Illustration by Page Vickers
This opinion article by AACTE Dean in Residence Leslie T. Fenwick was published in Politico and is reprinted with permission.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated harmful educational inequalities in the preK-12 public education system. The nation’s poorest students, Black and Latino students, and our disabled students have been the most negatively impacted by school closings necessitated by the pandemic. Black students in high poverty schools have been especially hard hit because of the racialized, historic, and ongoing disinvestment in the education of Black children and youth.
Have you considered volunteering for a leadership position in AACTE? Whether you volunteer to lend your talent and expertise to one of AACTE’s programmatic advisory committees or seek a position on the Board of Directors, now is a great time to step forward. Educator preparation is an essential element of our nation’s recovery from the pandemic, and AACTE is at the center of national efforts to ensure that all students receive the expert instruction and support they need and deserve.
The nomination deadline has been extended so more AACTE members can take advantage of this fantastic professional opportunity. Nominations are now due by May 28 to serve on the AACTE Board of Directors or on of the following programmatic advisory committees:
AACTE is partnering with the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE) to provide AACTE members with a reduced rate for the Teacher Educator Technology Competencies (TETC) professional development modules. Learn more about the series of self-paced online courses from the TETC research team.
Looking back, it seems as if we have been on an almost impossible journey. In response to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, we faced the closure of campuses and an abrupt and extraordinarily difficult transition to remote teaching and learning. Given the relational and experiential nature of teaching, remote learning has been particularly difficult for teacher preparation programs. We found it extraordinarily difficult to replace the modeling and mentoring that our pre-service teachers needed using remote experiences. Working from home and balancing various responsibilities including caring for loved ones and supporting our own children’s learning only added to the challenge. Undoubtedly, this has been one of the most challenging times many of us have ever experienced.
And yet, despite all this, there have been some bright spots. Faculty have explored new ways of guiding learning, developed a range of new skills with educational technologies, and were reminded of the value and importance of deep human connection in teaching and learning (Ferdig et al., 2020). Some faculty have even reported that they are planning to carry over aspects of remote teaching when they transition back to the “normalcy” in our schools and classrooms; whatever that will be (also, see these hopeful posts on the AACTE blog, Clausen, et al, 2021; Hyler, 2020; Slykhuis, 2020).
House Hearings Focus on Education Budget and Students with Disabilities
This blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide updated information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.
A congressional hearing before the House Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees education spending on Wednesday focused on President Biden’s FY 2022 education spending proposal. It featured an extended conversation between Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and lawmakers about the importance of having students return to in person learning. “The best equity lever we have is in-person learning, now. Not the fall—now,” Cardona told lawmakers during the hearing. “We need to get our kids back, right away.”
For the fifth consecutive year, Appalachian State University leads the nation for the number of its Reich College of Education (RCOE) alumni who are National Board Certified Teachers (NBCT).
The national certification is based on a rigorous performance-based assessment that typically takes from one to three years to complete and measures what accomplished teachers and counselors should know and be able to do.
The university topped the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards’ list of “Top 50 Alma Maters by Total Number of NBCTs” for 2020, with 2,178 alumni having earned the national credential to date.
Through AACTE’s conferences, meetings, surveys, and even informal conversations, AACTE staff members stay well informed about the successes and challenges of your educator preparation programs (EPPs). The government relations team is particularly attuned to the challenges where the federal government can play an important role in contributing to solutions and is in regular touch with members of congress and their staffers. AACTE provides input into legislative proposals, offering feedback as to why a provision may or may not be effective and providing information from you about current trends—including the impact of the transition to remote teaching because of COVID-19, ongoing racial injustice, declining enrollment in EPPs, the cost of college, and financial challenges future educators will face.
AACTE is an amplifying voice between you, members who are doing the important work in the field, and policy makers, who need to understand what is happening in the field to offer sound policy recommendations. Recently, President Biden announced the American Families Plan, which includes an unprecedented $9 billion to help address our nation’s teacher shortage. The plan calls for, among other things, doubling the annual amount of TEACH grants from $4,000 to $8,000 per year; $2.8 billion for year-long, paid teacher residency programs and Grow Your Own programs; $400 million for teacher preparation at minority-serving institutions (MSIs); $900 million for the preparation of new special educators; $1.6 billion for educators to obtain additional certifications in high-demand fields such as special education and bilingual education; and $2 billion to support the development of teachers as leaders and high-quality mentorship programs for new teachers and teachers of color.
AACTE congratulates 2021 National Teacher of the Year Juliana Urtubey and AACTE member Institution The University of Arizona (UArizona) for preparing her for a distinguished teaching career. Urtubey holds a bachelor of arts in bilingual elementary education and a master’s degree in special bilingual education from UArizona.
The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) today announced that Juliana Urtubey, an elementary school special education teacher, is the 2021 National Teacher of the Year.
