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Deborah Koolbeck

Director of Government Relations

PK-12 Student Overtesting Acknowledged by U.S. Department of Education: Big Changes for Teacher Preparation Program Regulations?

On Saturday, October 24, the U.S. Department of Education released a fact sheet on the Department’s Testing Action Plan in recognition of the vast amount of testing our nation’s PK-12 students undergo. This plan was released concurrently with a report from the Council of Great City Schools that examines student testing via an inventory and preliminary analysis.

The proposed teacher preparation program regulations, still expected to be finalized in December, are included in the Department’s plan:

Update on Proposed Federal Regulations

Please join me for a free webinar next week for AACTE members to discuss these issues: Monday, October 26, at 11:00 a.m. EDT or Tuesday, October 27, at 5:00 p.m. EDT.

On September 16, the U.S. Department of Education transmitted its draft of its final rule (which is not publicly available) for the teacher preparation program regulations to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The next step in this process is that OMB will review the draft and work with the Department to craft the final rule. The final rule then will be released by OMB.

At this point in time, OMB will take meetings with stakeholders only on the proposal as drafted in December 2014. AACTE organized a group of 10-12 higher education and PK-12 national associations and met with OMB on October 7, 2015, to express our concerns as a profession with the proposed regulations, in particular focusing on the cost and burden of implementation.

Shifting Political Landscapes: Retirements & Resignations – What Do They Mean for Teacher Preparation?

The fall is ushering in more than a change in the weather in Washington this year. Multiple unpredicted changes in leadership have D.C. buzzing about what it all means.

  • U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) resigned from Congress as of October 30, 2015.
  • U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan resigned as of December 2015.
  • Chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce Rep. John Kline (R-MN) will not seek re-election next year.

Here They Come: Proposed Federal Regulations for Teacher Preparation Programs

The U.S. Department of Education is moving on finalizing the proposed federal regulations for all 25,000 teacher preparation programs across the country. Given some questions and misinformation I have received since the comment period closed, I want to clarify a key piece of information:

As drafted and released in December 2014, these proposed regulations would apply to each individual teacher preparation program at your institution regardless of whether you offer TEACH grants.

Recording, Slides Available From Webinar on Proposed Federal Regulations, Advocacy Roles

Did you miss AACTE’s recent webinar on the U.S. Department of Education’s proposed regulations for teacher preparation programs? Don’t worry: Members can find a recording of the webinar here along with the PowerPoint slides (updated based on questions from participants!).

If you have any questions about how you can engage in advocacy around the regulations or other matters, please contact me at dkoolbeck@aacte.org.

Webinars to Update Members on Proposed Federal Regulations, Advocacy Roles

The U.S. Department of Education has stated that the final regulations for teacher preparation programs will be released this fall. Please join me for an update at a free webinar at 11:00 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, August 12, or 4:30 p.m. EDT on Thursday, August 13. These webinars are for AACTE members only and are free of charge.

During the webinars, I will update you on the interplay of the proposed regulations with the recent work of Congress to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as well as the pending work to reauthorize the Higher Education Act.

AACTE Issues Statement on GAO Report on Department of Education’s Role in Teacher Preparation Program Accountability

Last week, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report examining the roles of both the states and the U.S. Department of Education in identifying low-performing teacher preparation programs as well as in information sharing amongst stakeholders. AACTE and some of its members participated in this study, which took over a year for GAO to complete. In response to the report, AACTE issued the following statement, which received press coverage by Politico’s subscription service. Please send questions to dkoolbeck@aacte.org.

(July 24, 2015, Washington, DC) — AACTE and its over 820 member institutions stand firmly behind the reforms and innovations that are currently under way in teacher preparation programs across this nation, and we welcome the opportunity to be held accountable for our work. We support identifying low-performing programs, giving them time and resources to improve, and closing those programs that do not accomplish the necessary reforms. Unfortunately, states and the U.S. Department of Education have faced challenges in complying with the law requiring them to identify such programs, according to a report released yesterday by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Senate Passes ESEA Reauthorization Bill – Now On to Conference

On July 16, the U.S. Senate passed S. 117, the Every Child Achieves Act, to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The bill passed by a vote of 81-17, with three Democrats and 14 Republicans voting against the measure.

While 178 amendments were filed, including Senator Michael Bennet’s (D-CO) GREAT Act, Senator Bennet did not offer the GREAT Act amendment to be considered by the full Senate. In total, 66 amendments passed and will be incorporated into the final version of the Senate bill.

House Completes Its Work on ESEA Reauthorization

On July 8, the U.S. House of Representatives completed its work on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). H.R. 5, the Student Success Act, passed by a vote of 218-213 (Roll Call vote no. 423).

While the final House bill with all agreed-to amendments has not yet been released, there are a few pieces that AACTE members will find of interest.

First, the Growing Education Achievement Training Academies for Teachers and Principals Act – the GREAT Act – is included in the House measure. The GREAT Act would not result in the systemic improvement of our nation’s teacher and principal preparation for several reasons. For one, the “training academies” it proposes are unlikely to involve higher education, which currently prepares 90% of all new teachers, and the bill would not require partnerships with PK-12 schools.

Education Appropriations Advance in U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate Committees

The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations completed its work on the Labor, Health & Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill June 24. In the full committee markup, Representative David Price (D-NC) offered an amendment to restore funding for the Teacher Quality Partnerships and other programs supporting teachers and administrators, but the amendment was defeated on a party-line vote. The bill does retain the policy rider prohibiting the promulgation or enforcement of the proposed teacher preparation program regulations.

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