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Member Voices: Easy A’s Gets an F

Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education and is reposted with permission. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE. See also AACTE’s statement about the Easy A’s report.

The National Council on Teacher Quality, a Washington-based think tank, has issued a number of reports in recent years on teacher preparation around the country. Its flagship effort since 2013, the Teacher Prep Review, is an annual report released in June that rates programs on how well they are preparing new teachers. In order to keep its name in front of the media between those major annual releases, the council has issued a series of studies on other aspects of teacher preparation. The latest one, Easy A’s and What’s Behind Them, came out this week. As with the organization’s other studies, this one has fatal flaws that undermine most of the conclusions articulated in it.

Member Voices: School Reform Pushing Potential Teachers Away From Profession

Editor’s Note: In this opinion piece written for his local newspaper, Gonzalez provides his perspective on the enrollment decline in his state’s teacher preparation programs. This post originally appeared in the Indianapolis Star and is reposted with permission. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE. See also Sharon P. Robinson’s recent post calling national attention to the same topic.

I was pleased to see Tim Swarens’ Oct. 26 column making the point that education reform in Indiana needs a conversation not confrontation. That conversation should start with an honest assessment of the impact of reform efforts to date.

Over the last decade, teacher salaries in constant dollars in Indiana have decreased by more than 10%. Outpaced only by North Carolina, which experienced teacher salary decreases of 14%, Indiana had the second largest decrease in the country.

Innovative Use of Technology at Saint Leo: Tech Integration, Digital Backpacks

Jeffrey Carpenter is a member of AACTE’s Committee on Innovation and Technology, which selects winners for the Association’s Best Practice Award for the Innovative Use of Technology. This post highlights the work of a runner-up for the 2014 award, Saint Leo University (FL).

Last year’s submissions for the AACTE Best Practice Award for the Innovative Use of Technology included many outstanding entries that linked to the committee’s focus on technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK)-based approaches to teacher preparation. Although the committee was only able to recognize one institution with an award, it is our pleasure to share information about the effective, innovative practices described in another highly rated application.

Innovative Use of Technology at California State University: CalStateTEACH and iPads

Teresa K. DeBacker is a member of AACTE’s Committee on Innovation and Technology, which selects winners for the Association’s Best Practice Award for the Innovative Use of Technology. This post highlights the work of the 2014 award winner, CalStateTEACH.

In 2010, CalStateTEACH launched a one-to-one mobile learning initiative using iPads. Introduction of this mobile technology led to transformation of every aspect of the program, from the reconceptualization of curriculum and redefinition of candidate outcomes to the personalization of faculty development and creation of e-supervision tools. This transformation was described in the award-winning application for the 2014 AACTE Best Practice Award for the Innovative Use of Technology. The award recognizes outstanding initiatives that are based in the technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK) model of teacher knowledge.

Diez Reflects as Sun Sets on Alverno Tenure, Rises on SSSF

Alverno’s Mary Diez (right) with her SSSF vice presidents

It’s hard to believe, but it’s true: After 38 years, Mary Diez is leaving Alverno July 1.

Diez, professor and former dean of the School of Education at Alverno College (WI), was elected last month to a 4-year term as president of the School Sisters of St. Francis (SSSF), an international congregation with 850 sisters in the United States, Europe, India, and Latin America. This full-time commitment will take her to all of those places, although she plans to retain her campus residence at the college where she has lived for nearly 4 decades.

Taking her leadership skills off campus is hardly new for Diez, whether as a consultant in the Milwaukee community, member of standards boards, convener of assessment institutes, champion of dispositions work, or president of AACTE—among countless other roles she has held around the country and internationally. Despite having so much on her plate, Diez generously responded to my questions this week about her career to date and future plans.

Membership Committee Chair: Service Brings Broad Perspective on Profession

The Call for Nominations to serve on AACTE’s Board of Directors and standing committees is open at submit.aacte.org until May 9, 2014. One of the seven standing committees is the Committee on Membership Development and Capacity Building, focused on membership recruitment and retention, including the development of supporting programs and services. I asked the committee’s chair, Patricia Heydet-Kirsch, director of Assessment of Program Evaluation at Florida Atlantic University, to share why she was drawn to serve and what experiences she has gained.

What caused you to want to serve on AACTE’s Committee on Membership Development and Capacity Building?

I was interested in serving on AACTE’s Committee on Membership Development and Capacity Building to understand the broader perspective of AACTE’s impact.

A Role for Anthropology in Teacher Preparation

In addition to my work in educator preparation at the University of Florida, I am a member of the Anthropology Education Task Force (AETF) of the American Anthropological Association (AAA). Among other things, our task force is charged with examining the potential role of anthropology in teacher education programs to prepare teachers for working in culturally and linguistically diverse schools. We would greatly appreciate AACTE members’ input on this work, if you are able to take 15-20 minutes from your busy schedule to respond to our survey (see below).

As readers of this blog are aware, the rapid demographic changes sweeping across the United States bring increasing importance to ensuring that teachers are well prepared to teach culturally and linguistically diverse students. AAA is eager to partner with AACTE members in this endeavor, and to demonstrate that key anthropological concepts can play a significant role in helping teachers develop more effective strategies for addressing diverse students’ needs. For example, through its award-winning RACE Project exhibit (http://www.understandingrace.org/), AAA has enabled thousands of teachers and students across the country to deconstruct destructive myths surrounding racial differences. The web site provides numerous thought-provoking activities and curricular materials to engage students in more meaningful classroom dialogues about a topic that has long ruptured our social fabric.

Join AACTE’s New Group for Educators of English Learners

The author is a member of AACTE’s topical action group on Preparing Educators of English Learners. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

Are you interested in meeting other educators who address teaching English learners in their teacher preparation programs? Would you like to discover new ways your colleagues are preparing all candidates to support the success of these students? Come to the inaugural meeting of AACTE’s Preparing Educators of English Learners (PEEL) Topical Action Group to learn about joining our current projects—and help brainstorm future projects and opportunities for advocacy by our group.

A Call to Action: Education for Sustainability

The author is a member of AACTE’s topical action group on Education for Sustainability. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

Does your teacher preparation program include course content or field experiences related to education for sustainability? If you are a typical teacher educator in the United States, you probably answered either “No” or “I don’t know.” Sustainability may be the defining issue of our time, yet very few teacher preparation programs in this country address education for sustainability.

Teacher educators: this is a call to action. If your program does not currently include course content or field experiences related to education for sustainability, make it your personal mission during this coming year to change this situation! You’ll have two opportunities at the upcoming AACTE Annual Meeting to get started. First, join the Education for Sustainability Topical Action Group (TAG) for a reception Sunday, March 2, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. in the Lincoln Room of Indianapolis Marriott Downtown. Then on Monday, March 3, attend this TAG’s annual meeting to become directly involved.

Commentary: A Response to NCTQ’s Classroom Management Report

The authors are members of AACTE’s topical action group on Teacher Education as a Moral Community. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

A recent National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) report evaluates teacher preparation programs for their attention to an important element of preparation: classroom management. Unfortunately, the report’s few helpful suggestions get lost in the slough of misguided assumptions and questionable claims by the report’s authors.

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