Posts Tagged ‘reform’
I was honored to attend AACTE’s Clinical Practice Summit earlier this month, where the common theme was creating a unified profession to improve teacher preparation programs. It was wonderful to see so many passionate educators working to make improvements for future educators like me.
During the summit, I was able to sit in on the conversations of various groups and heard about roadblocks facing education policy. One that was mentioned repeatedly is the fact that many policy makers have no experience in education to inform policies that are truly helpful. There is also a persistent disconnect between higher education institutions and PK-12 schools. One participant noted that many principals still do not know what edTPA is, for example, making it hard to implement. This is just one of the many examples that show the necessity of better communicating and operating as a unified profession.
Carol E. Smith, longtime AACTE staffer who deftly guided the Association through the early standards movement and years of accreditation reforms, died June 6 in Falls Church, Virginia. She was 66.
A native of Johnson City, Tennessee, Smith gave 23 years of devoted service to AACTE. After an early career in the banking and legal fields, she joined the AACTE staff as an administrative assistant in 1985 and worked up to senior leadership as vice president for professional issues before leaving in 2008.
Her portfolio of responsibilities was vast, including orchestrating the Association’s liaison with the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, contributing to the design of the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium, and convening the Task Force on Teacher Education as a Moral Community, among others.
This post also appears on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas web site and is reposted with permission. 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.
Improving education in the Silver State and beyond was the focus of more than 250 educators, policy makers, and community leaders who gathered December 7 for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) inaugural “Summit on Nevada Education.”
The daylong conference, hosted by the UNLV College of Education (COE), drew decision makers from the local, state, and national levels to discuss policy opportunities in the wake of a landmark 2015 Nevada Legislative Session for education. Also front and center were Nevada’s role and impact on the national education conversation and the importance of partnerships to ensure quality education at all levels.
It’s sad but true: In October, a veteran teacher in Florida resigned because the conditions under which she was required to work did not support best practice. Despite her love of teaching and her “highly effective” ratings in evaluations, Wendy Bradshaw was trapped in an untenable position because she was required to deploy practices that were developmentally inappropriate for her young students.
Based on her extensive training in human growth and development, this highly credentialed professional with bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees would not persist in activities that she knew to be harmful to her students. “Developmentally appropriate practice is the bedrock upon which early childhood education best practices are based, and has decades of empirical support behind it,” she writes in her resignation letter. “However, the new reforms not only disregard this research, they are actively forcing teachers to engage in practices which are not only ineffective but actively harmful to child development and the learning process.”
A set of nine laudable principles to advance the teaching profession undergird an ambitious campaign organized by the Center for American Progress (CAP) that launches today. The new initiative, TeachStrong, targets improvements at every stage of the educator pipeline, from recruitment and preparation through licensure and career pathways, calling for a much-needed shift in focus in education policy away from test-and-punish accountability and toward strengthening the teaching profession.
TeachStrong attempts to elicit a common tune from the cacophony of voices across the education sector—from AACTE and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards to the National Council on Teacher Quality and Teach for America—with a “Path to Modernizing and Elevating Teaching” comprising nine goals:
As the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and their kindred iterations continue to gain traction in schools around the country, staff development efforts have been bringing in-service educators up to speed, and colleges of education have been adjusting their curricula to ensure that the field’s newest professionals are also ready for the new standards. Nowhere has this shift seen greater success than in Kentucky, which was the first state to adopt and implement CCSS. A recent AACTE webinar sponsored by the Learning First Alliance’s “Get It Right” campaign highlighted the remarkable progress made by institutions in the state.
Sometimes the story is as good as the headlines, and sometimes it’s even better. The New York Times op-ed “Teachers Aren’t Dumb” (Sept. 8) by Psychologist Daniel T. Willingham is a case in point. As Willingham notes, contrary to popular belief, new teachers are solid academic performers. And as his article asserts, they can benefit from the research on effective teaching that is being conducted in the schools of education that prepare them. Willingham also points out—with rhetorical hyberbole—that not all preparation programs are using the latest research. While program quality varies, the excellent preparation provided by the universities whose researchers he cites illustrates that teacher education has strong exemplars. Unfortunately, Willingham does not acknowledge the widespread change within the education preparation community.
The direction of today’s preparation programs is truly good news. Willingham accurately identifies two guiding principles for improving teacher preparation and program accountability: evaluate programs based on graduates’ performance on a rigorous, credible culminating assessment, and base that assessment (and programs’ content) on evidence of what works best for student learning.
As another ambitious teacher preparation innovation captures national attention, I invite you to join me in taking stock of how widespread creative change has become in this field. The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently announced the launch of their brand-new research laboratory and graduate program to prepare teachers and school leaders. The educator preparation field, already rife with innovation, welcomes the new Woodrow Wilson Academy of Teaching and Learning as the latest partner in a robust entrepreneurial environment.
While I do not embrace the negative rhetoric that accompanied the new program’s announcement, I am keenly interested in the work. In fact, the Academy’s goals are quite aligned with those being addressed by many other educator preparation providers and organizations. Foundation President Arthur Levine and his partners at MIT will find themselves in good company as they pursue their particular reform interests and share their findings.
A new partnership between the Woodrow Wilson Foundation and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) launched last week to “transform policy and practice” in educator preparation. Announced June 16, the new Woodrow Wilson Academy of Teaching and Learning will be a graduate school of education based at MIT that conducts research and offers competency-based master’s programs in teaching and school leadership.
Foundation President Arthur Levine, former president of Teachers College at Columbia University (NY), touted the academy’s plan to “throw out the clock”—focusing on its students’ mastery of competencies rather than on credit hours—and to produce open-source course modules for ease of replication nationwide.
The AACTE Learning Center now includes recordings of all six major forums from the 67th AACTE Annual Meeting in Atlanta. Anyone who was registered for the conference may log in to the Learning Center to view the videos and slides from the forums: