As part of its Principal Pipeline Initiative, the Wallace Foundation last week convened its National Provider and Graduate Principal Professional Learning Community (National Provider PLC). I attended the meeting on behalf of AACTE, which is a communications partner for the initiative.
The National Provider PLC, launched in April, offers an opportunity for the initiative’s principal preparation providers, program alumni, and district administrators to collaborate in determining the most effective and efficient way to identify, develop, and support effective school leaders. Each district in the Principal Pipeline Initiative—Charlotte-Mecklenburg (NC), Denver (CO), Gwinnett County (GA), Hillsborough County (FL), New York City (NY), and Prince George’s County (MD)—also participates in a local PLC. In all, 20 principal preparation programs and 20 graduate principals are involved in this change-driving work, and, of the programs, half are AACTE member institutions.
A major forum at AACTE’s 2014 Annual Meeting will feature efforts to redesign elementary preparation programs so that they are aligned with current PK-12 school expectations, provide deeper content engagement, and offer pedagogical practices with a greater impact.
Preparing elementary school teachers can be challenging, as they need to be well-versed in many subject areas and particularly attuned to the developmental needs of young learners. Indeed, many preparation programs have struggled to produce coherent curriculum to effectively prepare teacher candidates for the early grades.
Recent budget cuts at the federal, state, and local levels are affecting the delivery of special education services for students with disabilities, according to a new survey conducted by the National Coalition on Personnel Shortages in Special Education and Related Services (NCPSSERS), of which AACTE is a member.
The survey of more than 1,000 special education professionals from all 50 states, which was featured in Education Week, shows that the impact of federal, state, and local budget cuts on special education is most evident in an increase in caseload, class size, and reduced professional development opportunities.
On December 17, the U.S. Department of Education issued a formal Request for Information (RFI) about the development of its new system for rating institutions of higher education, officially known as the Postsecondary Institution Ratings System (PIRS). (Note: This system aims to rate institutions as a whole, not their various divisions, although educator preparation programs would be a part of their institutions’ rating.)
The Department is urging higher education faculty, students, parents, researchers, data experts, advocacy groups, organizations with expertise in developing rating systems, and others to provide information about what should be included in this rating system. The deadline for submission is January 31.
Earlier this month, I participated in a workshop of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation’s State Alliance for Clinical Preparation and Partnerships in Louisville, Kentucky. The 11 states in the alliance (Alabama, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Oregon) have formed a network to improve the systemic infrastructure supporting high-quality clinical experiences for teacher candidates. Mark LaCelle-Peterson, senior vice president for Engagement, Research, and Development at CAEP, framed the discussions over the 3 days with the following quote: “We have a system of education, but we do not have a system of clinical preparation.”
AACTE invites member institutions to apply to join a new initiative, Changing the Demographic Makeup of the Teaching Workforce, which will help 10 institutions increase the number of Black and Hispanic men receiving initial teaching certification through their programs.
The initiative will be AACTE’s first “networked improvement community” (NIC). NICs use the principles of improvement science to analyze a problem and design innovations. They leverage the community of participants to test and refine those interventions in a variety of contexts and to distribute those interventions broadly. AACTE’s NIC will focus on areas for intervention such as recruitment strategies, equity-based admissions policies, incentives to pursue a career in teaching, and others identified by NIC members.
A major forum at AACTE’s 2014 Annual Meeting will examine current efforts to redesign secondary mathematics teacher preparation programs so that they correspond to the pedagogical shifts demanded by the Common Core State Standards.
As states and districts across the country are transitioning to the Common Core, understanding the distinct pedagogical and content-specific shifts is a critical element to implementation and teaching practices—which holds significant implications for educator preparation programs. The Common Core math standards, for example, call for significant deep focus in the early grades and eliminate the vast majority of topics covered in current state standards. The secondary grades are restructured in grade bands rather than in content-specific subjects, requiring secondary math courses to be completely redesigned.
On December 5, the world lost one of the more important leaders of all time, Nelson Mandela.
