A new nonprofit think tank led by Linda Darling-Hammond launched last week, aiming to inform education-related policies by sponsoring high-quality research on timely topics and making the findings easy to access and interpret. This Learning Policy Institute will target PK-12 policies at the federal, state, and local level and will both examine existing studies and conduct or sponsor new research to meet pressing needs for student learning.
In her Huffington Post article announcing the initiative, Darling-Hammond pledges to prioritize whatever works best for students over any partisan agenda. “We will follow the evidence wherever it leads, and will work with those of any political affiliation or point of view who share that commitment,” she writes.
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.
In a new series of short videos, superintendents of six large, urban school districts around the country share lessons for improving development of leaders for their districts’ schools. AACTE members working to prepare leaders for schools and districts may find the videos to be a useful resource for their candidates.
The series features the superintendents in Charlotte-Mecklenburg (NC), Denver (CO), Gwinnett County (GA), Hillsborough County (FL), New York (NY), and Prince George’s County (MD), which have been participating in the Wallace Foundation’s Principal Pipeline Initiative for several years. (AACTE is a communications partner for the initiative and, along with its members, is devoting new attention to principal preparation, beginning with a survey this fall.)
Congratulations to August Holmes Scholar of the Month Jessica Henry!
Henry is a doctoral candidate at Ohio University. Her research interests are mental health and rehabilitation.
Henry’s nominator had this to say about her: “A rehabilitation counselor by trade, it is Jessica’s life goal to improve the quality of life for everyone that she comes into contact with. Jessica epitomizes strength and resilience and leads by example.”
A new report calls on states to ensure more intentional preparation of educators to work with struggling learners, including students with disabilities, English language learners, and students with unidentified learning and behavior needs, to address persistent achievement gaps. The report, issued by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the University of Florida’s Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform (CEEDAR) Center, builds on a 2012 paper from CCSSO about policies to transform educator preparation generally—whose recommendations were supported by AACTE—and echoes messages of a recent policy brief developed by AACTE and the National Center for Learning Disabilities.
Last weekend, I was privileged to represent AACTE on a panel at the conference of the International Literacy Association (ILA). Our session, titled “Cultivating Literacy Achievement Through Quality Teacher Preparation,” touched on current program-improvement efforts, revision of the ILA standards for program recognition, variations in licensure requirements across the country, and policy-related challenges.
Joining me for the discussion were William Teale of the University of Illinois at Chicago, Rita Bean of the University of Pittsburgh (PA), Bryan Joffe of the School Superintendents Association, Chris Koch of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, and others.
Beginning this fall, AACTE will host a series of four free webinars on preparing effective principals through collaborations among higher education institutions and school districts.
The webinars will feature participants in the Wallace Foundation’s Principal Pipeline Initiative, a multiyear effort to strengthen the preparation and support of principals in six high-need urban districts: Prince George’s County (MD), Charlotte-Mecklenburg (NC), Denver (CO), New York City, Hillsborough County (FL), and Gwinnett County (GA).
The initiative, for which AACTE has served as a communications partner, builds on over a decade of research that identified four key parts of a pipeline to develop successful principals: rigorous job requirements, high-quality preparation, selective hiring, and on-the-job evaluation and support.
As a recipient of federal Teacher Quality Partnership grants over the past 6 years, Wichita State University (WSU) in Kansas has proven the value of investing in innovative educator preparation practices.
The Wichita Teacher Quality Partnership (WTQP) created extensive field-based learning experiences that prepare diverse and highly qualified teachers for urban school settings. Through the application of the professional development school (PDS) model in particular, the initiative fostered partnerships among the Wichita Public Schools (including 26 urban schools), The Opportunity Project (an early learning center), Head Start programs, local community colleges, and the College of Education at WSU.
A new ethics framework from the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) aims to guide PK-12 educators in their decision making—and assist their preparation programs in nurturing their ability to make ethical decisions. NASDTEC unveiled the Model Code of Ethics for Educators at a press conference June 25 in Washington, DC.
The code was developed over the past year in a joint effort with Educational Testing Service, the University of Phoenix, and the National Association of State Teachers of the Year. Once the draft was ready, a public comment period last winter provided feedback before the language was finalized. NASDTEC considers the result to be a fluid document that will continue to adjust to conditions in the field. Its board even created a new National Council for the Advancement of Educator Ethics to oversee modifications to the framework on an ongoing basis, and comments are still welcome on the document.
Congratulations to June Holmes Scholar of the Month Terrance McNeil!
McNeil is a doctoral student at Florida A&M University (FAMU). His research interests include education policy, education technology, distance learning, professional development, and charter schools.
McNeil’s nominator had this to say about him: “Terrance has maintained an unwavering standard of excellence in his academic endeavors and is always willing to assist his cohort members to ensure that we all excel in our classes.”