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State Chapter Advocacy Wins Changes to Proposed Florida Rule

The state of Florida recently passed a new rule governing the implementation and evaluation of teacher preparation programs. The Florida Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (FACTE) was very active during the development and public comment periods for this new rule, and while we did not secure all the changes we’d hoped, we did make a difference in the process and in the outcomes.

FACTE implemented a detailed advocacy strategy during the public comment period. One of our greatest assets was our relationship with the Florida Department of Education (FDOE), which has always worked to be partners with our programs. I cannot speak enough of the importance of building relationships with those charged with program approval before you are in the process of rule development. We have focused our efforts on building on our shared vision of ensuring every child in the state is taught by a high-quality educator.

Preview of Competitive State Elections

With Election Day just around the corner, below are some gubernatorial races, state education chief contests, and education ballot initiatives to watch. Remember, like politics, education is local. Check out the tables below to see what’s at play in your state.

Be sure to vote November 4!

Gubernatorial Races to Watch

State Incumbent Challenger Rating * Major education issues
Colorado John Hickenlooper (D) Bob Beauprez (R) Toss-up Higher education funding, college affordability, school choice, Common Core
Connecticut Dan Malloy (D) Tom Foley (R) Toss-up Education funding, school accountability, charter schools, Common Core
Florida Rick Scott (R) Charlie Crist (D) Toss-up College affordability, higher education funding
Georgia Nathan Deal (R) Jason Carter (D) Leans Republican Common Core, school vouchers, higher education funding
Illinois Pat Quinn (D) Bruce Rauner (R) Toss-up Teacher retirement benefits, school vouchers, merit pay, charter schools, college affordability
Kansas Sam Brownback (R) Paul Davis (D) Toss-up School funding, Common Core
Maine Paul LePage (R) Mike Michaud (D) Leans Democratic Early childhood education funding, school vouchers, college affordability
Wisconsin Scott Walker (R) Mary Burke (D) Leans Republican School vouchers, Common Core, higher education funding

* Rating according to Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball.

NJACTE, Partners Lead Charge to ‘Take Back the Profession’

NJACTE President Joelle Tutela
Joelle Tutela, President, NJACTE

Teacher quality and professional practice in New Jersey just got an enthusiastic shot in the arm, thanks to a new coalition of the state’s teacher educators, teachers’ unions, and other education groups.

Leaders of this coalition, the Garden State Alliance for Strengthening Education, held a high-profile symposium “Taking Back the Profession” September 27 to release a report chock-full of ideas to improve the continuum of teacher development in the state. The event was attended by several key state education officials and featured nationally known speakers including Stephanie Hirsch of Learning Forward, Marilyn Cochran-Smith of Boston College (MA), and Susan Headden of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. In addition, the report was featured at a press conference October 2 and will be the subject of a state hearing later this month.

Colorado Seeks Input on Aligning Educator Licensing Rules

The Colorado Department of Education (CDE), in conjunction with the New Teacher Project, has announced new efforts to align the state’s educator licensing statutes, rules, and content assessments. As part of the alignment efforts, CDE is inviting stakeholders to participate in a series of focus group meetings this month.

The focus groups will meet during the weeks of October 6 and October 13 at the following locations and times:

Western State (Gunnison) October 7, 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Pikes Peak BOCES (Colorado Springs) October 9, 9:00-11:00 a.m.
UNC Greeley October 10, 9:00-11:00 a.m.
UC Denver October 10, 2:00-4:00 p.m.
Mesa University (Grand Junction) October 15, 1:00-3:00 p.m.

CEEDAR Center Releases ‘Innovation Configurations’ for Program Evaluation

The Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform Center (CEEDAR Center) has released three new program evaluation tools, called innovation configurations, in partnership with the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders at the American Institutes for Research. The innovation configurations are designed to help evaluate teacher preparation programs and professional development activities for the extent to which they incorporate evidence-based practices in a particular area:

Institute Focuses Chapter Leaders on Advocacy, Communications, Leadership

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.

Oklahoma Restores Teacher Induction Program

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.

8 State Chapters Win AACTE Grants

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.

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