Archive for 2016

Listen to Mom: Keep Your Eyes on Your Own Plate

Many of us growing up with siblings remember being told to “keep your eyes on your own plate” when issues arose or squabbles began. Those words come to my mind when reflecting on the current distractions hounding teacher education. Even as we actively promote the need for educators to think and act as one profession and to engage with various external groups, we also must not forget to mind our own business.

In addition to the uncertainty around the outcome of today’s highly contentious national election, many other factors are competing for our attention and causing us anxiety. The teacher preparation program regulations are now official, and so is the Every Student Succeeds Act. The nation is rapidly moving toward a major teacher shortage, and despite our very best efforts, we have not been able to make a significant dent in diversifying the profession. Our many critics continue to share their views on the state of university-based teacher preparation programs, and our national-level accrediting agency is still working to rise to the level it should in order to assist programs in meeting standards and improving their work. To my mind, we all could benefit from Mom’s mantra: Keep your eyes on your own plate.

Come Early to Tampa for AACTE Preconference Events

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The AACTE Annual Meeting always presents a full schedule of opportunities for registrants, even before the conference officially begins. The 2017 event in Tampa, Florida, will uphold this tradition with a wide variety of preconference meetings, workshops, and other events on the schedule for March 1.

As always, several affiliate organizations and leadership groups will hold business meetings, including the Florida state chapter, various deans’ organizations, and AACTE’s Board of Directors, standing committees, and topical action groups. (Separate registration may be required for some of these meetings–if in doubt, check with your group!) Special events will also be offered for participants in certain AACTE initiatives, and an assessment–focused workshop is available for anyone to register.

JTE Editorial Highlights: Sept.-Oct. 2016

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Have you seen the JTE Insider blog managed by the Journal of Teacher Education (JTE) editorial team? Check out the entry below providing an overview of the September-October content – and watch your mailbox for the November-December issue, too!

In the editorial of the September/October 2016 issue of the Journal of Teacher Education, Coeditors Maria Teresa Tatto, Gail Richmond, and Dorinda Carter Andrews explore the role of research in teacher education.

UVA Hosts State ‘TeachStrong’ Event on Teacher Prep

On October 11, a TeachStrong event was hosted by the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia to offer solutions to concerns in the state about the preparation of novice teachers. The event, held jointly with the state’s education secretary, aimed to highlight successful programs and practices aligned with TeachStrong’s policy proposal around quality teacher preparation. (AACTE is a partner supporting the nine TeachStrong principles to elevate teaching.)

After a short welcome and introduction by Dean Robert Pianta and Virginia Secretary of Education Dietra Trent, a panel of five educators discussed programs run by George Mason University, the University of Virginia, and Virginia Commonwealth University. Well-planned clinical practices were the focal point of the discussion.

The Demand for Educators: Good News for Candidates, A Daunting Challenge for Hiring Administrators

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

For future teachers, the job outlook is bright. For school hiring personnel, the challenge of finding enough qualified educators for their vacancies is daunting.

The growing mismatch between teacher supply and demand was documented strongly in a comprehensive report published by the Learning Policy Institute last month. One of the key data sources cited in the study is the American Association for Employment in Education (AAEE) “Educator Supply and Demand Report 2014-15,” which now has a new edition available—and the shortage situation has not improved.

Nov. 15 Webinar to Feature Clinical Preparation for Elementary Science, Math Teaching

Please join me Tuesday, November 15, 1:00-2:00 p.m. EST for the third webinar in this year’s AACTE clinical practice series, “Advancing Science and Math Teaching in Diverse Elementary Classrooms: A Clinical Practice Model at San Francisco State University.”

Presenters Judith Munter, dean of the Graduate College of Education, and Stephanie Sisk-Hilton, associate professor of elementary education, will discuss the clinical preparation model at San Francisco State University (SFSU) centered around ensuring elementary education candidates and practicing elementary educators in their partner schools are highly prepared to teach science and math to an increasingly diverse population.

Find Something for Everyone at AACTE Annual Meeting

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The 2017 AACTE Annual Meeting in Tampa, Florida, will present a broad range of education content featuring innovative practices, progressive policy trends, and the latest research in the field. From PK-12 educators to state and federal government leaders to deans and professors from around the country, the Annual Meeting’s programming will target a variety of specialties, providing something for everyone!

