It’s been a busy spring in Washington, DC, and there is a lot to stay on top of. For AACTE members, it’s not hard to catch up on the latest developments – just visit our archive of webinar recordings!
The most recent Federal Update webinar, held last week, is available in our archive. These exclusive, members-only webinars are held twice monthly while Congress is in session so that you can stay up to date on federal policy, funding, and other national-level developments related to educator preparation.
Join AACTE next week for two members-only webinars! Learn about the latest developments in Washington to inform your advocacy as well as resources to support you in applying for Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grants, for which funding was recently renewed in the omnibus legislation.
Teacher Quality Partnership Grants – Are You Ready to Apply?
On April 23, 3:00-4:00 p.m. EDT, we will highlight the Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grant program and how institutions can begin preparing for an anticipated new grant cycle. This webinar will point you to resources developed by the U.S. Department of Education to support you in developing your application. Current grantees have been invited to participate to offer their expertise as you craft your grant proposal. Click here to register.
Congressional briefing panelists (L–R) Jane Bray, Jennifer Robinson, Mario Santos, Lisa Fischman, Danielle Riley, and Qualyn McIntyre. Photo courtesy of Megan Shearin, Old Dominion University.
A well-attended congressional briefing February 14 highlighted the positive impact of Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grants in schools around the country, aiming to inspire lawmakers and staff to continue supporting the program as they reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA) and determine appropriations for federal spending.
In a packed Senate hearing room, the Valentine’s Day briefing presented testimony about how TQP grants have catalyzed improvements to educator preparation programs as well as to the schools and communities they serve. Dean Jane Bray of Old Dominion University (VA) served as moderator for the panel discussion.
On December 1, the Republicans of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce released their bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. H.R. 4508, the “Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity though Education Reform (PROSPER) Act,” would change or repeal aspects of the current law.
While we are still analyzing the bill, here are few key provisions that would affect educator preparation:
Faculty from three AACTE-member universities were featured guests in an Education Talk Radio show last month to discuss their experiences as Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grantees. Joining host Larry Jacobs were the following teacher educators:
- Christina K. O’Connor, Director, Professional Educator Preparation, Policy, and Accountability, and Co-Chair, Collaborative for Educator Preparation, University of North Carolina at Greensboro; Regional Director, North Carolina New Teacher Support Program
- DaShaunda Patterson, Clinical Assistant Professor, Educational Psychology, Special Education, and Communication Disorders, Georgia State University
- Jennifer Robinson, Director of the Center of Pedagogy, Montclair State University (NJ)
In 2014, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) received a federal Teacher Quality Partnership grant for a proposal called Transforming Teaching through Technology (TTtT), winning Year 1 funding of nearly $1.7 million, renewable for up to 5 years. Now, as the partners move into their fourth year of grant-funded collaboration, I asked Principal Investigator and Project Director Christina O’Connor for an update on their work and what it takes to secure continued funding from the U.S. Department of Education year after year.
The partnership among UNCG, Guilford County Schools, and Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools aims to prepare 300 teacher candidates per year with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to incorporate technology to promote academic learning for all students. The idea is to produce teachers who can embed technology and hands-on, problem-based instruction across all content areas. By approaching this work through partnerships, O’Connor noted, the strategies and lessons benefit not only preservice teachers but also the school-based educators and UNCG faculty.
On Friday, April 28, Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) for Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) extending funding through May 5 to avoid a federal government shutdown. Then working through the weekend, lawmakers reached an agreement on an omnibus appropriations bill (see PDF), which now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate for approval to fund the government through September 30.
The omnibus encompasses 11 of the 12 federal appropriations bills, as the remaining one – for Military Construction and Veterans Affairs – was completed last year. Included in the education section, which begins on page 1010 of the omnibus bill, is direction for the U.S. Department of Education to begin the work of offering year-round Pell grants. The Teacher Quality Partnership grants and the Special Education Personnel Preparation program are flat-funded. Title II-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the School Leader Recruitment and Support Grants, and the overall budget for the Institute of Education Sciences are reduced. Details on these areas can be found here.
Congratulations to the four newest recipients of federal Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grants! Coppin State University (MD), North Carolina A&T State University, the University of New Hampshire, and the University of West Alabama will share more than $5 million to improve the preparation of teachers through partnerships with 13 high-need, rural school districts.
The U.S. Department of Education yesterday announced the new 5-year grants, which will be divided among two partnerships with a prebaccalaureate preparation model and two others with residency-based models:
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations marked up the FY17 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-H) funding bill. This was the last of the 12 appropriations bills to be marked up by the full committee prior to the congressional recess.
During the markup, members of the committee submitted 32 amendments seeking to restore or increase funding to programs, clarify language, or repeal policy riders. Of key interest to educator preparation is an amendment offered by Representative David Price (D-NC) to restore funding for the Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grants, the only federal grant program designed to reform and strengthen teacher preparation across the nation. (See our fact sheet for an overview of the TQP grant program.) The son of two teachers, Price spoke passionately of his support for the TQP program and the work of grantees to strengthen teacher preparation. Unfortunately, this amendment failed, but the chairman of the subcommittee, Representative Tom Cole (R-OK), committed to further conversations on the matter as the appropriations process unfolds.
Last week the Coalition for Teaching Quality (CTQ) held a congressional briefing, “Strengthening Educator Recruitment, Development, and Support Through ESSA Implementation,” hosted by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Glenn Thompson (R-PA). At the briefing, CTQ released a series of new policy papers for supporting the educator pipeline and held a panel discussion that examined ways that the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) can support states and districts in improving the pipeline.
The briefing featured a former teacher residency student, Alexander Diaz from the Newark Montclair Urban Teacher Residency (NMUTR) Program, a federal Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grantee. Stressing the importance of the residency experience in the NMUTR program, Diaz said the program prepared him thoroughly, requiring students to apply their learning under the supervision of a master teacher.