34 states this year, which comprises 76% of legislatures in session this year. However, only 3% of the total measures have been enacted. In Kansas, for example, senators encouraged schools and universities to disregard federal Title IX guidance that protects against discrimination, including sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. North Carolina recently passed HB2, which denies transgender people use of bathrooms aligned with their gender identity. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch spoke recently on the issue of the U.S. Department of Justice suing North Carolina over the law:
Last week the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) released a new report offering the council’s assessment of how well teacher preparation programs are preparing preschool educators. Again relying on course descriptions and syllabi for its evidence, NCTQ paints a predictably bleak picture, saying the “review of these programs shows little evidence of quality training focused on the needs of the preschool classroom.”
For this report, NCTQ reviewed 100 programs in 29 states and chose not to identify which programs were included in the review. Accompanying the report is a set of resources that include policy recommendations for states and school districts, outlining what NCTQ calls “essentials for a great preschool teacher prep program,” and a guide for would-be teachers, outlining what NCTQ believes they should look for in a teacher prep program.
Last week the Coalition for Teaching Quality (CTQ) held a congressional briefing, “Strengthening Educator Recruitment, Development, and Support Through ESSA Implementation,” hosted by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Glenn Thompson (R-PA). At the briefing, CTQ released a series of new policy papers for supporting the educator pipeline and held a panel discussion that examined ways that the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) can support states and districts in improving the pipeline.
The briefing featured a former teacher residency student, Alexander Diaz from the Newark Montclair Urban Teacher Residency (NMUTR) Program, a federal Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grantee. Stressing the importance of the residency experience in the NMUTR program, Diaz said the program prepared him thoroughly, requiring students to apply their learning under the supervision of a master teacher.
New standards developed by Educators Rising to “define what high school students exploring teaching need to know and be able to do to take their first steps on the path to accomplished teaching” were released last week during a launch event at the National Education Association headquarters in Washington, DC.
Educators Rising, launched in August 2015 and powered by PDK International, sought feedback from a variety of community stakeholders before releasing the final standards that aim to embolden the “grow-your-own-teacher” movement emerging in communities and states throughout the country. The standards address understanding the profession, developing strategic relationships and content for students, planning and implementing instruction to meet students’ needs, and using assessments and reflection constructively.
I was honored to attend AACTE’s Clinical Practice Summit earlier this month, where the common theme was creating a unified profession to improve teacher preparation programs. It was wonderful to see so many passionate educators working to make improvements for future educators like me.
During the summit, I was able to sit in on the conversations of various groups and heard about roadblocks facing education policy. One that was mentioned repeatedly is the fact that many policy makers have no experience in education to inform policies that are truly helpful. There is also a persistent disconnect between higher education institutions and PK-12 schools. One participant noted that many principals still do not know what edTPA is, for example, making it hard to implement. This is just one of the many examples that show the necessity of better communicating and operating as a unified profession.
At its biannual meeting this month, the Board of Directors of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) adopted language to clarify and refine the academic achievement component required in Standard 3: Candidate Quality, Recruitment, and Selectivity. Other board action included approving revisions to the CAEP Standards for Advanced Programs, bylaw updates, budgetary work, and other business.
For Standard 3, Component 2—which addresses candidates’ academic achievement—the following actions were approved, according to a statement from the CAEP board:
Last month, the National Assessment Governing Board released its first-ever Nation’s Report Card for Technology and Engineering Literacy via a webcast from the Michigan Science Center. The event presented not only test results but also perspectives from educators and from a panel of students who had participated in the interactive, digital-based assessment, which was administered to more than 20,000 eighth-graders nationwide in 2014.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), commonly known as the “nation’s report card,” was developed in 1969 to measure how students in America compare with students of other countries in the areas of reading and math. Other subjects have been added over the years, and 2014 marked the first assessment targeting technology and engineering skills. The new test is also the first fully computer-based NAEP assessment.
The National Commission on Financing 21st Century Higher Education released a set of white papers earlier this month exploring aspects of the fiscal issues facing higher education. Designed to guide policy and funding decisions, these papers (and another six still in development) provide a revealing look at the state and national funding landscape for institutions.
The commission, a project of the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, has been working since 2014 on policy and funding recommendations for the United States to reach the goal of 60% of the labor workforce having a postsecondary degree or credential by 2025. Currently, the nation is not on target to meet this goal and faces numerous related challenges, from high school graduation rates and access to higher education to workforce underdevelopment. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, other nations are meeting or surpassing the United States in postsecondary degree and credentialing rates.