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Zachary VanHouten

Manager of Programs and Advocacy, AACTE

December Federal Update Webinar Recording Now Available

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Did you miss last week’s Federal Update webinar? AACTE members can log in now to view the recording here.

An overcrowded agenda is staring down members of Congress as they prepare to leave for the winter recess. Items such as DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), tax reform, a budget deal, disaster relief, and CHIP (the Children’s Health Insurance Program) are items requiring policy makers’ attention before they leave Washington. In the midst of this activity, Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce introduced the “Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act,” which is the House Republican bill that would reauthorize the Higher Education Act.

NCTQ Releases Biannual Review of State Teacher Policy

NCTQ 2017 reportTo keep members informed, AACTE regularly monitors and reports on the activity of the National Council on Teacher Quality that could affect educator preparation programs. Visit our NCTQ resource page for additional information.

This week, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) released its biannual review of state policies related to teacher quality, providing a status report on what the organization considers effective policies governing how teachers are selected, prepared, evaluated, and retained.

According to the 2017 State Teacher Policy Yearbook, many states have room for improvement in these policies, and despite recent progress on several fronts, NCTQ reports, many have stalled in their efforts to improve key policies related to educator quality.

The yearbook recommends various areas of improvement for states to consider:


Sign Up for Member-Exclusive Federal Update Webinars in November, December

As the tax reform debate wages on in Congress, and as many other items linger on the agenda, there is much to accomplish in Washington by the year’s end. Many of the items will have an impact on the education community. Let AACTE help unpack and process some of the latest developments for you by joining our free, members-only November and December Federal Update webinars.

To accommodate busy end-of-year schedules and various time zones, AACTE offers each webinar at two different dates and times. Click on your preferred date/time below to register.

Briefing Spotlights Unmet Professional Development Needs of CTE Teachers

Panelists Ruth Neild (Director, Philadelphia Education Research Consortium), Jon Graft (Superintendent/CEO, Butler Tech, OH), and Carri Risner (Chef Instructor & Lead Teacher, Columbia Area Career Center, MO) participate in a Q & A session with moderator Elyse Eidman-Aadahl (Executive Director, National Writing Project) during a briefing October 26 in Washington, DC. Photo courtesy of ACTE.

A briefing hosted last week by the National Writing Project and the Association for Career & Technical Education (ACTE) highlighted some of the unique challenges facing career and technical education (CTE) teachers, calling attention to their need for better training and support as they enter the classroom.

Panelists at the briefing emphasized that many CTE teachers are career changers and lack the support and pedagogical preparation of a more traditionally trained educator. Describing the acclimation of these teachers to the classroom and the skills they need to acquire on the job as "drinking water from a fire hose," panelists called for targeted professional development to help career-changing CTE teachers bridge the gap between their technical knowledge and the academic and pedagogical skills they need to succeed as educators. The speakers also called on policy makers to invest in supports for CTE educators to help these programs ensure their students obtain the skills that meet the needs of a growing job market.

Federal Update Webinar Recording Available – Opportunity to Engage!

If you missed this week’s member-exclusive AACTE Federal Update webinar, the recording is now available to view in AACTE’s Advocacy Center (scroll down to the “Federal Update Webinars” box).

With so much on the congressional agenda, it is tricky, but crucial, for advocates to stay informed. The AACTE Federal Update webinar brings you up to speed on the latest developments. It’s also a great learning opportunity for other faculty at you institution – as well as your students! – so we encourage you to share the recording with them.

So Much to Do, So Little Time: Stay Informed With AACTE’s Federal Update Webinars

Education funding is at risk of devastating cuts if Congress cannot reach a budget deal that raises the caps on federal spending for Fiscal Year 2018. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) reform, tax reform, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) are all items vying for attention on an overcrowded congressional agenda.

With so many issues facing Congress, the need for the profession to stay informed is more important than ever. To keep up to date with all the latest information, please join AACTE for one of the October Federal Update webinars.

IES Study of Okla. Reaffirms Challenges of Recruiting, Retaining Rural Educators

A new study from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Regional Educational Laboratory Southwest has reaffirmed many of the challenges related to recruiting and retaining educators in rural areas. The report, Indicators of Successful Teacher Recruitment and Retention in Oklahoma Rural School Districts (download PDF here), examines data spanning a decade in Oklahoma districts, more than 70% of which are rural.

The analysis finds that two key influences on teacher retention are compensation and teachers’ level of responsibility at their school. Numerous other factors affecting retention are catalogued in the appendices of the report, organized into categories of teacher, district, and community-based variables. Educator preparation programs that collaborate with rural districts may want to review the study’s findings for insights that might be applied to their own local challenges.

U.S. Dept. of Education Issues Hurricane Flexibility Guidance

As part of continued efforts to provide relief for hurricane-affected regions, the U.S. Department of Education this week issued guidance to outline flexibility in reporting deadlines, grant-funded activities, continuity planning for disrupted programs, and fiscal management efforts. This guidance applies to state and local education agencies, Bureau of Indian Education-funded schools, postsecondary institutions, and other Department grantees.

Institutions affected by the recent hurricanes are highly encouraged to review the guidance, particularly if your program receives funding from a federal grant, receives federal student financial aid, or if you have other general questions regarding postsecondary education relief.

Comment by Oct. 2 on IES Requirements for Efficacy, Replication Studies

By October 2, the Institute for Education Sciences (IES) is seeking input from the field on its requirements related to efficacy, replication, and effectiveness studies.

The impetus of the feedback request follows recommendations provided from a technical working group that was assembled in October 2016. IES seeks to understand whether the current Goals 3 and 4 (out of its full list of five) are meeting the needs of the field or whether modifications would be beneficial to replication and effectiveness studies. Goal 3 addresses efficacy and replication studies, and Goal 4 supports independent evaluation of prior efficacy studies.

Webinar Highlights Resources for Educators in Hurricane-Affected Regions

The U.S. Department of Education (ED), along with relevant federal and state agencies, hosted a webinar last week to provide emergency-response resources to districts and schools serving hurricane-affected regions.

Officials on the webinar included representatives from ED, the National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and state education officials in Texas, Louisiana, and Florida. The webinar largely focused on the requirements in the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, which outlines the procedures for identifying homeless students and the resources schools must make available to homeless students.

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