• AACTE 70th Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD

Author Archive

Zachary VanHouten

Manager of Programs and Advocacy, AACTE

ESEA Reauthorization Wins Mixed Praise

On December 10, President Obama signed into law the latest reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—now titled the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

The long-overdue reauthorization is being heralded as the end of the heavy-handed No Child Left Behind era, returning much of the authority to states and local agencies to oversee PK-12 education. But like any law of such great scope, this one has plenty of contentious content, and education organizations are offering decidedly mixed reviews.

In its statement on the passage of ESSA, the Coalition for Teaching Quality (of which AACTE is a founding member) said, “While the Coalition appreciates ESSA’s efforts to strengthen the capacity of states and districts to improve teacher quality, the bill unfortunately reflects a significant step back for many of our nation’s neediest students by eliminating a meaningful minimum entry standard for teachers and the need for states and districts to correct ongoing inequities in access to high-quality teachers.”

NCTQ Releases 2015 State Teacher Policy Yearbook

On December 8, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) released its 2015 State Teacher Policy Yearbook, offering the council’s annual assessment of various state policies related to teacher quality. While the report’s focus and conclusions might not be surprising, they offer what might be a preview of what to expect from NCTQ’s upcoming 2016 Teacher Prep Review.

One of the areas of focus in the yearbook, for example, is “delivering well-prepared teachers.” NCTQ outlines 13 goal topics in this area and assigns a letter grade to each state. An overview chart (see below) summarizes the results.

Apply Now for 2016 Holocaust Institute for Teacher Educators

AACTE and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) are now accepting applications for the 2016 Holocaust Institute for Teacher Educators (HITE) in Washington, DC. Now entering its 9th year, the institute is open to any full-time faculty member specializing in secondary education in an AACTE member college or school of education. Favorable consideration will be given to those applying along with a colleague from the same institution but each colleague must complete an application.

Applicants selected to participate in the program will attend a weeklong workshop in June to be hosted by the USHMM in Washington, DC. Participants will receive extensive training on content and pedagogy of teaching the Holocaust/genocide and must agree to conduct a follow-up activity that employs the training they receive.

Obama Administration Issues Executive Actions, Policy Recommendations for Accreditation

In new guidance released last month, the U.S. Department of Education issued five executive actions and outlined four policy recommendations for members of Congress to consider as they examine the accreditation process and begin weighing reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.

Although the guidance is motivated by concerns over institutional accreditors, AACTE will follow developments closely to monitor potential impact on programmatic accreditors, including the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

In the interest of strengthening oversight and transparency in accreditation, the Department plans to post copies of documents relating to accreditation for each institution, arranged by accreditor, in addition to data on “key student and institutional metrics”—to be drawn heavily from the Department’s College Score Card web site.

Need Support for Congressional Meetings on Teacher Prep Regs? We’ve Got You Covered

Last month, AACTE Director of Government Relations Deborah Koolbeck offered an update webinar on the proposed teacher preparation regulations, complete with tips and strategies for how best to discuss your concerns with congressional offices. As noted in the webinar, it is vital that the voice of teacher preparation—and most importantly, of your own programs—remain at the forefront of policy conversations on the proposed regulations.

As you continue meeting with your congressional offices, please feel free to consult the related resources AACTE has developed, all available in AACTE’s Resource Library (please note they are for members only, requiring login):

NCTQ Translates Review Into ‘Consumer Guide’ for Prospective Teachers

In an apparent attempt to expand its reach beyond that provided by the partnership with U.S. News & World Report, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) today unveiled a new interactive web site aimed at helping prospective teachers select a preparation program based on the ratings developed in NCTQ’s Teacher Prep Review.

The new web site, Path to Teach, translates the standards used in NCTQ’s Review into an at-a-glance scorecard for programs throughout the country.

NCTQ Solicits School Districts to Partner on Student Teaching Agreements

In its latest effort to debase educator preparation programs, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) is reaching out to PK-12 school districts to develop an “Honors Student Teaching” program in partnership with NCTQ. The effort seeks to replace existing student teaching commitments the districts may have with their local institutions of higher education (IHEs) over the course of 2-3 years. See this document for the details of the proposal.

A recent NPR story quoted NCTQ President Kate Walsh as saying, “It’s time for school districts to be much more insistent on what the qualifications are of teachers who enter and try to get a new job with them.” The new partnership proposal demonstrates that NCTQ intends to take charge of defining those qualifications. The proposal offers districts a set of complimentary services that include developing the knowledge and skills requirements for teacher candidate selection, as well as identifying local teacher preparation programs that would best meet the needs of the district—presumably using NCTQ’s Teacher Prep Review as a guide.

As Open-Records Requests Continue, NCTQ ‘Thrilled’ With Proposed Changes to State Laws

The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) continues its data collection efforts for the planned 2016 edition of its Teacher Prep Review. As part of this pursuit, NCTQ is once again utilizing state open-records requests for information from public institutions that have chosen not to comply with NCTQ’s information requests—and at least one state is considering a change to open-records law.

The subject of lawsuits from NCTQ in Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin, several institutions around the country asserted that course syllabi are the intellectual property of their faculty and therefore covered by copyright law – protecting them from NCTQ’s open-records requests.

Looking Ahead to 2016, NCTQ Continues Data Collection Efforts

The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) has re-engaged its data collection efforts in preparation for its 2016 Teacher Prep Review—scheduled for an October 2016 release. In an e-mail message to programs throughout the country, NCTQ has sent both an overview of the changes for the 2016 review and an itemized data request for each program, requesting that institutions notify NCTQ if they plan to comply with the request by April 20.

USED Offers Insight, Guidance on TQP Grants

Attendees of the 67th AACTE Annual Meeting in Atlanta were offered an opportunity to meet with a U.S. Department of Education official to discuss the Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grants and how they may explore applying for them in the future.

In a concurrent session presentation, Mia Howerton of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Innovation and Improvement provided attendees with an overview of the TQP grants and what the profile of a successful grantee applicant typically looks like. With the TQP program now in its third grant cycle, Howerton reviewed the successes and challenges of the program and shared its lessons with audience members.

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