On December 5, the world lost one of the more important leaders of all time, Nelson Mandela.
Mandela epitomized what many in U.S. educator preparation programs hope to instill in our education leaders and teachers—a strong understanding of and commitment to social justice. Unfortunately, although we believe that all children and youth should receive a high-quality education and be treated with dignity and respect in the classroom, this ideal is in sharp contrast to reality.
Far too many of our children and youth, especially those in urban communities, are in classrooms with teachers who are underprepared or simply not equipped to teach those they perceive as different. Even as many of our preparation programs are implementing practices that limit “admission” to the field of teaching to those most ready to enter the classroom after rigorous study and strong clinical practice, the different pathways to the profession that some states have put into place may lead to an increase rather than a decrease in the achievement gap that currently exists between children and youth of different classes and races.
On December 12, the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) and Pearson’s Center for Educator Effectiveness released a research report at an interactive launch event at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.
At the event, a panel of several former teachers of the year joined American Enterprise Institute Resident Scholar Frederick Hess to discuss the conditions necessary to develop sustainable career pathways that might make teaching a more attractive career option for a new generation of educators. The panel also discussed the benefits of teacher preparation resources such as edTPA and the role of educator preparation programs in enhancing teacher leadership roles.
Whitworth University (WA)
California Polytechnic State University Pomona
Blanche Jackson Glimps
Tennessee State University
Northern Arizona University
Congratulations to the future members of AACTE’s Board of Directors!
On December 12, I attended a hearing in the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) billed as “Accreditation as Quality Assurance: Meeting the Needs of 21st Century Learning.” This was one of a series of 13 hearings the Committee is holding in preparation for the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) chaired the hearing, and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) sat as ranking Republican on the Committee. Other members in attendance were Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Al Franken (D-MN), and Christopher Murphy (D-CT). A full recording of the hearing along with written remarks from speakers can be found here. (You will note my presence in the audience!)
State and national policy trends around teaching credentials will be the focus of a major forum at AACTE’s 2014 Annual Meeting, “Maintaining the Value of the Teaching Credential: Challenges and Opportunities.”
The teaching credential is facing challenges at all levels. Several states have devalued the worth of the master’s degree as it relates to advanced certification, and others now award the same credential to new teachers regardless of whether they have completed their preparation. At the federal level, serious discussions are taking place as to what standard, if any, should exist to enter the teaching profession.
This post also appears on the AACTE Annual Meeting site.
There are about 300 sessions at each Annual Meeting and only one of you. AACTE will be recording all the general sessions and major forums for you to access later through the Learning Center, but how should you choose from the many concurrent sessions?
One way to filter your choices is by conference strand. For example, here are some sessions from Strand II: Creating Innovative and Culturally Relevant Pedagogy to get you started.
The editors of Go Teach magazine recently turned to AACTE to help prospective teacher candidates navigate the proliferation of conflicting visions of what constitutes effective teacher preparation. In response, my colleague Saroja Barnes and I coauthored an article for the magazine that ran in the November/December issue as the cover story, “How to Choose an Effective Teacher Preparation Program.”
Based on relevant research on teacher preparation, the article points to several key components of high-quality programs that potential teacher candidates should consider. Structured by seven key questions, the article guides prospective candidates to think through the following issues when exploring teacher preparation pathways:
AACTE’s Advisory Council of State Representatives (ACSR) will sponsor a major forum at AACTE’s 2014 Annual Meeting focused on “Clinical Preparation, From Policy to Research to Practice: Strengthening the Programs.”
Research and practice have demonstrated for decades that sustained and high-quality clinical experiences positively contribute to the effectiveness of new teachers and to the likelihood that they will stay in the classroom longer. Unfortunately, preparation providers encounter myriad constraints in developing clinical programming, particularly stemming from challenges facing their PK-12 partners. Today’s school systems are being pressured to implement new teacher evaluation systems amidst new standards, new assessments, and changes to tenure laws—all within the context of significant economic hardships. Despite these challenges, many preparation providers are exploring multiple partnerships and intensive clinical programs, such as a full-year internship or residency, with local districts to ensure that their candidates have high-quality experiences.
As AACTE’s Mary Harrill-McClellan alerted members last week, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) released its latest critique of university-based teacher preparation today, Training Our Future Teachers: Classroom Management.
The report follows the standard NCTQ model of using a review of course materials from a small sample of programs to support the broad claim that the teacher preparation profession is not getting the job done.
AACTE issued a statement citing specific concerns with the report, including mainly that the report does not actually tell us whether programs are adequately preparing teacher candidates to manage classrooms. Other concerns noted in the statement are that the report contains no evidence to support the sweeping claims about “the field” of teacher preparation and that the assertions that edTPA does not focus on classroom management skills are incorrect.
The January/February 2014 issue of the Journal of Teacher Education (JTE) is now available online. See what Volume 65 Number 1 has to offer—without waiting for the mail delivery!
- In this month’s editorial, JTE‘s editors at Penn State University announce the 2014 Editorial Review Board and outline the highlights of this issue’s articles.
- “The Effects of Teacher Entry Portals on Student Achievement” classifies North Carolina public school teachers into 11 predominant “portals” of entry into the profession and estimates their effects on students’ test score gains. The gains are generally higher for students of teachers prepared through in-state, public undergraduate programs—but Teach for America corps members seem to be more effective in STEM subjects and at the secondary level.