Last month, more than 150 educators and organizational leaders convened in Washington, DC, for a summit on strategies to recruit and retain a more diverse teaching workforce. Hosted by the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the “Grow Your Own: Teacher Diversity and Social Justice Summit” offered a series of presentations and panel discussions focused on efforts to recruit educators from local communities.
One panel focused on educator preparation programs and included faculty from several universities across the nation. They discussed the challenges and successes of their candidates and the particular approaches of successful grow-your-own (GYO) programs, from community-centered recruitment to unique financial incentives and other supports.
During the AACTE Washington Week, June 4-7, teacher educators, preservice teachers, and PK-12 school administrators united under the event theme “Diverse Perspectives, Deep Partnerships, One Profession.” The convening brought together attendees from across the nation to discuss important education policies and advocate for educator preparation with members of Congress and their staff.
Earlier this spring, I had the privilege of attending an event at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, for the release of results from last year’s National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in music and visual arts (Nation’s Report Card – 2016 Arts). Speakers from around the country discussed results from the assessment, shared videos from various programs that incorporate art into academic study, and led a question and answer session on topics such as art’s impact on their students, skills teachers use to integrate art in other subjects, and community involvement.
The program opened with a video overview of the arts assessment, which is founded on the belief that the arts are essential to every child’s complete development, fostering growth and creativity, providing a strong foundation for a holistic education, and equipping students to navigate through work and life challenges. Overseen by the National Assessment Governing Board and based on an arts framework developed by a committee of artists, educators, and other experts, the NAEP Arts Assessment has been conducted just four times to date: in 1972 (music only) and 1975 (visual arts only), then together in 1997, 2008, and 2016. Rather than reporting on individual students’ performance, NAEP tracks performance by group – such as region, gender, race, and other categories.
As this spring’s graduates march across stages and celebrate their newly earned teaching licenses, 14 students in the College of Education at Rowan University (NJ) still have a few years of work before heading to their first teaching jobs. But as participants in Rowan’s Project Increasing Male Practitioners and Classroom Teachers (Project IMPACT), they are well on their way to not only graduating but also remedying the persistent shortage of male teachers of color.
Majoring in education fields from early childhood to music, math, science, and more, these young men from the South Jersey area receive an annual $4,000 scholarship, mentoring and study supports, and hands-on experiences in schools in exchange for their commitment to return as teachers for at least 3 years in high-need public schools. The program is designed to equip candidates with the skills and supports to persist in their high-attrition field while effectively enhancing student learning.
Last week, AACTE’s inaugural Quality Support Workshop drew dozens of faculty, administrators, assessment and accreditation coordinators, and other educators to Fort Worth, Texas, April 24-26 for interactive sessions and hands-on collaboration.
The event – the first in AACTE’s new series of regional workshops – opened Monday afternoon with a facilitated discussion of the topic “Quality Assurance in Education: What Should a Profession Expect?” AACTE’s Mark LaCelle-Peterson and Linda McKee led participants in considering what evidence they need to evaluate their students and programs, how they obtain this evidence, and how different measures combine to build a framework for quality assurance as well as continuous improvement.