This blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide update information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.
Congress Still Working to Avoid that Government Shutdown
The current continuing resolution—a bill that keeps the government temporarily funded – expires next week, on November 21. Congressional leaders have been scrambling this week to find a way to keep government funding extended beyond that time, and thus avoid a government shutdown. They appear to be closing in on another temporary funding extension—through December 20—predicated on progress on the big obstacle, which is agreeing on top line totals for each of the 12 funding bills. Since the House and Senate did not agree on those totals before they wrote their bills, there are significant discrepancies which can only be resolved by a House/Senate agreement on one figure for each bill. This is critical for the bill that funds education, as the House bill is about $5 billion more generous for education than the Senate draft bill.
The AACTE National Office Staff and I wish you a peaceful holiday and are grateful for your active involvement in AACTE. In this video, I share updates about what’s happening in the Association as we near the end of the year, including the latest details on the 2019 AACTE Board of Directors Election. Remember to cast your vote by November 29.
Please take a moment to watch the video message below (or read the transcript) to discover how you can stay involved with AACTE this holiday season.
Students of color are not the only winners when our school populations are diverse. Statistics show that white students also benefit substantially from attending integrated schools as diverse classrooms promote increased critical thinking and problem solving among students who work alongside students with differing perspectives and backgrounds than their own. (Getty Images)
This article, written by AACTE Director of Government Relations K. Ward Cummings, originally appeared in the Daily News Opinion section and is reprinted with permission.
The civil rights leader Malcolm X once famously said that the most segregated hour in American life is high noon on Sunday. If he were alive today, he might also include those weekday hours between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. when our children are in school.
This past May was the 65th anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education. The occasion inspired numerous panel discussions, seminars and reports about how much or how little the state of education has changed in the last half-century. Sadly, considerable attention also was paid to the subject of how segregated American schools remain 65 years later.
Readers of a certain age might be surprised to learn that the most segregated schools in America are not in the South, but in the North. Segregation persists nationwide despite persuasive arguments against it and clear evidence that the benefits of a racially and culturally diverse student body flow in both directions.
It has been proven that students of color attending integrated schools have higher average test scores and are less likely to drop out. In the 1970s and 1980s, when school integration was at its zenith, dropout rates decreased significantly for minority students. The decline was greatest in the most integrated districts.
The motto of the Royal Society, “Nullius in verba” translates as “Take nobody’s word for it.” However, when educators read journal articles reporting research findings, transparency is limited. For example, educators only see authors’ reports of findings, and do not have access to data (to verify reported findings) or to the details of the research procedures (to examine, for example, whether researchers developed their hypotheses after knowing the results). This lack of transparency is potentially problematic, because researchers may be driven to find and report positive and significant findings to enhance the odds of publication. Indeed, many educational researchers report engaging in questionable research practices that might help generate positive, but potentially biased, research findings (Makel, Hodges, Cook, & Plucker, 2019). Open science is an umbrella term, encompassing diverse initiatives that aim to increase transparency in research. We briefly describe three open-science practices here: pre-registration, Registered Reports, and open data.
Pre-registration involves researchers publicly posting (e.g., on the Registry of Efficacy and Effectiveness Studies) their hypotheses, research plans, and planned data analysis beforeconducting the study. In this way, changes made to a study’s hypotheses, research methods, and data analyses are discoverable by research consumers. Pre-registration does not mean that researchers cannot make changes to their studies. Rather, pre-registration encourages researchers to only make justifiable changes and to be transparent about them. Presumably because it minimizes the occurrence of questionable research practices, pre-registration has been shown to increase the likelihood of researchers reporting null findings (Kaplan & Irving, 2015).
Registered Reportstakes the idea of pre-registration and uses it as the basis for peer review. With Registered Reports, researchers submit their research plans to a journal before a study is conducted. The decision whether to accept the study for publication, then, rests on the quality of study design and the importance of the research questions, not the direction of the findings (because findings are not yet known). Reviewers of Registered Reports are able to give prospective feedback to improve a study, rather than simply critiquing a study after it is completed. After a Registered Report is granted in-principle acceptance, researchers conduct the study, write it up, and submit it for a second round of review, which simply involves reviewers ensuring that the study was conducted as designed (or any changes were clearly described and justified). Like pre-registration, Registered Reports are associated with a higher prevalence of null findings than traditional research (Schijen, Scheel, & Lakens, 2019).
Finally, open data involves researchers sharing, to the degree that it is ethically feasible, study data (with any potentially identifying information masked) on repositories such as the ICPSR. Sharing data allows others to (a) reproduce and verify study analyses, (b) extend the study by analyzing data to explore new research questions, and (c) combine data with that from other studies in research syntheses. Without shared data, research consumers are forced to take the researcher’s word for their findings, in contrast to the Royal Society’s motto.
Open-science reforms are not without obstacles. However, they may help increase the transparency and trustworthiness of the research that guide policy and practice in education and teacher preparation. As such, we hope that researchers will engage in open practices, and that professional organizations—such as AACTE—will encourage and reward open practices.
Read the latest 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.
In this interview, The JTE editorial team shares insights from the Sue C. Kimmel and Danielle E. Hartsfield, co-authors of the article “It Was . . . the Word ‘Scrotum’ on the First Page”: Educators’ Perspectives of Controversial Literature, published in the September/October 2019 issues of the Journal of Teacher Education.
What motivated you to pursue this particular research topic?
Sue: We both teach children’s literature, and we were interested in how our students who were pre-service educators reacted to controversy in children’s literature. We believe in the power of literature to promote empathy and positive inquiry into social issues. We were concerned with the willingness of pre-service educators to avoid “controversy” in the classroom and library with little critical thought about what it meant to withhold quality literature about difficult topics from their students.
The recent release of the 2019 Nation’s Report Cards for mathematics and reading in grades 4 and 8 illustrates a growing disparity in achievement between the highest and lowest achieving students. The results show the divergence is happening across the nation, across states, and for student groups by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), widely known as the Nation’s Report Card, provides data from the nation, states/jurisdictions, and urban school districts that volunteer to participate in the Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA). Approximately 296,900 fourth- and eighth-grade students across the nation participated in the 2019 mathematics assessment and nearly 294,000 fourth- and eighth-grade students across the nation participated in the 2019 reading assessment. Results are available for the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Department of Defense schools, as well as for the 27 participating large urban districts.
This article originally appeared in the Language Educator and is reprinted with permission from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.
The ability to collaborate and advocate beyond the classroom and across stakeholders, from department chairs to administrators to parents, is a crucial teacher leadership skill. Moreover, the critical shortage of world language teachers, combined with the diminishing number of U.S. students taking world language courses, means that teacher candidates in this content area must be strong advocates for their own profession from the moment they step into the classroom.
During my time as the world language advisor and methods instructor at the University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education, I have become increasingly preoccupied with the scarcity of world language teacher candidates, especially as compared to other content areas. I have wondered how our current candidates could apply their emerging leadership roles in ways that would encourage K–12 students to both continue learning languages and to also consider careers in world language education.