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Radio Show Profiles Ky. Statewide Collaboration, New AACTE Leadership

Education Talk Radio host Larry Jacobs (center) shares a light moment with AACTE Board Chair Wanda Blanchett (Rutgers University, NJ) and President/CEO Lynn M. Gangone during their interview in March.

In a recent radio show recorded at AACTE’s 70th Annual Meeting, Education Talk Radio host Larry Jacobs interviewed several leaders in educator preparation about their work, including AACTE members from Kentucky as well as Board of Directors Chair Wanda Blanchett and President/CEO Lynn M. Gangone.

The first interview of the show focused on work in Kentucky to use technology and create a statewide system for sharing teacher preparation program data and accountability (as presented in a session elsewhere in the conference). The following guests joined the interview:

  • Margaret Moore, Director, Licensure and Certification, and Data Management Coordinator, Eastern Kentucky University
  • Gary Schroeder, Director of Student Services, University of Kentucky
  • Alesa Walker, Director, Office of Teacher Education Services, Murray State University
  • Manish Sharma, Director of Assessment, Teacher Preparation, and Human Development, University of Louisville
  • Tony Kirchner, Director, Educational Technology Center, Western Kentucky University

Since 2002, Moore said, the “K-I Tech Group” has been working to improve the quality of data on teacher preparation in the state using technology. The state’s institutions joined to address this need for meeting national accreditation expectations collaboratively rather than having to each tackle data collection at the institutional level.

Schroeder explained that although individual institutions have distinct missions and approaches, there are a lot of commonalities, including in the types of data collected on program impact – and it’s there that benchmarks and sharing are useful. “The question a lot of people have is: How good are our teachers? How good are the programs that prepare our teachers?” Schroeder said. “What kind of data would you need to give you some idea of how you’re doing?”

Sharma described the group’s effort to identify these common metrics and integrate information from the universities and state agencies for use by educators and the public (such as in the state report card on educator preparation and in a set of publicly available data dashboards).

Walker explained the state’s regulations governing teacher preparation, setting shared expectations from admissions to curriculum, clinical hours, and beyond. She said the state’s education system benefits from the partnerships among the universities and collaborative efforts such as the unified survey of program graduates, which brings transparency and informs continuous improvement.

Kirchner, who supports faculty at Western Kentucky in implementing technology to help them model use of similar hardware to that used in today’s schools, said it can be a “struggle to keep up with the technology that the school systems use. […] When they make a decision, we have to react.”

Moore ended the interview by saying how thankful they are for a series of AACTE State Chapter Support Grants that have enabled their collaboration over several years. “With the support of AACTE, we have been able to pay for travel expenses and other opportunities for a wide variety of faculty coming from all discipline areas to be able to participate,” she said. “That would not be possible in the budgetary constraints if we didn’t continually have that support.”

In the second interview segment, Jacobs spoke with Gangone and Blanchett regarding their backgrounds and plans for working together for the future of AACTE and educator preparation. The discussed the AACTE Holmes Program, of which Blanchett is an alumna Scholar, and goals for the Association for the coming year.

Blanchett named her top three priorities for the year as leadership for diversifying the profession; ensuring that curricula address critical issues of diversity, equity, and access; and advocating for banning assault weapons to ensure safety of students and educators in schools.

“There’s no doubt that we need to continue to pay attention to the diversity and inclusion in our teaching profession and among our teacher candidates,” Gangone agreed, adding that while we’ve done a lot to address these priorities, more action is needed. She cited key partnerships with other organizations that will support this work as well as work to promote and preserve the sanctity of the classroom.

To listen to these interviews, click here.

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Kristin McCabe

Editor, AACTE

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