Robust Florida State Chapter Expanding Membership, Advocacy
On October 24, I had the great pleasure of joining the Florida Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (FACTE) for its fall conference. With 130 people in attendance and the announcement of a new executive director, FACTE is going strong.
After years of outstanding service, Bob Shockley (Florida Atlantic University) retired as executive director, and FACTE welcomed Terry Osborn (University of South Florida) as its new head. AACTE’s membership ambassador, former FACTE chair Jennifer Platt, shared with FACTE the many benefits of joining AACTE. And we all welcomed Flagler College into the AACTE family as a new member.
The meeting allowed me to spend several hours talking with FACTE members about recent developments in Washington, DC: the government shutdown, the fiscal mess, reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Higher Education Act, the new accreditation standards, and AACTE’s new initiative, Ed Prep 3.0, which will be formally launched at our Annual Meeting in March. We discussed the importance of advocacy and of staying optimistic and proactive in an environment that at times can seem hostile. We acknowledged the revolutionary changes under way in so many sectors of our society, including education, and how to withstand the times when that surge of change feels overwhelming. Within the swirl of change, we agreed, there is always opportunity for progress. By asserting a strong, consistent message about quality and the innovations under way, teacher educators put forward a vision of the future and how they are an essential part of it.
We reviewed the Educator Preparation Reform Act (S. 1062/HR 2171) and the positive vision it conveys for the future of educator preparation. FACTE members provided samples of their work in implementing the Common Core State Standards—the beginnings of a collection that AACTE will be gathering from all members and sharing through an inventory. We talked about the Advocacy Toolkit available on the AACTE web site and the importance of attending our next annual Day on the Hill, June 11-12, 2014. More than 60 FACTE members signed up to join AACTE’s Grassroots Action Network, bringing our total to 360! (To sign up, contact Jon Gentile at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Florida is home to significant education policy reform, and FACTE and its members are hard at work to be a part of the dialogue. With their annual spring Day on the Hill, members will aim to educate their state policy makers about the significance of high-quality preparation and the difference it makes in the academic progress of students.
My parting message to FACTE, as it is to all of us in the advocacy world, was “Remember: If you’re not at the table, you’re probably on the menu!”
Much thanks to Marci Greene, FACTE president, and Trish Parrish, incoming president, for the warm hospitality and the great work that the Florida team continues to do. If you’d like AACTE staff to present at your state chapter meeting, visit the AACTE web site to learn what topics are available and request a presentation.
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