Are you looking to catch up on your reading over the holiday break? While you wait for the new issue of the Journal of Teacher Education (JTE) to arrive, here are some highlights of the current issue—which is also the final one edited by Stephanie Knight and her editorial team at Pennsylvania State University. (And the new editors at Michigan State University are eager to bring you their first issue in January!)
Containing general-topic articles as well as a special section addressing the theme of “Improvement Science for Teacher Professional Development,” the November/December 2015 issue is available online here. The theme section draws on the major forum organized by the JTE editors at the 2015 AACTE Annual Meeting (see video of the forum here) and is guest-edited by Paul LeMahieu, Ann Edwards, and Louis Gomez of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
This month’s editorial offers a peek behind the editorial curtain with a 5-year retrospective on Penn State’s term serving the journal. The editors provide a frank analysis of their work and insightful observations about challenges faced by the field related to rigor and relevance in teacher education research. They also include their usual overview of the current issue, which features the following articles:
Are you an AACTE member interested in online education? If so, please consider joining the Topical Action Group (TAG) on High-Quality Online Teaching and Learning.
The mission of this TAG is to advance the practice of high-quality online teaching and learning by providing current and fluent resources supporting educator preparation and student learning.
Over 940 emergency credentials have been issued this year by the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) as a result of the statewide teacher shortage. A preliminary report issued December 10 by a state task force offers recommendations that aim to tackle the problem on multiple fronts.
The task force, formed by the OSDE to identify and recommend strategies for reducing the shortage, includes more than 60 legislators, OSDE staff, educators, business leaders, teacher organizations, education advocacy groups, and other community-based stakeholders. I represent teacher preparation programs on the task force, particularly through my role as president of the Oklahoma Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (OACTE), a state affiliate of AACTE.
On December 18, the U.S. Department of Education published a notice in the Federal Register announcing its consideration of conducting negotiated rule making for the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The secretary invites advice and recommendations on standards and assessments as well as on the requirement that Title I, Part A funds “supplement, not supplant” state and local funds. The Department seeks feedback from stakeholders on other areas of Title I that could benefit from either guidance or regulation as the nation moves from No Child Left Behind (NCLB) to ESSA.
The Department also sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to states addressing pending transitions, including from current NCLB waivers to the new law. In the letter, the Department notes that it will not renew waivers or accept waiver applications from states that do not already have one.
How do you get ready for an accreditation site visit? How do you instill confidence that you have the right agenda, people, and resources? Learn how to set the stage for success with an online short course this winter.
In AACTE’s Online Professional Seminar (OPS) #6: Leveraging Accreditation for Quality Improvement, you’ll find pragmatic advice such as strategies for not just a mock visit, or dress rehearsal, but an earlier walk-through that builds in time for repair. Walking through the day you intend to share with site visitors should uncover gaps, logistical issues, and maybe even potholes. Hopefully you will also celebrate what you recognize as your strengths. The benefit of the early walk-through is to give your team time to transform all the elements into strengths.
On December 17, Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) with original cosponsor Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) reintroduced the Educator Preparation Reform Act (EPRA). In addition, we expect that Representative Mike Honda (D-CA) will reintroduce EPRA in the U.S. House of Representatives early next year. We appreciate the continued support from both Senator Reed and Representative Honda on strengthening teacher preparation programs in the Higher Education Act (HEA), and we are pleased to see Senator Casey supporting EPRA on introduction as well this congress.
On Friday, December 18, Congress completed its work of funding the federal government through September 30, 2016, through passage of an omnibus spending bill connected to a tax-extenders deal.
AACTE is pleased that the Teacher Quality Partnerships not only survived an attack during the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, but also received a nearly $3 million funding increase though the omnibus bill for Fiscal Year 2016.
Political advocacy was the focus of much work this fall for the Massachusetts Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (MACTE). The national attention to teacher preparation policy, from the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to the proposed teacher preparation program regulations, inspired our state chapter to respond in a big way. We were—and are—determined to tell our story.
