• Get Involved


Taking Charge of Change in Teacher Education: Confronting the Problem of Coherence

“Teaching is a high-stakes practice—there is no more powerful position to hold than that of teaching,” said University of Missouri Kansas City Professor Etta Hollins at her November 2015 TeachingWorks streaming seminar series talk. What’s more, Professor Hollins described coherence as a series of opportunities to learn teaching, “like glue” that makes the opportunities to learn teaching work.

Hollins’ statements capture the commitments that inform the 2016 TeachingWorks/AACTE “Preparing Teachers for Practice” strand of the AACTE Annual Meeting, including a warrant to work together on the problems of change, improvement, and coherence in teacher education. This year’s strand confronts critical obstacles to change in teacher education. We ask boldly: Can we as the profession of teacher education stand up and take charge of change? What—if anything—would you argue should be common in teachers’ preparation across programs? Are there things that we can agree are crucial for any beginning teacher to be committed to and be able to do? Is there a way to reach some common professional ground in ways that are sensitive to contexts and respectful of difference? Is there a way to do this that does not silence or dominate diverse perspectives? What would you argue must vary, and why? Can such difference avoid exacerbating inequality?

ESSA: Hardly Perfect, But Progress to Build On

The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

Many people in the teaching profession are applauding the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which President Barack Obama signed into federal law in December. ESSA is not perfect, but what law or federal mandate is? The purpose of ESSA, in short, is to modernize and fix the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which turned into a broken system that, for more than a decade, did far more harm than good.

ESSA, to be sure, addresses some of NCLB’s biggest problems. The good news is that it allows for greater flexibility and opportunities for educator preparation programs to be creative and innovative in impacting PK-12 student learning with local districts and other partners. It also requires states to adopt challenging academic content standards and entrance requirements for credit-bearing course work in the state’s system of public higher education. These changes, among others, are long overdue.

ESSA’s Impact on California and Teacher Preparation: Opportunities for Collaboration

The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

With the signing of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in December 2015, there was an intentional shift in power from the federal government to the states when compared with its predecessor, the No Child Left Behind Act. There is great value in having more autonomy and accountability at the state level, and in many ways California has been ahead of this curve in terms of a strong statewide approach that focuses on local control and multiple measures of effectiveness. Under the leadership of California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Chair Linda Darling-Hammond, the state has forged a new path around program quality and assessment, revising its policies and practices to focus on outcomes instead of inputs. In many ways, this shift anticipated what was put into law with ESSA.

Member Voices: Bringing Teacher Educators to the ESSA Implementation Table

The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

In December 2015, I published an op-ed in the Washington Post in which I discussed my concerns with some of the teacher education provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). I focused my comments on a section within the law that gives states the authority to use some of their Title II funds to establish “teacher preparation academies.” These academies would, in my opinion, lower standards for preparing teachers and would also support a general downward spiral in standards beyond the academies that would weaken public education.

The academies provision is the most prescriptive option under Title II and could require states to change laws that would lower standards for teacher education programs. For example, if states choose to support teacher preparation academies, then they would not be allowed to place any “unnecessary restrictions on the methods of the academy” which includes requiring faculty to have advanced degrees or placing any restrictions on undergraduate or professional course work. While it is not certain that programs with lower standards would be funded under the academy provision, this option opens the door to that possibility.

Stories of Impact: Preparing STEM Teachers to Serve High-Need Schools in Georgia

Ed Prep Matters is featuring “Stories of Impact” to showcase AACTE member institutions with educator preparation programs that are making a positive impact in their communities and beyond through innovative practices. We are committed to sharing members’ success stories and encourage you to do the same.

It’s no secret that Georgia, like many states throughout our nation, struggles to recruit highly qualified teachers committed to serving students in high-need schools in urban and rural communities—especially in math, science, and special education. When you take into consideration the state’s explosive population growth over the last several years, one-third of new teachers leaving the profession within 3 to 5 years, and a large number of retiring teachers, it is imperative that institutions responsible for teacher preparation work together to find a solution to the staffing crisis.

