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    Massachusetts Chapter Members, AACTE Staff Engage at Legislative Summit

    Last month, AACTE staff hosted an exhibit at the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) Legislative Summit in Boston, Massachusetts. We also invited leaders of the local AACTE state chapter, the Massachusetts Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (MACTE), to join us in the exhibit booth to share their work with attendees. Over 5,000 state legislators, state legislative staff, and trade association representatives attended the conference.

    As I learned from last year’s NCSL Legislative Summit (see my takeaways here), state legislators are eager to receive input from teacher educators. One recurring theme from my conversations with state legislators this year was that they are unfamiliar with the major state policy levers pertaining to educator preparation – accreditation, licensure, and program approval. It was good for AACTE staff and MACTE leaders to interact with attendees from dozens of states, including many members of state legislatures’ education committees.

    Collaboration and Compromise: The Key to Good Policy Making

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

    The Legislative Long Session in North Carolina this year was, in many ways, a productive one for education, generating a number of consequential bills that became law.  Included in the slate was the reintroduction of the Teaching Fellows program, thanks to a collaborative effort led by Senator Chad Barefoot and the North Carolina Association of Colleges and Teacher Educators (NCACTE).

    AACTE Chapter Develops Statewide Student Teacher Observation Tool

    This report highlights the use of an AACTE State Chapter Support Grant by the North Dakota Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. July 28 is the deadline to apply for this year’s grants. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

    With assistance from an AACTE State Chapter Support Grant, the North Dakota Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (NDACTE) recently completed collaborative work on a statewide student teacher observation tool (STOT). This tool is the fourth common assessment developed in a major effort to improve the quality of teacher preparation through implementation of a statewide preservice and first-year teacher performance assessment system across public, private, and tribal programs.

    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.

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