State Policy Recap – 2016 to Date
Ed Prep Matters is pleased to bring you this special feature on state policy and AACTE state chapter activity. For a summary of March’s state activity, see this article; February’s state activity is available here.
Overview of State Policy Activity
Thanks to AACTE’s State Policy Tracker, we can identify trends in state legislation and regulations related to educator preparation.
So far this year, approximately 300 state bills related to educator preparation have been introduced. Of these, 186 were related to certification and standards, and 18 have been enacted. Many of these laws are related to lowering certification standards for alternative-route programs, differentiated licensure standards for certain subjects including STEM fields and career and technical education (CTE), and allowing more pathways into teaching to alleviate shortages. Seven bills related to teacher certification and shortages have been signed into law in 2016 with themes such as expanding scholarships for teacher candidates and offering loan forgiveness for teachers. Five state bills have been signed into law related to teacher licensure standards.
In addition, approximately 100 state regulations have been proposed so far in 2016. More than half of these state regulations have been adopted. The majority of the regulations adopted focus on revising standards or criteria for licenses in subjects including literacy, CTE, and special education. Another major focus of these regulations is establishing new standards for school leaders and principal programs.
State Chapter Activities
In an effort to demonstrate a singular commitment to placing real-world practice at the center of educator preparation, the Alabama Association of Colleges for Teacher Education created its first advocacy publication, “Partnering to Support P-12 Student Success.” Containing school partnership stories from 27 Alabama institutions that prepare teachers and leaders, the publication was distributed to 105 members of the Alabama House of Representatives, 35 state senators, nine state board of education members, and many partners at the state department of education. In addition, member institutions received copies to share with the local education agencies and constituents with whom they collaborate. “We’re already planning for next year’s publication, which will likely feature success stories from our candidates from each member institution who are piloting the edTPA performance assessment process,” said Anna McEwan, president of the Alabama chapter. “We want the public to understand and appreciate the rigor of our programs and to have confidence that we are producing ‘learner-ready teachers.’”
The Washington Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (WACTE) recently completed a successful effort to address the teacher shortage in the state when legislators sent the governor a budget with an additional $5.2 million to support a variety of programs. WACTE started discussions with lawmakers in October, and the core of the proposals put forth are included in the final package. That includes more than $1 million for conditional grant programs to cover tuition and student teaching residency stipends, and an additional $3.5 million ($9 million annual appropriation) to bolster mentoring programs. WACTE hosted a dozen key legislators for breakfast in January as part of the effort and offered testimony throughout the legislative session to support the spending.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 478-4504.