Associate Director of Government Relations, AACTE
State and national policy trends around teaching credentials will be the focus of a major forum at AACTE’s 2014 Annual Meeting, “Maintaining the Value of the Teaching Credential: Challenges and Opportunities.”
The teaching credential is facing challenges at all levels. Several states have devalued the worth of the master’s degree as it relates to advanced certification, and others now award the same credential to new teachers regardless of whether they have completed their preparation. At the federal level, serious discussions are taking place as to what standard, if any, should exist to enter the teaching profession.
Several early childhood education bills were introduced recently in Congress.
A bipartisan bill, the Strong Start for America’s Children Act (H.R. 3461/S. 1697), was introduced November 13 in the House and Senate that would expand access to and quality of early learning programs for children. The bill was introduced in the Senate by Tom Harkin (D-IA), chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, and in the House by Representatives George Miller (D-CA), ranking member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, and Richard Hanna (R-NY). Hanna’s endorsement makes the bill bipartisan, although no Republicans in the Senate support the legislation.
In response to a recent solicitation from the U.S. Department of Education, AACTE will be submitting comments on a proposed data collection regarding “highly qualified teachers.” We also sent an action alert November 4 to members of our Grassroots Action Network, encouraging members to send their own comments as well.
In September 2012—more than a year ago—AACTE and the 90+ other members of the Coalition for Teaching Quality won a significant victory when Congress passed a law requiring the Department of Education to collect data regarding the number of teachers-in-training currently serving as teachers of record. Specifically, the Department of Education is required to submit a report to Congress on the extent to which students with disabilities, English learners, students in rural areas, and students from low-income families are taught by teachers-in-training. For more background on this issue, see this article from AACTE’s Advisor.
As you have surely heard, late Wednesday night lawmakers reached a deal to end the federal government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling. The shutdown lasted 16 days, and in the end Republicans agreed to a bill that looked almost identical to what they had rejected three weeks earlier: a debt-limit increase until February 7 and an extension of federal funding through January 15. The Republicans won only one minor victory—a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on the processes used for verifying the income of subsidy recipients under the newly established health-care exchanges.