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Speaker Spotlight Session Urges Multidimensional Perspectives

The AACTE Speaker Spotlight Session ended the 68th Annual Meeting February 25 by focusing on the tough questions facing educator preparation across the nation. Panelists urged the audience to tackle complex issues by addressing them as a community, going beyond a one-dimensional viewpoint. They expressed what they saw as the greatest challenges facing the field, ways to enhance the educator pipeline, and models that will foster growth within the education workforce.

The panel was moderated by Nancy Zimpher, chancellor of the State University of New York. Panelists included National Board Certified Teacher Cheryl Redfield from Highland Junior High (AZ); Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of AASA: The School Superintendents Association; Anthony S. Bryk, president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and Carol Basile, dean and professor in the College of Education at the University of Missouri Saint Louis.

Redfield, who is highly active in national service as well as local community outreach in Mesa, Arizona, said, “The greatest challenge is equity. We have a fiduciary responsibility to guarantee the public a high-quality workforce that is culturally responsive as well as skilled and knowledgeable to support all students’ learning regardless of their background, race, religion, and family income.”

From the lens of a school district leader, Domenech concurred that equity is a major problem in our education system. But he added another important challenge: There needs to be better communication between PK-12 and higher education, bringing both perspectives to the table to address common challenges. Zimpher extracted a pledge from Domenech to convene AASA and AACTE members in the coming year around this goal.

Bryk, who was presented with the AACTE Lifetime Achievement Award at the beginning of the session, said the conversation should start with infusing research in practice—but more as a community than as one group of “knowers” and another group of “doers.” By working collaboratively and sharing evidence, we can continuously improve the outcomes of our education system.

Basile said the education community must broaden its scope and reach beyond schools for new ideas and partnerships. Together with the business and healthcare community, she said, we can create more effective systems, structures, and models for serving learners and improving equity in education.

As the session came to a close, Zimpher summed up the lessons this way: “We need to better engage all the stakeholders in what matters most to us, and that is educating our society.”

To view a recording of the session and other content from the 68th Annual Meeting, visit the AACTE Learning Center.

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Melvin Bogard

Media Relations Coordinator Intern