Late yesterday afternoon, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan held a press conference to announce the release of proposed federal regulations for teacher preparation programs. While the regulations are not yet open for public comment through the Federal Register, the draft language is now available on the Department of Education’s web site.
AACTE has hired two new senior directors in the Department of Policy and Programs. Linda S. McKee is the Association’s senior director for performance measurement and assessment policy, and Rodrick S. Lucero will be senior director for member engagement and support.
“We are delighted to welcome Linda and Rod to AACTE,” said Mark LaCelle-Peterson, AACTE vice president for policy and programs. “Each of them brings extensive experience in education, from public schools and higher education to work with associations. They’ll add to our ability to respond to the needs of our members in an immense way.”
AACTE Members Leading Efforts to Develop and Rigorously Assess Teacher Candidates
In its latest effort to cast the nation’s schools of education in a negative light, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) today released a report claiming that vague, “criterion-deficient” assignments in educator preparation programs result in too many high grades among teacher candidates, compared with students in other majors at the same institutions. The report, Training Our Future Teachers: Easy A’s and What’s Behind Them, rests on the same meager evidence—mere document reviews—as NCTQ has used in past reports. One of its underlying tenets, however, is important, if not new: that teacher candidates and their readiness to practice must be developed and assessed fully and accurately, an area that is already the subject of intense focus and innovation led by the educator preparation community.
AACTE is thrilled that the U.S. Department of Education last week announced the awarding of a new round of Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grants, the federal government’s only investment in reforming teacher preparation. With grants totaling more than $35 million to 24 partnerships in the first year alone, these awards will assist to recruit, train, and support more than 11,000 educators in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.
AACTE is pleased by the administration’s recognition of the value of continued federal investment in higher education-based teacher preparation programs. Many AACTE member institutions have benefited from TQP funding since the program’s inception in 2009, and the new round of grants expands the reach to more institutions and their partner schools.
AACTE Members Addressing Key Concerns Through Rigorous Programs, Partnerships, and Policy Initiatives
AACTE member institutions across the country are leading rigorous and effective teacher preparation programs that echo the priorities of those surveyed in the 46th annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. The 2014 poll includes a special section released today on teacher preparation and evaluation.
The first report on the 2014 poll, released last month, showed that Americans are skeptical of federal policy influences on public schools and of the Common Core State Standards and standardized tests. The newly released second report delves into specific ways respondents think teacher quality and schools should be improved.
AACTE President/CEO Sharon P. Robinson announced Friday that Mark LaCelle-Peterson, senior vice president of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), will join AACTE’s staff as vice president for policy and programs July 1.
“We are delighted to welcome Mark to AACTE,” Robinson said. “He knows the work of our membership very well, and we are eager to bring his expertise to the Association’s programs.”
LaCelle-Peterson will provide strategic and operational leadership for AACTE’s Policy and Programs Department. The position is a member of the senior management team that is instrumental in developing and executing the overall strategic goals of the Association. Managing a team consisting of staff and consultants, LaCelle-Peterson will provide program and policy leadership and will develop high-level activities to showcase and support the work of the Association.
Yesterday, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) released its second annual Teacher Prep Review: A Review of the Nation’s Teacher Preparation Programs. Although parts of this report venture a conciliatory tone, as might be expected from NCTQ’s past reports, this review offers largely unhelpful recommendations that are based on questionable methodology.
Public Shaming—Over a Document Review
In an attempt to provide a consumer-friendly guide to teacher preparation programs, NCTQ has moved from rating institutions on a 4-star scale to ranking them numerically—a divisive tactic that mostly serves to pit institutions against one another. Notably, these rankings have as little to do with graduates’ readiness to teach as did last year’s star system.
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.
AACTE today announced the official launch of an initiative to support innovation in the professional community and speed the pace of change in university-based educator preparation. The Innovation Exchange will serve as a forum for AACTE members, partners, and other constituents to share experiences and findings as they work together to address the most urgent issues of student achievement, curriculum reform, and educator preparation program advancement.
Through this national initiative, AACTE will seek to strengthen educator preparation, demonstrate the necessity and effectiveness of educator preparation, and enhance members’ opportunities to collaborate on key issues.
AACTE, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and the Association of Teacher Educators (ATE) have announced a partnership to support teacher preparation programs in including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) issues in their curriculum.
Research suggests that positive, supportive, and inclusive classroom environments lead to better academic and psychosocial outcomes for students. While some teacher preparation programs incorporate LGBT-inclusive content and awareness into their curriculum, there has been no deliberate, comprehensive effort to expand the practice throughout the profession.