• AACTE 70th Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD

Author Archive

Renée A. Middleton

Ohio University

One Size Does Not Fit All: What It Means to Serve All Learners

The evolution of a teacher candidate into a professional educator does not occur overnight. Rather, it is a slow, steady, empowering journey that unfolds over several years, with teacher candidates receiving support and encouragement from mentor teachers and university faculty alike. Through it all, teacher candidates learn just as many lessons as they teach, ideally with one overarching principle repeatedly impressed upon them: that they must serve all learners.

This is no small task, as today’s educators enter increasingly diverse schools. This diversity creates wonderful learning opportunities for all, but it also presents its fair share of challenges. Teachers will encounter students with disabilities. They will encounter students who are gifted and talented. They will encounter students from low-income families. They will encounter students from various racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds, as well as students who do not speak English as a first language.

Advancing High-Quality Learning Through Clinical Teacher Preparation

Since 2014, AACTE has featured the innovative work of several member institutions, including Ohio University in 2016, in its Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series highlighting clinical teacher preparation and partnerships. The video interviews in this series provide advice and examples for other schools of education looking to adopt a more clinically based model to advance high-quality learning. A commitment to high-quality learning is a core value of AACTE, both on members’ campuses and in PK-12 classrooms.

Teacher candidates, like everyone else, learn best when they take an active rather than passive role in their education, and clinical preparation empowers them to engage actively. In addition to building candidates’ professional skills and pedagogical content knowledge, many clinical experiences fully embed interns in the host school’s community and cocurricular activities. This practice helps develop confident, engaged teachers who are skilled advocates for effective teaching and learning in their communities.

Commentary: The U.S. Must Focus on Improving Teacher Retention

The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

As educators, we are responsible for preparing students for life after graduation. Thus, many of our debates focus on optimizing the student experience: things we should do – or not do – to create a well-rounded individual who is ready to take on his or her next challenge, whether it’s a job, college, or the sixth grade. Far too often, however, we focus entirely on the people who sit in classrooms and neglect the people who stand in front of them. Educational policies must make sense for students, yes, but they must make sense for teachers, too.

Exchange of Ideas, Not Brainwashing, a Hallmark of College Experience

The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

In certain circles, it is popular to view colleges and universities as the embodiment of an intolerant “education establishment” driven more by liberal ideology than by valued learning experiences. Particularly with the recent leadership transition in Washington, DC, espousers of this view have grown bolder in their accusations of brainwashing and progressive elitism in higher education. These claims are frustrating in that they betray a lack of familiarity with the mission of our institutions, but they are also dangerous: if used to erode public support for higher education, they will further impede access by those most in need.

While we welcome constructive criticism of our work, statements that delegitimize higher education are counterproductive and must be challenged. When officials suggest that professors are deviously indoctrinating students with a limited, biased, and distorted set of beliefs, such intimation is demeaning to faculty and students alike. And after 35 years in higher education, I can attest to the utter falseness of this assumption.

Commentary: Stand Up for Education Funding

The education budget released by the White House this week would have devastating consequences for public schools and millions of students nationwide. Standing up for these students by advocating for federal funding must be a critical focus for participants in AACTE’s Washington Week in June.

The president wants to cut $9.2 billion of funding for federal education initiatives such as college work-study programs and public-service loan forgiveness. Overall, his budget would cut, gut, or eliminate nearly two dozen programs, including after-school initiatives that help upwards of 1.6 million students, most of whom attend low-resource schools. In addition, this budget does not provide funding for mental-health services, anti-bullying efforts, physical education, or Advanced Placement courses—not to mention Teacher Quality Partnership grants or other key teacher-quality programs.

Lynn Gangone Named Next President and CEO of AACTE

Lynn Gangone
Dr. Lynn M. Gangone

As chair of the AACTE Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that effective June 1, the next president and CEO of AACTE will be Dr. Lynn M. Gangone. She was selected by unanimous decision of the Executive Search Committee following an extensive search process that involved the Board, staff, and our soon-to-retire President/CEO Sharon P. Robinson. Please join me in welcoming her to AACTE!

Gangone has exemplary strengths in four core areas important to AACTE:

Reflections on Professional Identity, Public Education, and Sharon Robinson

As we prepare to say goodbye to Sharon Robinson, it is important to recognize her contributions in more than a decade of service to AACTE. Leaders of the Board of Directors will be sharing tributes to Sharon’s vision and leadership over the next few weeks before her successor is named. Today, I am honored to offer my thoughts on where AACTE stands, thanks to her work, and the Association’s future role as a leading voice for educator preparation in America.

AACTE Board Approves Principles for National Accreditation in Educator Preparation

The AACTE Board of Directors this fall approved a revision of the AACTE Principles for National Accreditation in Educator Preparation, a document originally drafted in 2006 to state the Association’s aspirational views regarding national accreditation.

The revision was spearheaded by the Board’s subcommittee formed to engage with the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). The Board felt it was important to reaffirm our core values with respect to what we see as essential elements to any process of accreditation.

AACTE Subcommittee on CAEP Reports to Board

Last week, the AACTE Board of Directors subcommittee formed to engage with the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) reported back to the Board on its two primary charges. First, we shared results from our survey of AACTE members, and second, we offered guidelines and operating principles for the person selected to be the AACTE representative to the CAEP board.

Chris Koch, current president of CAEP, was in attendance at the meeting and listened to the survey results. He expressed appreciation for the engagement of the AACTE membership and said he planned to share the findings with the CAEP staff. He noted that a collaborative, mutually beneficial outcome is his goal for the information that was shared. His recognition of the efforts of the AACTE membership has set a tone for partnership as our organizations move forward.

ESSA: Hardly Perfect, But Progress to Build On

The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

Many people in the teaching profession are applauding the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which President Barack Obama signed into federal law in December. ESSA is not perfect, but what law or federal mandate is? The purpose of ESSA, in short, is to modernize and fix the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which turned into a broken system that, for more than a decade, did far more harm than good.

ESSA, to be sure, addresses some of NCLB’s biggest problems. The good news is that it allows for greater flexibility and opportunities for educator preparation programs to be creative and innovative in impacting PK-12 student learning with local districts and other partners. It also requires states to adopt challenging academic content standards and entrance requirements for credit-bearing course work in the state’s system of public higher education. These changes, among others, are long overdue.

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