As a first step, the MACTE Executive Board created a “take home document” to educate our elected officials, highlighting some of the current work of member institutions. We pointed out initiatives and programs that were specifically developed to meet the greatest needs of our PK-12 partners and, ultimately, the needs of the students in the commonwealth. To compile this document, we put a call out to all of our member institutions to tell us what they were doing across five main focus areas:
Although we may not have read it in a while or considered it with a lot of thought, we all have a conceptual framework for our programs. When we are faced with implementing new policies or considering other innovations, though, our conceptual framework is an essential guide that helps our programs undergo change while retaining their core identity.
At a session we attended last month at the Tennessee edTPA® Conference, faculty from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK), demonstrated how sticking to their conceptual framework allowed them to embrace a new assessment without having to “jump through hoops.” Jennifer Jordan and her UTK colleagues intentionally and continually referenced their conceptual framework as they discussed how their institution considered integrating edTPA while also following the mantra, “We’re not going to give up who we are!”
Congratulations to December Scholar of the Month Robert McKinney!
McKinney is a doctoral student in the counselor education program at Kent State University (OH). His research interests are multicultural competency in counseling, LBGTQQI issues, and pedagogical styles in counselor education.
Currently, McKinney serves as secretary of the executive board for the Chi Sigma Iota counseling honors fraternity and is considered among the top 5% of counseling doctoral students enrolled in the university’s 2015 cohort.
As 2015 comes to an end, we want to take a moment to reflect on what was a very active year for state policy makers and AACTE state chapters.
In 2015, state legislators proposed more than 150 bills related to educator preparation. Of these proposed bills, 18 were enacted into law. Some of the highlights of these new state laws are the creation of a new teacher leader endorsement in New Jersey; establishing the Teach Nevada Scholarship Program to incentivize students to pursue teaching degrees in Nevada; prohibiting video recording of classroom teachers in New Hampshire; and modifying teacher licensure standards in Delaware, Illinois, Maine, and Michigan.
On December 10, President Obama signed into law the latest reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—now titled the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
The long-overdue reauthorization is being heralded as the end of the heavy-handed No Child Left Behind era, returning much of the authority to states and local agencies to oversee PK-12 education. But like any law of such great scope, this one has plenty of contentious content, and education organizations are offering decidedly mixed reviews.
In its statement on the passage of ESSA, the Coalition for Teaching Quality (of which AACTE is a founding member) said, “While the Coalition appreciates ESSA’s efforts to strengthen the capacity of states and districts to improve teacher quality, the bill unfortunately reflects a significant step back for many of our nation’s neediest students by eliminating a meaningful minimum entry standard for teachers and the need for states and districts to correct ongoing inequities in access to high-quality teachers.”
On December 8, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) released its 2015 State Teacher Policy Yearbook, offering the council’s annual assessment of various state policies related to teacher quality. While the report’s focus and conclusions might not be surprising, they offer what might be a preview of what to expect from NCTQ’s upcoming 2016 Teacher Prep Review.
One of the areas of focus in the yearbook, for example, is “delivering well-prepared teachers.” NCTQ outlines 13 goal topics in this area and assigns a letter grade to each state. An overview chart (see below) summarizes the results.
December is always an interesting time, as people’s thoughts turn to wrapping presents, lighting candles, or marking the shortest day of the year.
In Washington, December also means wrapping up spending bills or meeting hard-and-fast deadlines, making room for extra time as needed. This process typically interjects wrangling, rancor, negotiation, and deal-cutting into the holiday hubbub.
Six months have passed since the 2015 Holmes Scholars Dissertation Retreat at Florida A&M University (FAMU). It was an honor and pleasure to work with my colleagues as we coordinated the last two retreats, and we owe special thanks to Carolyn Hopp and Sheila Moore for organizing the 2015 event. Now we’ve begun preparations for the third annual retreat—to be held May 27-28, 2016, this time at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.
Highlights of the 2015 event included a welcoming lunch and keynote address, breakout sessions to assist students at all phases of the dissertation process, and outstanding support provided by Holmes mentors, university faculty, and even many who were not affiliated with our network, such as writing coach Vernetta Williams.