Manager, State Policy & Relations
In 2017, state policy makers – particularly state legislators and state education agencies – placed great emphasis on key policy levers affecting educator preparation.
AACTE’s State Policy Tracker, an online tool that is available free of charge to AACTE members, allows for real-time tracking of pertinent state legislation and regulations affecting educator preparation. (If you are not familiar with the State Policy Tracker, I invite you to watch an archived webinar here.) During 2017, this tool enabled us to track 285 bills, of which 43 were enacted, and 296 regulations, of which 193 were adopted.
Congratulations to the future members of AACTE’s Board of Directors! In a recent online election, AACTE members and state chapter leaders chose the following colleagues to serve on the Board beginning March 1, 2018:
Michael Maher, North Carolina State University
Advisory Council of State Representatives Chair-Elect
The annual election for the AACTE Board of Directors opens this week and runs through November 30. This year, just two seats are up for election, both representing the Teacher Education Council of State Colleges and Universities (although all AACTE Institutional and Chief Representatives are eligible to vote). In addition, the Advisory Council of State Representatives (ACSR) is holding elections this month for vacancies on its Executive Committee.
The slate of candidates for the AACTE Board of Directors is as follows:
A commission made up of college of education deans, state legislators, university presidents, heads of postsecondary systems, state and district superintendents, and leaders of nationwide organizations has released a report presenting recommendations for state policy related to teacher preparation data systems. This Teacher Preparation Commission of the Southern Regional Education Board, a nonprofit organization that works with states to improve public education and support state policy makers, is charged with developing and identifying state recommendations to improve teacher preparation programs.
More Than the Numbers – Teacher Preparation Data Systems: State Policy and Recommendations, the Commission’s first report, focuses on how to build strong statewide data systems for teacher preparation drawing on policy models in three states – Louisiana, North Carolina, and Tennessee. In Louisiana, the report acknowledges the work of the Board of Regents and the Louisiana Teacher Preparation Program Dashboard for promoting data in a more accessible and transparent way. In North Carolina, the report praises the University of North Carolina Educator Quality Dashboard. In Tennessee, the State Board of Education, Tennessee Department of Education, and Tennessee Higher Education Commission redesigned the state’s Teacher Preparation Report Card to provide an interactive tool for aspiring teachers. Other practices that the report praises are data systems’ ability to follow teachers through their careers, focus on outcome measures, break down data “silos,” and make data more accessible.
Today, the Education Commission of the States (ECS), a national organization of state education policy leaders, released a report that reviews state policies related to teacher license reciprocity. While states are facing educator pipeline challenges, the report finds that teacher licensure systems are intended to ensure educator quality, but have the potential of limiting cross-state mobility that could cause harm teacher attrition and retention.
The report explores teacher license reciprocity – in which a candidate who possesses an out-of-state license can earn a license in a new state based on state requirements. At the national level, the report references the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) Interstate Agreement, which collects agreements between NASDTEC member states to understand which licenses are transferable and what additional requirements might be needed. At the state level, the report finds that since last year, 11 states have enacted new laws or regulations that facilitate teacher license reciprocity. Two states – Arizona and Nevada – became full reciprocity states by enacting new laws that remove barriers for licensure. Two additional states – Oklahoma and Delaware – passed new laws that waive certain assessment requirements for out-of-state candidates.
This week, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) released Transforming Educator Preparation: Lessons Learned From Leading States, a playbook for how states can improve educator preparation based on the experience of the Network for Transforming Educator Preparation (NTEP).
States that participated in NTEP – a multiyear effort to identify policies that effectively support the preparation of profession-ready teachers – were California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Washington.
Last month, AACTE staff hosted an exhibit at the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) Legislative Summit in Boston, Massachusetts. We also invited leaders of the local AACTE state chapter, the Massachusetts Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (MACTE), to join us in the exhibit booth to share their work with attendees. Over 5,000 state legislators, state legislative staff, and trade association representatives attended the conference.
As I learned from last year’s NCSL Legislative Summit (see my takeaways here), state legislators are eager to receive input from teacher educators. One recurring theme from my conversations with state legislators this year was that they are unfamiliar with the major state policy levers pertaining to educator preparation – accreditation, licensure, and program approval. It was good for AACTE staff and MACTE leaders to interact with attendees from dozens of states, including many members of state legislatures’ education committees.
Seven state chapters of AACTE will share $50,000 in funding from the 2017 State Chapter Support Grant competition.
AACTE is pleased to support these state chapters as they develop new initiatives and projects focused on advocacy, program quality, and chapter development. For the 6th year, these grants will help strengthen AACTE’s relationship with our state chapters.
The AACTE Advisory Council of State Representatives (ACSR) seeks nominations by October 13 of state chapter leaders to run in an election for the ACSR Executive Committee. The positions open for election are the South Region representative, Midwest Region representative, and ACSR chair-elect, all to take office in March 2018.
Terms and Roles
On behalf of AACTE, I recently attended the annual National Forum on Education Policy of the Education Commission of the States (ECS), a national organization of state education policy leaders. The more than 550 attendees at the forum included governors, state education chiefs, chairs of state legislatures’ education committees, and higher education executives, many of whom were new to their position. In fact, one of my main takeaways from the conference was the high level of recent turnover in states’ positions for education decision makers – and the associated need for educators to maintain outreach efforts to connect with them.
Over the past 2 years, there has been drastic leadership change for state legislators, chief state school officers, and governors. In 2016, elections were held for 86 of the 98 partisan state legislative chambers and for 6 of the 13 elected chief state school officers. Furthermore, the average tenure of a chief state school officer is approximately 2½ years. In 2017, 36 states will hold elections for their governors, at least 16 of which must be new due to term limits.