• AACTE 70th Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD

Member Voices: Lessons From the State Leaders Institute

AACTE just hosted another great Washington Week! This was my third year attending the State Leaders Institute (SLI), and I’m always amazed at how much I learn about what is happening at the federal level and in other states, how other state associations are supporting teacher and leader preparation that will positively affect student learning, and how they are facing and addressing the challenges that are impacting our profession.

All regions of the country were represented during the June 9-10 institute, and as stories were shared, I believe we came to deeper understanding about the uniqueness of our respective states—and, perhaps more importantly, about the ways we are similar and how those similarities can help us frame a common message.

AACTE Hosts Webinar Series on Use of Twitter in Teacher Education

Despite common caricatures of Twitter as the domain of callow teens and celebrity stalkers, it is a technology that should be taken seriously by teacher educators. Although social media has had a dramatic impact on communication in the modern world, the field of teacher preparation has been largely reluctant to add its voices to the mix. It is high time that we wake up to the role new media can play in our professional lives—and to the risks of remaining on the sidelines.

We have seen what can happen when we allow others to decide how our story is told, especially those who view our work with suspicion or even outright hostility. When U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said that “many if not most of the nation’s 1,450 schools, colleges, and departments of education are doing a mediocre job of preparing teachers for the realities of the 21st-century classroom,” for example, that message won broad circulation, including in social media. Today, the secretary’s and the U.S. Department of Education’s Twitter accounts reach more than 500,000 individuals. By comparison, AACTE’s Twitter account has approximately 5,600 followers.

JTE Coeditor: NCTQ Appraisal of Journals Based on Narrow View of Teacher Prep Research

The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) published an article in last week’s Teacher Quality Bulletin that criticized journals with a teacher education focus for not publishing enough articles on “core techniques and skills.” Targeting AACTE’s Journal of Teacher Education (JTE) in particular, the authors report that “only” 11% of the articles published in JTE in the past 5 years address this topic. JTE Coeditor Fran Arbaugh of Pennsylvania State University sent the following response to the article’s authors:

AACTE Grant Supports Strong Chapter Work in Michigan

Last year, an AACTE State Chapter Support Grant enabled members of the Michigan Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (MACTE) to build more collaborative relationships with PK-12 schools and the Michigan Department of Education in order to facilitate more meaningful and relevant discussion on the preparation of excellent beginning teachers. This work supported the chapter’s goal of “promoting, within Michigan, the learning of all PK-12 students through the promotion of high-quality preparation and continuing education for all school personnel.”

Many thanks to AACTE, we were able to host a summer workshop at Ferris State University, the primary accomplishment of which was the review and revision of the MACTE Strategic Plan that had been developed the previous year. Based on input from the workshop, the group decided to tailor the annual conference to provide a forum for examining and highlighting the increasingly pressing issue of beginning teacher evaluation and distinctive efforts to improve educator preparation.

Holmes Scholars Council Plans Exciting Year

As the 2014-2015 AACTE Holmes Scholars® Council passes the torch to the new and excited cohort of executives, there are many people to thank. First, scholars themselves have played a pivotal role in the support of the past Council leadership, as well as serving a great cause: diversifying the American professoriate. In addition, the 2014-2015 Council would like to extend gratitude to the National Association of Holmes Scholars Alumni (NAHSA) and to various members of AACTE. The new Council looks forward to the continued support of all aforementioned networks.

Member Voices: Opting Out of Our Future

Editor’s Note: Former AACTE Board member and education dean Nancy Zimpher reminds readers of the important purpose of standardized testing, which has been overshadowed by recent political battles and opt-out campaigns. This essay originally appeared on the State University of New York’s Big Ideas blog and is reposted with permission. The opinions expressed in this essay do not necessarily reflect the position of AACTE.

When it comes to whether students should opt out of standardized testing, no one is actually talking about what’s best for our kids. Standardized tests have become a pawn in political debates about teacher evaluations and we have lost sight of what they are: a way to measure what students know so we can help them improve.

Letter to Editor: Prepare Teachers to Adapt to Factors Outside School

The following letter to the editor was published today in Education Week.

There are kids entering urban classrooms every day hungry, sad, tired, and angry. Name an obstacle to learning, and most urban teachers have seen it play out firsthand among their students.

In January, the Horace Mann League of the United States released School Performance in Context: The Iceberg Effect, a report on the “unparalleled levels” of poverty, inequity, and violence faced by U.S. students. Though outside factors such as these are not the reason for increasing gaps in achievement, they’re barriers teachers must understand and address to have an impact on student learning.

The Power of Teacher Professional Communities in Urban Schools

Editor’s Note: Professor Hollins inspired attendees of AACTE’s recent Annual Meeting in Atlanta during the Speaker Spotlight Session. (View a video recording of her speech here, and read another version in this Hechinger Report piece, which includes the video she played during her address.) To follow up on her presentation, we invited Hollins to explore her topic in a series of blogs for Ed Prep Matters. This is the final post in the series.

Most teachers in urban schools, as elsewhere, are dedicated professionals who put much effort into their practice and care deeply about the students they teach. Teachers understandably feel frustrated when their students fail to meet expectations for learning outcomes. How they address this frustration, however, makes all the difference for student outcomes—and it is influenced heavily by the ideology developed in their school’s professional community.

Holmes Scholars Share Research, Network in Atlanta

AACTE Holmes Scholars connect during the Annual Meeting in Atlanta
AACTE Holmes Scholars connect during the Annual Meeting in Atlanta

More than 60 AACTE Holmes Scholars® participated in the Annual Meeting in Atlanta last month. The commitment of their 15 host institutions, as well as of AACTE, to building a more diverse professional community was on full display in the lively atmosphere and collegial environment at the conference, which offered a platform of reinvigoration for some and the start of an exciting journey for others. One attendee commented that she had not experienced that much energy in quite a while.

At the kick-off session February 27, AACTE’s Rodrick Lucero, vice president for member engagement and support, described the Association’s renewed commitment to the Holmes Scholars Program and emphasized its value and necessity in the field. He highlighted goals for the coming year, which touched on not only recruiting and retaining scholars in academia, but looking closely at the entire continuum of PK-24. Lucero praised the National Association of Holmes Scholars Alumni (NASHA) for its continued support in providing highly sought-after mentoring services for 1st-year and midlevel doctoral students.

Understanding Urban Communities as Context and Text for Teaching and Learning

Editor’s Note: Professor Hollins inspired attendees of AACTE’s recent Annual Meeting in Atlanta during the Speaker Spotlight Session. (View a video recording of her speech here, and read another version in this Hechinger Report piece, which includes the video she played during her address.) To follow up on her presentation, we invited Hollins to explore her topic in a series of blogs for Ed Prep Matters. This is the second post in the series.

Teaching is an interpretive practice that requires knowledge of the community where students grow and develop, and where they are socialized. Students’ initial and ongoing learning happens within a particular community; is framed by the ideologies and practices of the community; is influenced by the experiences, interests, and values shared among members of the community; and is appropriated through the learner’s perception, which is developed within the particular community. The initial learning that happens within a community constitutes the intellectual, psychological, social, and emotional development of the individual person.

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