The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.
Thanks to an AACTE State Chapter Support Grant, the Michigan Association for Colleges for Teacher Education (MACTE) brought together university leaders in educator preparation and the Michigan Department of Education for a 4-day retreat in June on the campus of Northern Michigan University (NMU). The Pine Tower Retreat was an invigorating experience for all of us and helped us create tangible outcomes for the academic year.
Last summer in its 2013 Teacher Prep Review, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) set forth recommendations for state and local policy makers who want to see the ratings increase for educator preparation programs in their jurisdictions. One of these recommendations was to “revamp current inspections of teacher preparation programs, performed as a condition of program approval.” Positing that neither state program approval site visits nor national accreditor site visits have proven to be meaningful, NCTQ recommended that states employ independent inspectors, along the lines of the British inspectorate model for preparation programs, to conduct program evaluation site visits and program evaluations.
Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending a meeting of the Wallace Foundation’s Principal Pipeline Initiative. The foundation regularly convenes the initiative’s participants to provide time and space for them to assess their efforts to transform the way they recruit, prepare, and support principals and to plan for further work.
In early 2013, the Wallace Foundation awarded AACTE a grant to serve as one of its communications partners engaged in disseminating research about education leadership as well as the practices and research emerging from the foundation’s Principal Pipeline Initiative.
Good news: A new study shows that transferring highly effective teachers to low-performing elementary schools improves the achievement of students in those schools. The impact of the transferred teachers in this study was greater than the impact of Teach For America (TFA) teachers found in studies with similar student populations.
Mathematica conducted the multisite experimental study, in which highly effective teachers were offered $20,000 over 2 years to transfer into and remain in elementary and middle schools that had low average test scores.
Note: This post also appears on the AACTE Annual Meeting site.
March will be here before we know it. The latest evidence of its rapid approach? The full AACTE Annual Meeting schedule is now available to you in the brand new Event Planner tool.
Accessible to everyone with an AACTE login (and anyone with an institutional e-mail address can set up an AACTE login), the Event Planner contains all the information we will be printing in the program book—but with search and scheduling functions that paper can’t match.
Note: This op-ed was submitted to The New York Times but was not published.
A recent column by Bill Keller in The New York Times, “An Industry of Mediocrity,” highlighted a 2005 report by the well-respected Arthur Levine that concluded that the programs that prepare our nation’s educators “range from inadequate to appalling” and set the premise that the profession is a “contended cartel” of low-quality programs that should “feel threatened.” As leaders of AACTE, we view Mr. Keller’s column not as a threat but as an opportunity to do what we do best: educate.
Several early childhood education bills were introduced recently in Congress.
A bipartisan bill, the Strong Start for America’s Children Act (H.R. 3461/S. 1697), was introduced November 13 in the House and Senate that would expand access to and quality of early learning programs for children. The bill was introduced in the Senate by Tom Harkin (D-IA), chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, and in the House by Representatives George Miller (D-CA), ranking member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, and Richard Hanna (R-NY). Hanna’s endorsement makes the bill bipartisan, although no Republicans in the Senate support the legislation.
A great new AACTE program has hit the ground running, as many of your colleagues are already putting it to good use by creating “topical action groups” (TAGs).
The TAG program, which replaces the Association’s former “special study groups,” allows members to initiate or join action-oriented forums around a professional topic of importance, with funding and other support from AACTE.
Here are two examples of newly established TAGs and how they are using AACTE funding and support to further a topic of professional interest:
You all know about the significance of “telling your story.” As an advocacy and public-relations strategy, teacher educators should regularly communicate with media outlets and policy makers to promote their programs’ strengths such as innovative practices, state-of-the art technologies employed by faculty, the qualities of matriculating candidates, and the impact program completers are making in PK-12 schools.
Indeed, AACTE has long encouraged members—collectively, through state chapters, and individually—to build outreach efforts through advocacy and communication strategies. Today I want to remind you of the importance of also engaging members of your local community in these efforts. I’m not talking about your service work here; this is about strengthening the relevance and perceived value of your institution and program within the community.
AACTE President Sharon P. Robinson speaks at the briefing
On November 8, AACTE marked the national launch of edTPA with a briefing in front of a standing-room-only audience at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. A report released at the briefing presents results of 2 years of field testing and recommends a passing score for edTPA, the first preservice performance-based assessment available to every educator preparation program across the country.
The briefing’s panelists—including a classroom teacher who completed edTPA in her preparation program, a teacher educator, state policy leaders, and edTPA partners—celebrated the new measure of teaching readiness as evidence that the teacher preparation profession is taking control of its future. Panelists said using edTPA as part of a multi-measure assessment system encourages continuous improvement by both candidates and programs, and it strengthens partnerships between the PK-12 community and teacher preparation programs. They also agreed that implementing the assessment with integrity will take time and the engagement of all stakeholders.