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.”
I had the honor of attending a half-day conference at the White House last month celebrating the Operation Educate the Educators program, a joint initiative of AACTE and the Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC) to better prepare school personnel to meet the needs of military-connected children.
The April 13 event marked not only the Month of the Military Child but also the 5-year anniversary of Joining Forces, a critical initiative launched by First Lady Michelle Obama and Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden to support military families’ health, education, and employment. Operation Educate the Educators is a key player in the education component, comprising an impressive array of programming at more than 100 AACTE member institutions and others across the country. Biden also spoke on a related panel earlier in the week at the American Educational Research Association conference.
AACTE joins the National Education Association (NEA) and the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) in celebrating terrific teachers during National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 2-6, and National Teacher Day, May 3.
Tune in to the White House tomorrow as President Obama recognizes this year’s national and state teachers of the year, and don’t forget to reach out to congratulate any honorees who are alumni of your programs!
How can you get involved in the teacher celebration? In addition to holding events for your alumni or simply thanking teachers in person, here are some easy ways to engage on social media:
In February, the Louisiana Department of Education hosted representatives from six states in the Council of Chief State School Officers’ Network for Transforming Educator Preparation (NTEP). Formed in 2013, this aligned action network brings together state chiefs and their education agency staff who are committed to activating key policy levers around licensure, program approval, and data as they transform educator preparation in their respective states. As a representative from the Missouri NTEP team, I joined colleagues from five states—Georgia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and Washington—on the visit to Baton Rouge to attend Louisiana’s Believe and Prepare Community Meeting and learn from the work of practitioners, programs, and districts across Louisiana leading efforts to improve educator preparation.
Have you tried walking around with just one eye open? It’s tough: Your field of vision is limited; your balance suffers; you lack depth perception. Our brains need a variety of signals to bring the world into focus—and of course, this holds true not only for eyesight, but for our comprehension of just about everything.
Educator preparation is no exception. To help us meet the demands of professional practice, we form partnerships that span varying perspectives. One-dimensional views issued from the academy are as unhelpful as those emanating from the state house. But we find meaning and make progress on the tough questions when we tackle them from many angles at once, embracing complexity as an element that is essential to moving forward.
AACTE’s upcoming Annual Meeting—a convening primarily for teacher educators—will bring in these key viewpoints with significant participation from the world of practice and beyond. Beginning with preconference events and running through sessions large and small, this conference will provoke new insights on problems of practice through multidimensional views.
The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.
With the signing of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in December 2015, there was an intentional shift in power from the federal government to the states when compared with its predecessor, the No Child Left Behind Act. There is great value in having more autonomy and accountability at the state level, and in many ways California has been ahead of this curve in terms of a strong statewide approach that focuses on local control and multiple measures of effectiveness. Under the leadership of California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Chair Linda Darling-Hammond, the state has forged a new path around program quality and assessment, revising its policies and practices to focus on outcomes instead of inputs. In many ways, this shift anticipated what was put into law with ESSA.
Ed Prep Matters is featuring “Stories of Impact” to showcase AACTE member institutions with educator preparation programs that are making a positive impact in their communities and beyond through innovative practices. We are committed to sharing members’ success stories and encourage you to do the same.
It’s no secret that Georgia, like many states throughout our nation, struggles to recruit highly qualified teachers committed to serving students in high-need schools in urban and rural communities—especially in math, science, and special education. When you take into consideration the state’s explosive population growth over the last several years, one-third of new teachers leaving the profession within 3 to 5 years, and a large number of retiring teachers, it is imperative that institutions responsible for teacher preparation work together to find a solution to the staffing crisis.
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.
Political advocacy was the focus of much work this fall for the Massachusetts Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (MACTE). The national attention to teacher preparation policy, from the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to the proposed teacher preparation program regulations, inspired our state chapter to respond in a big way. We were—and are—determined to tell our story.
As a first step, the MACTE Executive Board created a “take home document” to educate our elected officials, highlighting some of the current work of member institutions. We pointed out initiatives and programs that were specifically developed to meet the greatest needs of our PK-12 partners and, ultimately, the needs of the students in the commonwealth. To compile this document, we put a call out to all of our member institutions to tell us what they were doing across five main focus areas:
To help you tell your story, AACTE is hosting a three-part webinar series this fall titled “If You Don’t Say It, Who Will?” which offers strategies for how to engage your internal networks and PK-12 partners as well as how to be sure the media and other audiences hear your messages. Won’t you join us in our ongoing campaign to debunk myths about educator preparation and teacher quality?
The first webinar in the series ran November 16, as dozens of you tuned in for “If You Don’t Say It, Who Will? Engaging Internal Networks to Tell Your Story” led by AACTE Director of Marketing and Communications Jerrica Thurman. This event taught participants how to create engagement and communication within their institutions to build a stronger channel for promoting the meaningful work happening in their educator preparation programs. Thurman also shared strategies for recruiting students, faculty, communication officers, and others to spread the word about the impact their program is making. In addition to discussing how to develop dynamic key messages and to identify news worthy to share, Thurman walked participants through the steps to develop a successful communications strategy: