Director of Policy, Programs, and Professional Issues, AACTE
AACTE applauds the Council of Chief State School Officers’ 2014 National Teacher of the Year Sean McComb, the three additional finalists, and the colleges of education that helped prepare all of them for their highly successful careers.
McComb, who is also the 2014 Maryland Teacher of the Year, teaches English at Patapsco High School & Center for the Arts in Baltimore. Additionally, he oversees the school’s Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) program. He completed his undergraduate and graduate preparation at the University of Pittsburgh, earning a bachelor’s degree English literature and master’s degree in English education.
Data literacy is not a new concept in education. Teachers and school leaders are constantly processing data—on student behavior, attendance, performance on assessments, district- and state-level data, etc.—and utilizing it to improve student and school outcomes. What is new, though, is the burgeoning amount of data now generated by district- and state-wide data systems, think tanks, research and policy organizations, and multiple other sources including schools themselves. The Data Quality Campaign (DQC) has been leading the push for equitable access to this information—and the push to develop educators who can filter out the “white noise” and home in on the data that are relevant to their classrooms and schools.
A major forum at AACTE’s 2014 Annual Meeting will feature efforts to redesign elementary preparation programs so that they are aligned with current PK-12 school expectations, provide deeper content engagement, and offer pedagogical practices with a greater impact.
Preparing elementary school teachers can be challenging, as they need to be well-versed in many subject areas and particularly attuned to the developmental needs of young learners. Indeed, many preparation programs have struggled to produce coherent curriculum to effectively prepare teacher candidates for the early grades.
As AACTE’s Mary Harrill-McClellan alerted members last week, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) released its latest critique of university-based teacher preparation today, Training Our Future Teachers: Classroom Management.
The report follows the standard NCTQ model of using a review of course materials from a small sample of programs to support the broad claim that the teacher preparation profession is not getting the job done.
AACTE issued a statement citing specific concerns with the report, including mainly that the report does not actually tell us whether programs are adequately preparing teacher candidates to manage classrooms. Other concerns noted in the statement are that the report contains no evidence to support the sweeping claims about “the field” of teacher preparation and that the assertions that edTPA does not focus on classroom management skills are incorrect.
On December 10, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) will release a report on how well educator preparation programs prepare teachers to effectively manage classrooms. The report will include an analysis of 122 programs, judging them based on what NCTQ has identified as the five most important classroom management strategies:
- “Rules: Establish and teach classroom rules to communicate expectations for behavior.
- Routines: Build structure and establish routines to help guide students in a wide variety of situations.
- Praise: Reinforce positive behavior, using praise and other means.
- Misbehavior: Consistently impose consequences for misbehavior.
- Engagement: Foster and maintain student engagement by teaching interesting lessons that include opportunities for active student participation.”
AACTE has no further information about the report at this time, but we’ll keep you posted as we learn more. Information on past NCTQ reviews is available here.
Over the summer, AACTE surveyed its members with principal preparation programs to better understand the characteristics of such programs and to identify areas in which members would like assistance. Program evaluation was one such area—which is not surprising, because evaluating preparation program quality is necessarily complex. It can be challenging to identify indicators of program quality, develop needed resources (including data and personnel), and navigate the political terrain that is often associated with program evaluation.
Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending a meeting of the Wallace Foundation’s Principal Pipeline Initiative. The foundation regularly convenes the initiative’s participants to provide time and space for them to assess their efforts to transform the way they recruit, prepare, and support principals and to plan for further work.
In early 2013, the Wallace Foundation awarded AACTE a grant to serve as one of its communications partners engaged in disseminating research about education leadership as well as the practices and research emerging from the foundation’s Principal Pipeline Initiative.