AACTE Issues Statement on GAO Report on Department of Education’s Role in Teacher Preparation Program Accountability
Last week, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report examining the roles of both the states and the U.S. Department of Education in identifying low-performing teacher preparation programs as well as in information sharing amongst stakeholders. AACTE and some of its members participated in this study, which took over a year for GAO to complete. In response to the report, AACTE issued the following statement, which received press coverage by Politico’s subscription service. Please send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(July 24, 2015, Washington, DC) — AACTE and its over 820 member institutions stand firmly behind the reforms and innovations that are currently under way in teacher preparation programs across this nation, and we welcome the opportunity to be held accountable for our work. We support identifying low-performing programs, giving them time and resources to improve, and closing those programs that do not accomplish the necessary reforms. Unfortunately, states and the U.S. Department of Education have faced challenges in complying with the law requiring them to identify such programs, according to a report released yesterday by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
On July 16, the U.S. Senate passed S. 117, the Every Child Achieves Act, to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The bill passed by a vote of 81-17, with three Democrats and 14 Republicans voting against the measure.
While 178 amendments were filed, including Senator Michael Bennet’s (D-CO) GREAT Act, Senator Bennet did not offer the GREAT Act amendment to be considered by the full Senate. In total, 66 amendments passed and will be incorporated into the final version of the Senate bill.
On July 8, the U.S. House of Representatives completed its work on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). H.R. 5, the Student Success Act, passed by a vote of 218-213 (Roll Call vote no. 423).
While the final House bill with all agreed-to amendments has not yet been released, there are a few pieces that AACTE members will find of interest.
First, the Growing Education Achievement Training Academies for Teachers and Principals Act – the GREAT Act – is included in the House measure. The GREAT Act would not result in the systemic improvement of our nation’s teacher and principal preparation for several reasons. For one, the “training academies” it proposes are unlikely to involve higher education, which currently prepares 90% of all new teachers, and the bill would not require partnerships with PK-12 schools.
The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations completed its work on the Labor, Health & Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill June 24. In the full committee markup, Representative David Price (D-NC) offered an amendment to restore funding for the Teacher Quality Partnerships and other programs supporting teachers and administrators, but the amendment was defeated on a party-line vote. The bill does retain the policy rider prohibiting the promulgation or enforcement of the proposed teacher preparation program regulations.
U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee Marks Up Bill for Education Appropriations – Includes Provision on Proposed Teacher Prep Regulations
The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health & Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies marked up its draft bill on Wednesday, June 17. The bill passed on party lines with a vote of 9-5, including both the chair and ranking member of the full committee. All amendments offered by the Democratic members of the subcommittee were voted down. The bill now moves to the full committee next week.
More than 100 teacher educators, students, and partners convened in Washington, DC, last week for AACTE’s Day on the Hill, bringing the voice of the profession to members of Congress. The event was held June 10-11 as part of AACTE’s Washington Week.
Day on the Hill began with a half-day orientation that explored participants’ role in advocating and advancing the profession. To prepare attendees for engaging with members of Congress and their staff, the afternoon started with an update on education-related activity on Capitol Hill from Deborah Koolbeck, AACTE’s director of government relations. Koolbeck also reviewed talking points provided by AACTE and discussed strategies for choosing the most effective talking points to use in various meetings with policy makers.
The U.S. Department of Education seeks applications for $60 million in First in the World (FITW) grants to support innovative approaches to boosting college attendance and completion among disadvantaged students. The 2015 grant competition, announced Friday and officially posted in today’s Federal Register, includes a $16 million set-aside for minority-serving institutions.
AACTE is grateful for your energy and efforts on submitting comments to the Federal Register about the U.S. Department of Education’s proposed federal regulations on teacher preparation programs. Now, it is time again to make your voice heard.
Congress is hard at work on reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and next up will be the Higher Education Act (HEA). Part of the HEA reauthorization conversations will be around the increasing amount of regulation on institutions of higher education, including the proposed regulations on teacher preparation programs. I urge you to ensure that your representative and your senators know where you stand on these proposed regulations. Adding your voice to this conversation will increase the likelihood that the decisions made by your representative and senators will support teacher preparation across the nation.
AACTE applauds the leadership of U.S. Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) on the unanimous, bipartisan passage of the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 (ECA). AACTE is pleased with the committee’s progress on the long overdue reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
The bill moves away from the "test and punish" strategy that evolved from the implementation of the current version of ESEA, known as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. While the bill retains the requirement for annual assessments disaggregated by subgroups, it leaves states, schools, teachers, and parents to determine what to do about the results of those assessments. AACTE believes students would benefit from stronger accountability for subgroup results, but overall, the bill makes important bipartisan progress toward fixing a broken law.
Are you thinking of applying for a federal “First in the World” (FITW) grant? Learn about the program during a free webinar with the U.S. Department of Education this Wednesday, April 15, 4:00-5:00 p.m. EDT.
The FITW program is run through the Department’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education office. Intended to spur collaborative innovation among institutions of higher education and partnering nonprofit organizations, FITW grants target improved educational outcomes, college affordability, and an evidence base of effective practices. The grants are funded at $60 million this year, including a $16 million set-aside for minority-serving institutions.