Reconceptualizing Teaching and Learning: The 2016 National Educational Technology Plan

Last month, the U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology released the 2016 National Educational Technology Plan, titled Future Ready Learning: Reimagining the Role of Technology in Education. Billed as the nation’s “flagship educational technology policy document,” the plan contains specific recommendations for teacher preparation programs relative to its “vision of equity, active use, and collaborative leadership to make everywhere-all-the-time learning possible.” For this article, AACTE asked two of our field’s leaders on the topic to reflect on the plan and its relevance for educator preparation providers.

Since 2000, the AACTE Committee on Innovation and Technology has hosted an annual leadership summit for the presidents of a dozen teacher educator associations and editors of educational technology journals, who together comprise the National Technology Leadership Coalition. This summit in Washington, DC, provides a unique forum for interdisciplinary planning focused on technology and teacher preparation. Sharon Robinson, president and CEO of AACTE, recently wrote of the coalition, “Rather than reacting to new technologies, members of [the coalition] sought to shape them by partnering with developers to include discipline-specific pedagogical considerations.”

Stories of Impact: University of Nevada, Reno Responds to Local Workforce Needs

Ed Prep Matters is featuring “Stories of Impact” to showcase AACTE member institutions with educator preparation programs that are making a positive impact in their communities and beyond through innovative practices. We are committed to sharing members’ success stories and encourage you to do the same.

Teacher shortage is an issue nationwide but especially in Nevada, where 955 classrooms were without licensed teachers at the start of the 2015-16 school year. Now with engineering and technology giants Tesla and Switch establishing a strong presence in northern Nevada, top-quality teachers are in more demand than ever in our community.

Tennessee EPPs Optimistic About Changes to State Report Card

On December 2, 2015, the members of the Tennessee Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (TACTE) held their collective breath as the Tennessee State Board of Education released the 2015 Report Card on the Effectiveness of Teacher Training Programs. After 5 years of publicity nightmares as programs’ ratings and rankings received widespread media attention, would this year’s report be any better?

Back in 2007, the Tennessee General Assembly passed legislation requiring the publication of a report on the effectiveness of educator preparation programs (EPPs) throughout the state. The report was to provide the following information on program graduates: placement and retention rates, Praxis II scores, and teacher effect data based on the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS). Meghan Curran, director of Tennessee’s First to the Top programs, noted, “It is our intent that the report cards will help institutions identify both what they do well and where there is room for growth based on the outputs of their graduates.”

Telling Our Story: Political Advocacy in Massachusetts

Political advocacy was the focus of much work this fall for the Massachusetts Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (MACTE). The national attention to teacher preparation policy, from the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to the proposed teacher preparation program regulations, inspired our state chapter to respond in a big way. We were—and are—determined to tell our story.

As a first step, the MACTE Executive Board created a “take home document” to educate our elected officials, highlighting some of the current work of member institutions. We pointed out initiatives and programs that were specifically developed to meet the greatest needs of our PK-12 partners and, ultimately, the needs of the students in the commonwealth. To compile this document, we put a call out to all of our member institutions to tell us what they were doing across five main focus areas:

‘No Hoop Jumping Allowed’—Embedding New Pragmatic Expectations in Existing Practice

Although we may not have read it in a while or considered it with a lot of thought, we all have a conceptual framework for our programs. When we are faced with implementing new policies or considering other innovations, though, our conceptual framework is an essential guide that helps our programs undergo change while retaining their core identity.

At a session we attended last month at the Tennessee edTPA® Conference, faculty from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK), demonstrated how sticking to their conceptual framework allowed them to embrace a new assessment without having to “jump through hoops.” Jennifer Jordan and her UTK colleagues intentionally and continually referenced their conceptual framework as they discussed how their institution considered integrating edTPA while also following the mantra, “We’re not going to give up who we are!”

On Twitter

AACTE Tools

Follow Us