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New Research-to-Practice Spotlight Videos Feature Bowling Green and Portland State Universities


AACTE identified and documented two exemplary teacher preparation programs that ensure all of their candidates are ready to work with all students, including students with disabilities. We are pleased to feature a set of videos from each program documenting how they implement curriculum for dual certification (general education and special education) and feature extensive clinical preparation.

Bowling Green State University’s undergraduate Inclusive Early Childhood Program and Portland State University’s Secondary Dual Education Program support new and beginning teachers in teaching in inclusive classrooms. Both programs lead to certifications in general and special education. “These institutions ensure that all educators have the skills to work with students with disabilities in the 21st century,” said AACTE Consultant Jane West, “School districts scramble to hire these outstanding students, as they come with the mindset and the skillset to be effective with all students.”

2019 Session Explored AACTE Initiatives toward Increasing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion


The “AACTE Initiatives toward Increasing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Colleges of Teacher Education” Deeper Dive session was held during the 2019 Annual Meeting.  The session highlighted the association’s current, ongoing, and future commitments in these areas in a discussion moderated by Jennifer Robinson of Montclair State University and included panelists Lillian Sharon Leathers of William Paterson University of New Jersey and AACTE’s Jacqueline King, Jacqueline Rodriguez, and Jane West.

King, author of AACTE’s recently published Education Students and Diversity: A Review of New Evidence report, described the findings, which showed that education is the least diverse in bachelor’s degree fields. King shared other important data such as 50% of African American education students and 40% of Hispanic education students are independent; 30% of African American students and 20% Hispanic students had children; and 20% African American students were single parents. She emphasized that child care, for example, is an issue that cannot be ignored when considering the matter of diversity.  In addition, 4% of Hispanic students are first generation students and 22% do not have a parent that has graduated from high school.  The study revealed that one in five African American students work full-time and that the median family income of white, dependent students is more than double of their African American and Hispanic peers.  

Session highlights Innovative Programs that Address Workforce Needs


During the AACTE 2019 Annual Meeting, panelists for the Deeper Dive session, “Innovations to Address Today’s Workforce Needs” examined inclusive education preparation and strategies to address the national teacher shortage. The session highlighted AACTE’s partnership with the Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform (CEEDAR) Center at the University of Florida and its federal supporters.

AACTE Consultant Jane West, who leads the Association’s work with CEEDAR, moderated a discussion with panelists Mary Murphy and Mark Seals (Bowling Green State University) and Marvin Lynn (Portland State University) on best practices at Bowling Green’s undergraduate teaching program and Portland State’s master’s program. 

Apply to join AACTE’s Special Education Teacher Shortage NIC


AACTE is now accepting applications from member institutions to join a new networked improvement community (NIC) focused on special education teacher recruitment and retention.

The shortage of special education teachers and the lack of diversity among all teachers have been well documented. Half of all schools and 90% of high-poverty schools struggle to find qualified special education teachers.

The aim of this NIC is to positively impact the special education teacher shortage and the lack of diversity in the special education teacher workforce in public schools. Participating institutions will identify a range of best practices related to increasing enrollment, strengthening partnerships with P-12 schools, and retaining special education teachers.

Read more about this new initiative on our website and in the Reducing the Shortage of Special Education Teachers NIC Charter.

Applications are due on April 1, 2019.  Member institutions will be selected through a structured review process and notified in late April of 2019. An introductory virtual meeting will be held in May of 2019, and the first in-person convening will be held in the fall of 2019.

AACTE to form Special Education Networked Improvement Community (NIC)

AACTE will launch a Networked Improvement Community focused on Special Education Teacher Recruitment and Retention in May of 2019. The NIC will investigate strategies to address the persistent shortages in the field of special education.

The shortage of special education teachers and the lack of diversity among all teachers have been well documented. Half of all schools and 90% of high-poverty schools struggle to find qualified special education teachers. Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia report special education teacher shortages. However, special education teacher shortages are not evenly distributed across the country. Generally, high poverty areas—both urban and rural—are most likely to experience the most severe teacher shortages, including those in special education. States vary in the degree of shortage they experience.

Visit #AACTE19 Gallery to Learn What’s Happening Around the Association


The AACTE Gallery will be offered again this year at the 2019 Annual Meeting in Louisville. It will feature mini presentations and a dedicated coffee and conversation space where Annual Meeting participants can chat with representatives from AACTE member and partner initiatives, as well as AACTE staff, to learn more about programs and opportunities of interest. The AACTE membership booth will also be located nearby, and staff will be on hand to share information and answer questions.

