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State Legislators Weigh Teacher Quality Reforms, Want Input From Teacher Educators

Last week, I attended the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Legislative Summit along with over 5,000 state legislators and their staff. Teacher quality was a key theme of several sessions ranging from teacher career ladders to school leader preparation.

One of the significant points I took from the conference was that state legislators are eager to hear from teacher preparation programs on current practices and innovations. Please contact your state legislators prior to the upcoming 2016 legislative session to share what is happening at programs in your state!

As a reminder, AACTE recently released a state-by-state list of state policy makers and their contact information. This resource can help you build your state advocacy capacity. In addition, AACTE has several other resources that can support you with state policy and advocacy, including state policy priorities, teaching fellows model legislation, and the AACTE Advocacy Toolkit.

NCSL’s Education Committee, cochaired by Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos (D-WA) and Senator Howard Stephenson (R-UT), hosted sessions on topics including teacher career ladders, preparing school leaders, and higher education funding. During the teacher career ladders sessions, members of the Education Committee identified at least 23 states that are exploring policies to improve the recruitment, retention, and support for teachers. In the higher education funding session, panelists shared that 35 states have adopted a performance funding system for higher education.

Also at the Legislative Summit, NCSL released a new report on National Board certification and related state policy options, which includes recommendations for implementing high-quality preservice teacher performance assessments and requiring a yearlong residency program for new teachers.

Additional resources from the Legislative Summit are available here.

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Aaron Goldstein

Manager, State Policy & Relations