February 2016 State Policy Recap

Ed Prep Matters is pleased to bring you this special feature on policy and AACTE chapter activity in the states. For a summary of January’s state activity, see this article, or to see a year-end recap for 2015, see this article.

Overview of State Policy Activity

In February, 40 state legislatures convened for their 2016 legislative sessions. At least 160 bills were introduced in 30 states that could have an impact on educator preparation programs.

One bill in Alabama, HB 267, for example, would prohibit any video recording of classrooms without approval of the local educational agency and written consent of the teachers, eligible students, and parents. As currently proposed, this bill could have implications for preservice performance measures, such as edTPA, by creating additional obstacles to collecting video evidence.

Many other state bills proposed various short- and long-term solutions to addressing the teacher pipeline, with an emphasis on improving teacher recruitment and retention.

In addition, 32 state regulations were proposed in 18 states in February that could affect educator preparation programs.

State Chapter Activities

Two of AACTE’s state chapters, the Iowa Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and the Indiana Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, held advocacy activities with their state policy makers during February.

At its annual Day at the Iowa Capitol, the Iowa chapter gave students and faculty from around the state the opportunity to interact with more than 30 legislators. Students prepared talking points around topics such as school funding, Iowa Tuition Grants, program requirements, and Board of Educational Examiners fees. The students had an excellent opportunity to witness democracy in action as they watched the Iowa Senate debate funding for PK-12 schools. Students let their voices be heard on issues that will affect them when they have their own classrooms.

The Indiana Association of Colleges for Teacher Education used an AACTE State Chapter Support Grant to host its first Day at the Indiana Statehouse event. With the theme “Preparing Quality Classroom-Ready Educators and School Leaders,” the event was held in conjunction with the chapter’s partners: the Indiana State Teachers Association, Indiana School Boards Association, Indiana School Principals Association, and Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents. Governor Mike Pence and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz attended the event, as well as 26 state representatives and nine state senators.

If your state chapter has convened any recent state advocacy efforts, please let us know so we can share your story.

If you have any questions related to how AACTE can support your state advocacy efforts, contact me at agoldstein@aacte.org or (202) 478-4504.

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Aaron Goldstein

Manager, State Policy & Relations