Urtubey, an educator for 11 years, teaches at Kermit R. Booker, Sr. Innovative Elementary School in Las Vegas, where she serves as a co-teacher in pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade special education settings and as an instructional strategist developing supports to meet students’ differing academic, social-emotional, and behavioral needs.
Known as “Ms. Earth” for her efforts to beautify schools and unify the community through murals and gardens, Urtubey has helped raise funds for garden programs at two Las Vegas schools. In one program, the garden was tended to by the student “Garden Gnomies” club and offered opportunities for innovative student learning and intergenerational learning and connections to the wider community.
Growing up, my primary school housed students from first to eighth grade and served mostly students of color. Prior to the pandemic, I attended a celebration for the retirement of Mrs. P, my eighth-grade teacher. The room was packed; filled with people of various ethnic and linguistic backgrounds. I heard families speaking Spanish, Tagalog, Italian, and English. Mrs. P was a teacher for 45 years and taught generations of children within families. As I looked around the room I witnessed tears, joy, and laughter. Then one by one individuals stood and told their own story of how Mrs. P. touched their lives and the lives of their families. I listened intently and felt the power of the stories being shared. In that moment, I experienced such awe in the woman who inspired me to go into the profession of education and pride in my connection to her and the ministry of teaching.
To support the academic, professional and personal growth of Holmes Program participants, AACTE will offer a learning series this summer to Holmes doctoral and master’s students at participating institutions. The sessions offered in the upcoming series will be led by diverse and accomplished leaders in the field. All sessions will build on prior professional development that have been offered to the Holmes Program participants and will address their unique needs as graduate students of color who are pursuing degrees in education.
The session details, descriptions, and links to register are below.
AACTE is pleased to announce the selected states for the Consortium for Research-Based and Equitable Assessments (CREA), a new initiative supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Consortium, comprised of 14 state teams that include educator preparation programs (EPPs) and their state and local education agencies, will evaluate cut scores for entrance into EPPs, and develop recommendations and model state policies to support state efforts to advance equity and recruit more diverse teacher candidates into the profession.
The 14 selected states and institutions include the following:
Exactly two months to the day after President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 with $125 billion carved out for education, Mursion will host Jacqueline Rodriguez, vice president for research, policy, & advocacy at the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), for a candid discussion on the challenges and opportunities ahead. From her unique perspective, Rodriguez will share AACTE’s continuing important work for addressing learning loss, critical societal matters that affect education, and the shortage of teachers that has not abated.
These are challenging and exciting times for leaders in educator preparation. As our institutions strive to recover from the pandemic, there is the promise of dramatically expanded funding from Washington to address the teacher shortage. And as we continue to reel from acts of racial violence, educator preparation is playing a leadership role in helping teachers and school leaders understand and address systemic racism.
With all that we have to do in our “day jobs,” service on the AACTE Board of Directors may seem like an obligation that isn’t worth the effort. I have found it to be just the opposite. Serving on the AACTE Board of Directors has been a valuable way to make a difference, and has given me insights and connections that significantly added to my ability to serve my institution. I have grown as a leader, broadened my professional network, and gained a deeper understanding of our field and the wider political and social environment. It also has been deeply gratifying to contribute to AACTE’s work in advancing educator preparation.
Connect360 is the place for you to tap into the knowledge of the AACTE community anytime, from anywhere. Watch the video to learn more about AACTE Connect360 and visit aacteconnect360.org to get involved. For the latest in what’s happening with AACTE’s new online community, follow us at #AACTE360.
It is the time of year when AACTE puts out a call for nominations to its programmatic advisory committees. These committees serve the association by providing expert member advice on a wide range of topics related to AACTE’s programs and services. Whatever your professional interests, there is likely a committee that would benefit from your participation.
Have you thought about nominating yourself, but wondered whether serving on one of these committees would be right for you? I can assure you that serving on a programmatic advisory committee is enjoyable, rewarding, and a great professional networking and learning experience. By serving on a committee, you will:
- Ensure that AACTE’s programs and services meet your needs and the needs of your colleagues and institution
- Broaden your professional network to include colleagues from a wide range of institutions around the country
- Deepen your understanding of educator preparation
- Have fun interacting with smart and committed AACTE members and staff
Photo by Allison Shelley for EDUimages
On behalf of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone issued the following statement to celebrate educators during National Teacher Appreciation Week:
“One of the most pervasive truths in American public education is that great teachers transform lives. COVID-19 illuminated the vital role teachers play in our communities. As parents struggled to balance work, supervise virtual classrooms, and co-educate their children, a new awareness and appreciation arose for the influence, importance, and value of teachers. Educators across America have learned new technologies, created innovative ways to reach students online, and, above all, kept education moving forward. As we celebrate National Teacher Appreciation Week, AACTE thanks these critical front-line workers for their adaptability, ingenuity, and dedication and recognizes the difficult circumstances they face in returning to the classroom.