We all know educator preparation is held accountable at the state level. That is why the ability to advocate and engage with your state elected official and agencies is such a consequential part of developing and preparing educators. For those interested in engaging with their elected officials, the question then becomes, where do I start and how can I build the strong relationships that are such a vital part of effective advocacy?
On March 14, the members of the AACTE Government Relations and Advocacy Committee hosted a webinar to address these and other important questions. The organizing theme of the webinar was identifying and constructing the building blocks of effective and productive engagement with legislators, their staff, and key regulators at the state level.
During the AACTE 2019 Annual Meeting in Louisville, Yolanda Carter, chair of the Kentucky Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (KACTE), met with me and AACTE Director of Marketing and Communications Jerrica Thurman to discuss a range of statewide education and teacher preparation issues. Carter shared with us how KACTE is working to further diversify the incoming teacher pool and the goals the state chapter plans to pursue in the months ahead.
What are the pressing challenges in education and teacher prep in Louisville and Kentucky?
One of the bigger things is how to get all teachers on board with teaching in a culturally responsive way. How do we get more diverse teachers into the field and reconfigure the programs to get more students engaged? In Kentucky, the Board of Education has been merged with the Kentucky Professional Standards Board. An umbrella office was created to oversee and pursue effective leadership strategies. This development creates an opportunity to look at regulations that impact K-12 schools regarding teaching certificates, counseling etc. KACTE is working with the board and other relevant educational entities in the state to figure out how best to work together for the benefit of students, teacher candidates and institutions of higher education.
In our ongoing quest to provide the most timely and useful informational resources to our members, AACTE has added two important new features to the State Policy Tracker page of the website. The State Legislatures Session Chart and StateNet Capitol Journal will help you stay informed about the latest developments in your state and around the country regarding education and education policy.
The Session Chart is an easy to read graphic guide to the legislative calendars of every state. The start and end dates of each legislature, the length of session and the amount of legislative activity in each state will help you maximize the timeliness and effectiveness of your political engagement.
The StateNet Capitol Journal is a 50-state roundup of a wide range of policy matters designed for every type of user. Whether you are interested in a bird’s eye view of education or other policy matter or a deep dive, the Capitol Journal can help you stay up-to-date on the latest state and national legislative and regulatory news.