Come learn more about what’s been happening at AACTE this year! You can receive the latest updates on the AACTE Strategic Planning initiative, gain access to AACTE’s new research publication, Education Students and Diversity: A Review of New Evidence, and connect with AACTE members and partners for information about their innovative projects. For all of this and more, be sure to add the AACTE Gallery time blocks to your personalized 2019 Annual Meeting Online Event Planner schedule. The Gallery will offer opportunities to network while learning about promising innovations in educator preparation.

Doctoral Students Receive Jane West SPARK Award for Policy Work on Special Education

Congratulations to Ashley L. White and Cassandra B. Willis (pictured left to right) for receiving the 2018 Jane West SPARK Award at the Teacher Education Division (TED) of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) conference in November. The award, established in 2016, is given annually to individuals who advocate for special education in teacher preparation (e.g., government relations, letter writing, visits to Congressional members), and is committed to continuing this work in the future.

Ashley L. White
A doctoral student at the University of South Florida (USF), White received a 2015 doctoral fellowship for the Special Education Policy Studies, a grant specifically designed to prepare doctoral scholars as leaders in the field of special education policy. The following year, she was accepted to the Higher Education Consortium for Special Education’s (HECSE) Doctoral Short Course. HECSE is an organization that advocates for the “appropriate educational opportunities and effective school outcomes for millions of American children and youth with disabilities.” Since becoming involved in HECSE, her advocacy activities have included interning at the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) where she engaged in policy matters including but not limited to regulatory reforms, ED/OSEP grant priorities, and engagement with advocacy organizations. White also served as an HECSE intern, with responsibilities that included connecting faculty at USF with HECSE committees, distributing USF documents to its Congressional representatives, and arranging Hill visits for university faculty as well as all of HECSE’s Florida members.

AACTE Initiatives in Special Education Preparation Take Flight

AACTE is a national partner for the University of Florida’s Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform (CEEDAR) Center, which helps states and institutions of higher education to develop the ability of every teacher to prepare students with disabilities for college and careers. As a federally funded multi-million dollar project, CEEDAR works with AACTE and others to promote the preparation of all educators to have the mindset and skillset for effectively instructing students with disabilities along with all other students in the mainstream classroom.

“This initiative is about ensuring that all educators have the skills to work effectively with students with disabilities,” said AACTE Consultant Jane West, who leads the Association’s work with CEEDAR. “Special education has too often been considered a place and not a service. We are highlighting and promoting preparation for both general and special educators so they can provide effective instruction to students with disabilities in inclusive ways with an eye toward raising expectations and undermining the stigmatizing of students with disabilities.”

JTE Author Interview: Analyzing Historical Intersections Between General and Special Education to Support More Inclusive Practice

Check out the latest the JTE Insider blog interview by the Journal of Teacher Education (JTE) editorial team. This blog is available to the public, and AACTE members have free access to the articles in the JTE online archives—just log in with your AACTE profile.

This interview features insights from the JTE article, “Interrogating the Intersections Between General and Special Education in the History of Teacher Education Reform” by Linda P. Blanton, Marleen C. Pugach, and Mildred Boveda. The article appears in the Sept/Oct 2018 issue of JTE.

AACTE Clinical Practice Commission and Special Education Taskforce Collaborate on Next Steps

Nearly 40 members of the AACTE Clinical Practice Commission (CPC) and the Special Education Task Force met in Washington, DC on September 24-26 to discuss their separate and shared initiatives that serve as next steps for advancing the new CPC report. Released in January 2018, A Pivot Toward Clinical Practice, Its Lexicon, and the Renewal of Educator Preparation by the CPC offers a framework, guidance, and common lexicon to expand the operationalization of clinical educator preparation. Its 10 proclamations and tenets identify highly effective and evidence-based practices for embedding teacher preparation in the PK-12 environment.

During the planning session, the CPC developed a working plan to advance its emissary work and to create a site-based peer-coaching model. The Taskforce focused on finalizing a series of tenets that will be added to the existing CPC proclamations to provide more specific practice recommendations for special and inclusive educator preparation.

“The CPC met on the first day to discuss the next round of their work, which is to share findings of the report more broadly through focused emissary work and the development of peer coaching strategies,” said Amanda Lester, AACTE director of programs and professional learning. “This emissary work includes a defined plan that will help AACTE members learn more about how to implement the report’s research for developing or expanding their clinical practice model.”

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