What’s more, the conference theme calls on educators of all stripes to join in “Acting as One” to unite the professional community. Find inspiration, resources, and common ground in a wide selection of sessions:

Rather Than Resisting Higher Expectations, Teachers Colleges Are Driving Them

The New York Times editorial “Help Teachers Before They Get to Class” (October 15) repeats outdated canards about teacher preparation that are as misguided as the new federal regulations celebrated in the editorial. Far from resisting higher expectations, teachers colleges are driving them.

Higher education institutions and states have raised program entry requirements in recent years, and the academic qualifications of admitted students have increased apace. By referencing an outdated and widely discredited report, the editorial misses this fact, reflected in publicly available federal datasets: today’s undergraduates preparing to be teachers have an average GPA of 3.2 on college work required for admission to the program.

Nov. 3 Webinar to Discuss Tools, Partnerships Supporting School Leader Development

Please join me November 3, 3:00-4:00 p.m.  EDT, for a free webinar, Effective Tools to Support School Leader Licensure and Professional Development: Mentoring, Modeling, and Support.

In several states, collaborative work among school districts, universities, and state agencies is supporting the development and deployment of new standards for school leaders’ preparation and practice. Hear from several participants in these partnerships about the instruments and other supports they’ve produced.

Registration Open for April Quality Support Workshop in Texas

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Registration is now open for AACTE’s first Quality Support Workshop, to be held April 24-26 in Fort Worth, Texas. Bring your team for 2 days of hands-on, expert-facilitated learning and planning around performance assessment, continuous improvement, and quality assurance.

The event is the first in a new series of regional workshops announced last month, offered through the AACTE Quality Support Center. A core component of AACTE’s mission is to support institutions’ continuous improvement efforts. With learning outcomes focused on topics of national or local interest, these workshops will provide accessible, targeted support for teams of faculty and staff.

Ball State Wins AASCU Award for Community-Based Program

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) has selected the “Schools Within the Context of Community” (SCC) program at Ball State University (IN) to receive the 2016 Christa McAuliffe Excellence in Teacher Education Award. The award will be presented October 30 at the AASCU Annual Meeting and recognized again at the AACTE Annual Meeting in March 2017.

Launched in 2009 as a partnership between Ball State University’s Department of Elementary Education and the Whitely neighborhood of Muncie, Indiana, the SCC program takes a unique approach to teacher education. It immerses preservice candidates in a low-income, African-American community where they are carefully matched with mentors who serve as cultural ambassadors and impart the strengths and values of the community.

Coalition Objects to Final Teacher Prep Regulations

On October 20, a coalition of higher education, PK-12, and state-level organizations released a statement citing concerns about the final teacher preparation program regulations released last week by the U.S. Department of Education. AACTE is one of nearly 30 organizations signing on to the statement.

Among these organizations’ concerns about the new rule are that it will decrease the likelihood of every student having access to a fully prepared teacher, disadvantage programs serving the communities that most need well-prepared teachers, and impede progress toward increasing the diversity of the teaching profession.

Member Voices: Listen to the Children

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This article originally appeared as Ena Shelley’s monthly “Transforming Education” column; it is reposted with permission. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

“While we try to teach our children all about life, they teach us what life is all about.” – Anonymous

You are likely reading this on the brink of our national election. There have been months of bickering, insult slinging, and behavior that would not be tolerated in most of our classrooms. Certainly there are adult issues that must be addressed, yet I sometimes wonder that if we remembered more often the voices and ears of children, we might find the margins of compromise that allow debates to become more about the “us” and less about the “them.” Children truly have wisdom and perspective that adults sometimes forget or lose in the busyness of life. I am sharing three links in this column that are the voices of younger children and adolescents. What if those running for political office, as well as those who already hold a policy-making position, and the media gave more time and attention to the wisdom they have to offer?

On the ‘Residency Era’ in Teacher Preparation

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

When John Dewey wrote of the need to create an “intimate union” between the university and the elementary school such that each is a laboratory for the other, he was speaking of a need that is still yet to be fully satiated. Today’s increasing prevalence of the residency model, however – supported by a growing body of research and application across diverse settings – is ushering in a new era that offers new promise toward achieving Dewey’s vision.

For Dewey, the intimate union would have the university contributing “to the evolution of valuable subject-matter and right method while the school in turn will be a laboratory in which the student of education sees theories and ideas demonstrated, tested, criticized, enforced, and the evolution of new truths” (Dewey, 1900/1990, p. 93). And although Dewey’s University of Chicago Laboratory Schools flourish as a living instantiation of his intimate union, in many practical ways the ideal has proven elusive.

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