Last week, I joined a small group of AACTE staff attending the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) Legislative Summit with over 5,000 state legislators, legislative staff, and trade associations.
One key takeaway from our interactions with state legislators and staff is that they are eager to hear from educator preparation programs. Some of the topics that state legislators referenced as their priorities:
- Examining licensure requirements
- Offering more pathways into the teaching profession
- Boosting the rigor of educator preparation programs
- Aligning the educator pipeline with school districts’ needs and challenges
The Advisory Council of State Representatives (ACSR) is pleased to announce a new consensus document, the State Policy Statements to Enhance Educator Preparation, developed by AACTE state chapter leaders and members to support the advocacy work of educator preparation providers (EPPs).
ACSR leaders representing more than 1,100 EPPs participated in a collaborative process to develop the document, agreeing on key statements under the following three priority areas:
Ed Prep Matters is pleased to bring you this special feature on state policy and AACTE state chapter activity. For a summary of the year prior to the summer, see this article.
Overview of State Policy Activity
Only a handful of state legislatures actively met in July, as over 40 state legislative sessions had adjourned for the year. No educator preparation-related bills were introduced, although Illinois enacted two bills into law. One of them modifies the professional development requirements for educator license renewal. The other law allows a principal endorsement to be added to an existing professional educator license if the individual meets certain requirements, such as having taught for at least 4 years.
Ed Prep Matters is pleased to bring you this special feature on state policy and AACTE state chapter activity. For a summary of the year prior to June, see this article.
Overview of State Policy Activity
In June, state policy activity slowed down to a crawl, as more than 30 state legislative sessions have adjourned for the year. Currently, only nine state legislatures are in their 2016 session, while three state legislatures are in a special session.
Nine education-related bills in four states–Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania–were introduced in June. These bills covered issues including offering loan forgiveness for educators employed in “failing schools,” expanding pathways into the teaching profession by modifying certification requirements for substitute teachers, and creating a tiered licensure structure for educators.
The TeachNY Advisory Council, convened last year by the State University of New York (SUNY), published last month a set of recommendations to address the most pressing challenges facing the state’s teacher development pipeline. The dozens of policy recommendations and innovative strategies for teacher recruitment, preparation, and career support are now providing a roadmap for a collaborative campaign between SUNY and the New York State Education Department (NYSED).
“If we take our 60 recommendations and the really hot buttons that we’re talking about right now in terms of policy and execution, and we take them to scale across the SUNY system, we will do good for New York,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher in an interview with The Chronicle of Higher Education. What’s more, Zimpher said, the system hopes to “work with other states and with other policy makers, too, to take what we’re learning across the country.”
The Council of Chief State School Officers has released a new guide for state policy makers to engage stakeholders on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) implementation, and educator preparation providers (EPPs) are among the two dozen groups recommended for consultation. Although the guide indicates that EPP input is required only for state Title II grant applications, it encourages states to “not stop there” but rather engage whatever perspectives best represent the state’s interests. AACTE encourages its members and state chapters to get involved with their state’s ESSA implementation in as many areas and as early as possible.
The California Council on Teacher Education (CCTE) has for several decades viewed the preparation of new teacher educators to be among its most important responsibilities. Semiannual CCTE conferences have always been open and welcoming to graduate students and newly hired teacher education faculty. In recent years, however, the organization, which has served as the California state chapter of AACTE since a merger with the California Association of Colleges for Teacher Education in 2000, has created more purposeful programs to recruit and mentor future teacher educators.
What an inspirational and invigorating experience I had last week at AACTE’s State Leaders Institute (SLI)—in my 7th year participating in AACTE’s Washington Week!
SLI was held June 5-6 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia. Thirty-five states were represented by 60 attendees, many of whom were new faces adding to SLI’s rich and continuing conversations. This enrollment represented an increase from last year of 10 additional AACTE state chapters and also included 20 attendees who returned from the 2015 institute.
Over the course of 2 days, we enjoyed ample and fulfilling opportunities to engage with expert panelists, peers sharing research-based and cutting-edge practices in preparing high-quality teachers and leaders for PK-12 schools, federal updates, policy trend overviews, advocacy and coalition planning, working with policy makers and their staffers, working with the media, and individual and state chapter strategic planning work time. We also had the pleasure to interact at a special reception with not only each other but also a cohort of AACTE Holmes Scholars—graduate students from across the country who represent the brightest future in the profession.
Ed Prep Matters is pleased to bring you this special feature on state policy and AACTE state chapter activity. For a summary of state activities from January through April 2016, see this article.
Overview of Policy Activity
In May, state policy activities have begun to slow, as many state legislatures have adjourned their 2016 legislative sessions. This month, only 15 state legislatures have been in regular session, while four states have been in a special session. Six education-related bills were introduced this month in two states, New York and North Carolina. These bills covered issues such as offering loan forgiveness for teachers, supporting reimbursement for National Board certification, authorizing alternative routes to the teaching profession, and amending admission requirements for graduate-level preparation programs for teachers and school leaders.
Last year, the Indiana Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (IACTE) received an AACTE State Chapter Support Grant to fund the creation of a statewide advocacy consortium. In order to disrupt the dominant discourse that negatively portrays teacher education programs, educators, and schools, IACTE sought to collaborate with “partners in practice” to tell positive stories and create a unified message of the education profession. We held a series of productive conversations and meetings, culminating in the capstone experience of the first IACTE “Day at the Statehouse” event in February.
Our partners in this work included the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents, the Indiana Association of School Principals, the Indiana State Teachers Association, the Indiana School Boards Association, and the education honorary, Kappa Delta Pi.