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Addressing a Common Problem of Practice: Recruiting and Retaining Candidates for the Profession

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The March 1 Opening Keynote Session at the AACTE 70th Annual Meeting featured an interactive panel discussion on recruiting and retaining profession-ready candidates in teacher preparation programs as well as increasing the number of teacher candidates of color. AACTE President/CEO Lynn M. Gangone, who facilitated the discussion, was joined by special guests Marquita Grenot-Scheyer, assistant vice chancellor of Teacher Education and Public School Programs for the Chancellor’s Office of the California State University (CSU) System, and Kimberly Tobey, executive director of the National Association of Community College Teacher Education Programs (NACCTEP).

The conversation began with identifying ways for how teacher preparation programs are effectively implementing programs and practices that reaffirm strengthening and diversifying the teacher candidate pool. The panelists highlighted successful strategies such as developing community college partnerships, creating capacity for students to have ease of transfer, and providing support to assist first-generation college students and others to pass through required pathways to completion.

“Addressing the teacher shortage with a diverse teaching workforce is absolutely critical for students of color and low-income students because these shortages hit their schools the hardest,” Grenot-Scheyer said. “We have a multipronged strategy beginning in high school through the community college and have focused efforts that target undergraduates through the EduCorps program as well as programs for teacher assistants and career changers.” The EduCorps program is designed to significantly increase the number and diversity of students entering CSU’s teacher preparation programs, especially in high-need areas such as mathematics, science, special education, and bilingual education; and to provide ongoing, high-quality support to members on their path to earning their teaching credentials.

The panelists also discussed how clinical practice informs and moves the field forward pedagogically and how it helps teacher educators diversify enrollment in educator preparation programs. Tobey said clinical practice plays an important role in keeping students in their community. “We [can] start them early on through these partnerships to get them interested and vested in recognizing the profession for what it is,” she said. “For community colleges, we look at doing partnerships through clinical practice to be very essential for them to complete.”

Several participants from the audience, including first-time attendees, posed provocative questions to the panel ranging from how to combat the negative perception of teaching and ways to advocate for higher teacher pay to addressing potential barriers in teacher preparation programs that hinder recruitment.

Gangone concluded the discussion by calling on all teacher educators to act as one to diversify the field and continue to prepare high-quality teachers for the future. One audience participant emphasized the importance for everyone in education to recognize their individual responsibility to advocate for the profession. In her closing remarks Grenot-Scheyer echoed the sentiment: “We as a field must be vigilant and [raise our] voice on how our teachers and students are being treated.”

A recording of this session and other content from the 70th Annual Meeting will be posted shortly in the AACTE Learning Center.

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Jerrica Thurman

Director of Marketing & Communications, AACTE

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