Mandela epitomized what many in U.S. educator preparation programs hope to instill in our education leaders and teachers—a strong understanding of and commitment to social justice. Unfortunately, although we believe that all children and youth should receive a high-quality education and be treated with dignity and respect in the classroom, this ideal is in sharp contrast to reality.
Far too many of our children and youth, especially those in urban communities, are in classrooms with teachers who are underprepared or simply not equipped to teach those they perceive as different. Even as many of our preparation programs are implementing practices that limit “admission” to the field of teaching to those most ready to enter the classroom after rigorous study and strong clinical practice, the different pathways to the profession that some states have put into place may lead to an increase rather than a decrease in the achievement gap that currently exists between children and youth of different classes and races.
On December 12, the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) and Pearson’s Center for Educator Effectiveness released a research report at an interactive launch event at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.
At the event, a panel of several former teachers of the year joined American Enterprise Institute Resident Scholar Frederick Hess to discuss the conditions necessary to develop sustainable career pathways that might make teaching a more attractive career option for a new generation of educators. The panel also discussed the benefits of teacher preparation resources such as edTPA and the role of educator preparation programs in enhancing teacher leadership roles.
Whitworth University (WA)
California Polytechnic State University Pomona
Blanche Jackson Glimps
Tennessee State University
Northern Arizona University
Congratulations to the future members of AACTE’s Board of Directors!
On December 12, I attended a hearing in the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) billed as “Accreditation as Quality Assurance: Meeting the Needs of 21st Century Learning.” This was one of a series of 13 hearings the Committee is holding in preparation for the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) chaired the hearing, and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) sat as ranking Republican on the Committee. Other members in attendance were Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Al Franken (D-MN), and Christopher Murphy (D-CT). A full recording of the hearing along with written remarks from speakers can be found here. (You will note my presence in the audience!)
State and national policy trends around teaching credentials will be the focus of a major forum at AACTE’s 2014 Annual Meeting, “Maintaining the Value of the Teaching Credential: Challenges and Opportunities.”
The teaching credential is facing challenges at all levels. Several states have devalued the worth of the master’s degree as it relates to advanced certification, and others now award the same credential to new teachers regardless of whether they have completed their preparation. At the federal level, serious discussions are taking place as to what standard, if any, should exist to enter the teaching profession.
This post also appears on the AACTE Annual Meeting site.
There are about 300 sessions at each Annual Meeting and only one of you. AACTE will be recording all the general sessions and major forums for you to access later through the Learning Center, but how should you choose from the many concurrent sessions?
One way to filter your choices is by conference strand. For example, here are some sessions from Strand II: Creating Innovative and Culturally Relevant Pedagogy to get you started.
The editors of Go Teach magazine recently turned to AACTE to help prospective teacher candidates navigate the proliferation of conflicting visions of what constitutes effective teacher preparation. In response, my colleague Saroja Barnes and I coauthored an article for the magazine that ran in the November/December issue as the cover story, “How to Choose an Effective Teacher Preparation Program.”
Based on relevant research on teacher preparation, the article points to several key components of high-quality programs that potential teacher candidates should consider. Structured by seven key questions, the article guides prospective candidates to think through the following issues when exploring teacher preparation pathways:
AACTE’s Advisory Council of State Representatives (ACSR) will sponsor a major forum at AACTE’s 2014 Annual Meeting focused on “Clinical Preparation, From Policy to Research to Practice: Strengthening the Programs.”
Research and practice have demonstrated for decades that sustained and high-quality clinical experiences positively contribute to the effectiveness of new teachers and to the likelihood that they will stay in the classroom longer. Unfortunately, preparation providers encounter myriad constraints in developing clinical programming, particularly stemming from challenges facing their PK-12 partners. Today’s school systems are being pressured to implement new teacher evaluation systems amidst new standards, new assessments, and changes to tenure laws—all within the context of significant economic hardships. Despite these challenges, many preparation providers are exploring multiple partnerships and intensive clinical programs, such as a full-year internship or residency, with local districts to ensure that their candidates have high-quality experiences.