During the week of June 9, more than 40 AACTE state chapter leaders convened in Washington, DC, for the 2014 State Leaders Institute (SLI).
An annual professional development event exclusively for state chapter leaders, SLI aims to strengthen participants’ leadership skills, enhance chapters’ advocacy and communication efforts, and build connections among chapter heads from across the country.
Thanks to heavy involvement by the Oklahoma Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (OACTE), Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin recently signed HB 2885 into law, restoring the state’s teacher induction program.
The Oklahoma Teacher Induction Program (OTIP), which had been suspended since 2010, provides professional support, mentorship, and coaching for beginning teachers. Under the new law, school districts can voluntarily offer the induction program during the 2014-15 academic year; it becomes mandatory in the 2015-16 academic year. Furthermore, the bill permits teacher mentors to support more than one beginning teacher, and it establishes a paid teacher internship program at teacher preparation institutions.
AACTE has awarded funding to state chapters in California, Delaware, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Wisconsin in the 2014 State Chapter Support Grant competition.
The grant program, now in its 4th year, directs $50,000 of member dues toward strengthening the capacity of state chapters to operate as an organization and to advocate on behalf of the interests of teacher preparation in the state, as well as toward bolstering the relationship between the state chapters and AACTE. This year, chapter leaders were invited to apply for funds for support of the following priority areas: Policy and Advocacy, Professional Issues, and Chapter Development and Capacity.
The College of Education at the University of Florida last week announced the launch of a new center on “Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform”—also known as the CEEDAR Center—focused on supporting states in developing teachers to prepare students with disabilities for college and careers. CEEDAR is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs, receiving $15 million over 3 years with the possibility of receiving additional funds for an additional 2 years.
Starting last week, approximately 4 million students across 36 states and the District of Columbia began taking field tests for the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) assessments developed by the PARCC and Smarter Balanced consortia. The field tests are scheduled to run March 24 through June 6.
A few states are piloting the tests on a broader scale. Nearly all students in California, Connecticut, Idaho, Montana, and South Dakota will participate in the field tests.
AACTE is pleased to offer the State Chapter Support Grant Program for a 4th year, directing member dues toward strengthening the relationship between the state chapters and AACTE and supporting the development of state chapters through their initiatives. Since the creation of the program, AACTE has dispensed $150,000 in grants to 26 states to support chapters’ advocacy, professional development, and capacity-building efforts.
Today, AACTE released model state legislation to recruit high-achieving students into the teaching profession and incentivize them to teach in our neediest schools.
The Teaching Fellows bill is the first released by AACTE in its initiative to develop model state legislation that is aligned with AACTE’s state policy priorities and with the recommendations from “Excellent Teachers for Each and Every Child: A Guide for State Policy,” a joint effort by AACTE and several partner organizations that was released in December 2013. The initiative reflects AACTE’s goal of promoting sound education policies—grounded in research and practice—that will strengthen the teaching profession and will have a positive impact on students.
The Education Task Force of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) met in Washington, DC, last month, considering two new model state bills: the “Student Achievement Backpack Act” and the “Course Choice Act.”
The “Student Achievement Backpack Act” creates a data “backpack” for each K-12 student in the state that would include an electronic learning profile as well as information on the student’s prior teachers, including teachers’ years of experience and licensure information. The act would also authorize parents and K-12 district employees to access these backpacks, which would be transferable between schools and districts. The bill does include provisions to safeguard students’ privacy.
Recent budget cuts at the federal, state, and local levels are affecting the delivery of special education services for students with disabilities, according to a new survey conducted by the National Coalition on Personnel Shortages in Special Education and Related Services (NCPSSERS), of which AACTE is a member.
The survey of more than 1,000 special education professionals from all 50 states, which was featured in Education Week, shows that the impact of federal, state, and local budget cuts on special education is most evident in an increase in caseload, class size, and reduced professional development opportunities.
Earlier this month, I participated in a workshop of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation’s State Alliance for Clinical Preparation and Partnerships in Louisville, Kentucky. The 11 states in the alliance (Alabama, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Oregon) have formed a network to improve the systemic infrastructure supporting high-quality clinical experiences for teacher candidates. Mark LaCelle-Peterson, senior vice president for Engagement, Research, and Development at CAEP, framed the discussions over the 3 days with the following quote: “We have a system of education, but we do not have a system of clinical preparation.”