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Lessons From ECS Forum: Ongoing Engagement Critical as New State Policy Makers Take Office

On behalf of AACTE, I recently attended the annual National Forum on Education Policy of the Education Commission of the States (ECS), a national organization of state education policy leaders. The more than 550 attendees at the forum included governors, state education chiefs, chairs of state legislatures’ education committees, and higher education executives, many of whom were new to their position. In fact, one of my main takeaways from the conference was the high level of recent turnover in states’ positions for education decision makers – and the associated need for educators to maintain outreach efforts to connect with them.

Over the past 2 years, there has been drastic leadership change for state legislators, chief state school officers, and governors. In 2016, elections were held for 86 of the 98 partisan state legislative chambers and for 6 of the 13 elected chief state school officers. Furthermore, the average tenure of a chief state school officer is approximately 2½ years. In 2017, 36 states will hold elections for their governors, at least 16 of which must be new due to term limits.

The Wisdom of Crowds: Collaborative Student Teaching Instrument Development

This report highlights the use of an AACTE State Chapter Support Grant by the Ohio Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (OACTE). The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

Educator preparation providers (EPPs) in Ohio have a longstanding history of collaboration. The 51 public and private institutions embrace the philosophy of the “wisdom of crowds,” that is, the power of decisions made by groups through collective sharing of information and resources (see this 2005 book by James Surowiecki). One of our ongoing collaborative efforts is the “VARI-EPP” (Valid and Reliable Instruments for Educator Preparation Programs) project, which aims to develop assessment instruments for use by any EPP in the nation to empower them with valid, reliable, and comparable data that may be used for program improvement. These types of instruments also address the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) call for accreditation evidence collected from instruments that have been analyzed for validity and reliability.

Advocacy and Action: Oklahoma ACTE’s Successful Collaboration With State Legislators

It may not be often that a state chapter of AACTE seeks to create new legislation outlining expectations for teacher preparation, but that was the case for the Oklahoma Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (OACTE) during the past academic year.

For several years, state legislators had been proposing new dyslexia training requirements for all early childhood, elementary, and special education candidates. However, concerns and tensions escalated between educator preparation providers (EPPs) and interest groups who disagreed on the definition of the problem, the depth of training that would be appropriate, and language that might mandate particular programs and materials. Consequently, discussions and the relationship between groups deteriorated and were unproductive.

Missouri EPP Engagement Helps Reshape State Report Card

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

Educator preparation providers (EPPs) in many states find themselves under increased pressure to demonstrate accountability, but they often feel powerless to play a role in the development of accountability measures. Accountability often seems to be something that is done to them rather than with them. In Missouri, however, EPPs have played an integral role in the creation of the state’s new report card.

It wasn’t always this way, and the manner in which EPPs came to be involved may be instructive to those working in other states. When the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education first presented a plan for its Annual Program Reports for Education Preparation Programs (APR-EPP), EPPs were also dealing upheaval in other areas too – from changes to certification rules to new expectations for field experiences. The APR-EPP was met with significant resistance in the Show-Me State for many reasons, including the fact that it included a battery of new assessments and a simple Met/Not Met designation.

State ACTEs Opening Channels for Communication, Common Interest

Members of the Alabama Association of Colleges for Teacher Education meet with officials from the state department of education and Alabama’s representatives to the Southern Regional Education Board’s Teacher Preparation Commission.

One of the benefits of state chapter affiliation with AACTE is the opportunity it provides, through the Advisory Council of State Representatives (ACSR), to network with those from other states who share the work of preparing educators. Our collaboration is facilitated through participation in regional conference calls, AACTE Annual Meetings, and the State Leaders Institute as well as communications like the monthly State Directions e-newsletter. As we learn how others are responding to federal, state, and local education initiatives, we find opportunities for mutual support and ways to present a united voice.

RFP: AACTE State Chapter Support Grant Program

AACTE is pleased to offer the State Chapter Support Grant Program for the 2017-2018 academic year, directing member dues toward supporting the development of AACTE state chapter initiatives and relationships. Applications for the grants are now being accepted through AACTE’s online submission site.

For the current funding cycle, the AACTE Board of Directors has allocated a total of $50,000 for the grant program, of which $40,000 is for “Chapter Activities” and $10,000 is for “Chapter Development.”

State Chapter Leaders to Interact With Dynamic Speakers at June Institute

As part of next month’s Washington Week, themed “Diverse Perspectives, Deep Partnerships, One Profession,” AACTE state chapter leaders will hear from several policy leaders in this year’s State Leaders Institute (SLI).

Held June 4-5 at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel in Arlington, Virginia, this event fosters dialogue pertaining to education policies in each state and develops capacity for state chapters of both AACTE and the Association of Teacher Educators to address major policy and advocacy themes facing educator preparation.

April 2017 State Policy Recap

Ed Prep Matters is pleased to bring you this special feature on state policy and AACTE state chapter activity. For a recap of state policy and state chapter activity in March 2017, see this blog.

Already this year, a significant number of state legislatures have adjourned for the year. In fact, 14 state legislatures have concluded their official business for 2017. An additional 14 state legislatures will adjourn for the year by the end of May.

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