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Inspiring, Interactive General Sessions at 2014 Annual Meeting

The call to “take charge of change” drew nearly 1,900 of you to Indianapolis last week for an exciting professional experience at AACTE’s 66th Annual Meeting. Videos of the general sessions are now available in AACTE’s Learning Center, and more recordings will be added in the coming days.

The Welcoming Session officially kicked off the conference March 1 with the announcement of AACTE’s new Innovation Exchange, presentation of several awards, and a keynote address by Diane Ravitch of New York University.

Ravitch railed against the current “era of hoaxes” in U.S. education reform—from Race to the Top to PISA, Teach for America, value-added methodology, and more—saying they are perpetuated in spite of evidence against their effectiveness. Sporting a shirt emblazoned with “Where Is the Evidence?” Ravitch implored us to stand up for what we know is right and not to allow reformists to put us on defense.

“Public education is a civic responsibility, not a consumer good,” she noted. “Teachers are first responders” who know that “the achievement gap exists on the first day of school.”

Click here for video of the Innovation Exchange announcement and the presentation of the Best Practice Award for the Innovative Use of Technology, the Best Practice Award in Support of Global Diversity, and the David G. Imig Award for Distinguished Achievement in Education.

Click here for video of Diane Ravitch’s address, including Q&A with the audience.

On March 2, an interactive Town Hall Meeting engaged audience members in discussion with AACTE’s elected leaders around hot topics in the profession.

Fayneese Miller (University of Vermont) facilitated the discussion, prompting participants to respond to multiple-choice questions using electronic clickers available throughout the room. Questions addressed overall priorities for the profession, accreditation, and the Innovation Exchange. Members of AACTE’s Executive Committee then addressed the responses and answered follow-up questions from the audience.

“We’re not interested in responding to criticism; we want to lead the conversation,” Miller said. “That’s what the Innovation Exchange is about: getting in front of the issues. We have to go back to our campuses to see what direction the conversation needs to move there.”

Click here for video of the Town Hall Meeting (member login required).

The final general session in Indianapolis, the Speaker Spotlight Session, was to have featured Kris Gutiérrez of the University of Colorado at Boulder, but illness kept her from traveling. Fortunately, the University of Michigan’s Deborah Loewenberg Ball, who was being honored with an award during the March 3 session, answered the call to fill in.

Ball presented intriguing arguments around the question of for what, and to whom, teacher preparation should hold itself accountable.

“Professionalizing teaching and teacher preparation is our responsibility,” she said, “not something that someone else can—or even should—be doing.”

Ball presented a four-point accountability agenda:

  1. Stand up for the power of teaching and the associated moral imperative.
  2. Understand the long-range context and history of the teaching profession, and preparation for teaching, in the United States.
  3. Articulate a specific common curriculum for initial preparation at a “grain size” that includes the language of practice.
  4. Make entry to independent practice more selective and based on skill.

Click here for video of Ball’s address, including Q&A with the audience, and here for her PowerPoint slides.

Click here for video of the presentation of the Edward C. Pomeroy Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teacher Education, the Outstanding Dissertation Award, the Outstanding Book Award, and the Outstanding Journal of Teacher Education Article Award.

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