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Posts Tagged ‘alternative routes’

Let’s Get It Right Together: Tapping Educators’ Expertise for Successful State Policy

This article appeared in the “Regional Roundup” newsletter of the Council of State Governments West and is reprinted with permission. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

Utah is grappling with many of the same education challenges plaguing other states: high teacher turnover; persistent staffing shortages in key fields, demographic areas, and districts; inadequate access to performance data; and the list goes on. As legislators work to address these challenges, they stand the best chance of success if they develop solutions in collaboration with professional educators. Without the benefit of educator perspectives, well-meaning legislators risk developing and implementing policy that will not adequately address these challenges, and may even contribute to them.

What We (Don’t) Know About Independent Teacher Preparation Programs

The following article is reposted with permission from the University of Washington College of Education website. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of AACTE.

As some advocacy groups push to deregulate the preparation of teachers and expand independent, alternative routes into teaching, a new policy brief authored by the University of Washington College of Education’s Ken Zeichner reviews what is known about the quality of five of the most prominent independent teacher education programs in the United States.

ESSA: Hardly Perfect, But Progress to Build On

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

Many people in the teaching profession are applauding the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which President Barack Obama signed into federal law in December. ESSA is not perfect, but what law or federal mandate is? The purpose of ESSA, in short, is to modernize and fix the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which turned into a broken system that, for more than a decade, did far more harm than good.

ESSA, to be sure, addresses some of NCLB’s biggest problems. The good news is that it allows for greater flexibility and opportunities for educator preparation programs to be creative and innovative in impacting PK-12 student learning with local districts and other partners. It also requires states to adopt challenging academic content standards and entrance requirements for credit-bearing course work in the state’s system of public higher education. These changes, among others, are long overdue.

Member Voices: Bringing Teacher Educators to the ESSA Implementation Table

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

In December 2015, I published an op-ed in the Washington Post in which I discussed my concerns with some of the teacher education provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). I focused my comments on a section within the law that gives states the authority to use some of their Title II funds to establish “teacher preparation academies.” These academies would, in my opinion, lower standards for preparing teachers and would also support a general downward spiral in standards beyond the academies that would weaken public education.

The academies provision is the most prescriptive option under Title II and could require states to change laws that would lower standards for teacher education programs. For example, if states choose to support teacher preparation academies, then they would not be allowed to place any “unnecessary restrictions on the methods of the academy” which includes requiring faculty to have advanced degrees or placing any restrictions on undergraduate or professional course work. While it is not certain that programs with lower standards would be funded under the academy provision, this option opens the door to that possibility.

Plums and Lemonade: Making the Most of ESSA

On December 10, after many painful years of wrestling with the heavy-handed No Child Left Behind Act and state waivers that were often more prescriptive than the law itself, educators finally got a new federal law governing PK-12 education. Its replacement, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), promises to return power to the states, reduce accountability burdens, and broaden the scope of support for students with the greatest needs. I join my fellow educators around the country in celebrating these improvements.

Nonetheless, there are lemons lurking among the plums in the new ESSA. This law contains more concessions to reformist entrepreneurs and venture philanthropists than many of us would like. For example, one provision in Title II allows states to create charter-like “academies” for preparing teachers and principals for high-need schools—an idea that has been debated for several years and widely opposed by education organizations. Now that it is part of the law, however, we will do well to heed Maya Angelou’s advice: if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. So let’s celebrate the plums and then get busy making lemonade.

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.

Coalition for Teaching Quality Submits Commentary on HQT Data Collection

Tomorrow, April 18, is the deadline for public comment on the proposed “highly qualified teacher” (HQT) data collection by the U.S. Department of Education. A detailed letter submitted yesterday by the Coalition for Teaching Quality hails the proposed collection as “an important first step towards meeting the legislative intent” of Congress’ directive to report on the extent to which students in certain high-need categories are taught by teachers who are labeled as “highly qualified,” but who are actually teachers-in-training in alternative routes. 

New Issue of JTE: Politics of VAM, Finnish Context for Teacher Prep, NCTQ Critique, and More Now Online

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.

Department of Education Solicits Comments on Highly Qualified Teacher Data Collection

In response to a recent solicitation from the U.S. Department of Education, AACTE will be submitting comments on a proposed data collection regarding “highly qualified teachers.” We also sent an action alert November 4 to members of our Grassroots Action Network, encouraging members to send their own comments as well.

In September 2012—more than a year ago—AACTE and the 90+ other members of the Coalition for Teaching Quality won a significant victory when Congress passed a law requiring the Department of Education to collect data regarding the number of teachers-in-training currently serving as teachers of record. Specifically, the Department of Education is required to submit a report to Congress on the extent to which students with disabilities, English learners, students in rural areas, and students from low-income families are taught by teachers-in-training. For more background on this issue, see this article from AACTE’s Advisor.

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