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Major Forum Highlights PK-12, Higher Education Work to Develop Educator Pipeline

On March 4, AACTE convened representatives from organizations working with different stages of the educator pipeline to speak at the major forum “Acting as One to Support Educator Development.” The forum, one of six held during the 69th Annual Meeting, covered issues such as student recruitment, candidate support across the continuum of preparation through induction, the role of school-university partnerships, and ensuring novice teachers are prepared to engage their students in deeper learning. In the interest of collaborating as one across this continuum, panelists discussed how their roles intertwine by sharing their perspectives on the best way to achieve a national, cohesive effort supporting high-quality educator preparation.

The forum was moderated by Michael Dennehy, director of college access and completion at Boston University (MA). Panelists included Dan Brown of Educators Rising, Kimberly Tobey of the National Association of Community College Teacher Education Programs (NACCTEP), and Linda Darling-Hammond and Maria Hyler of the Learning Policy Institute.

Brown and Tobey began the forum discussing their two organizations’ partnership and distinct missions. Educators Rising provides high school-based programs for future teachers through chapters across the country. Brown noted that teenaged inspired educators need reflective practice and cultural competence, which are key components the chapters provide. The high school-community college partnership focuses on helping students envision a route that starts with an early opportunity to fall in love with teaching and moves into furthering their education.

Tobey said the primary goal of her work is to create synergy for high school students in their transition to college. NACCTEP works on ensuring there is an easy pathway to the teaching profession for populations such as first-generation college students and others who are entering the higher education world for the first time. By collaborating with high schools and 4-year universities, NACCTEP supports students who choose to attend community college for the first half of their collegiate career followed by their teaching practicum/residency and final years in a university setting.

The major forum then turned to the Learning Policy Institute’s research on the educator pipeline and policy supports. Hyler said the research shows that a successful teacher preparation program incorporates adequate resources, leadership, strategic partnerships, and a set of core program values. Building school reform from the bottom up in terms of the various institutions working together contributes to the progress of improving current programs.

Darling-Hammond said the primary goal of the institute is to organize research and knowledge of 21st-century learning and to use these resources to help shape and change policy. Although policy can be seen as hostile and an impediment to equity, it should be consistently supporting education goals at the federal, state, and district levels, she said.

Of course, teacher educators themselves play a crucial role in shaping teacher candidates’ experience. “One of the things teacher educators can do is not create programs that skip people past student teaching through alternative pathways that underprepare them,” Darling-Hammond said.

Forum attendees also had the opportunity to interact in small roundtable discussions with one another focused on exploring and sharing individual challenges in regards to educator development. Dennehy summarized the event’s lessons as the “importance of pathways, importance of experience as part of educator preparation, importance of retention, and a real focus on school leaders to put supportive measures in place.”

Watch the recording of the “Acting as One to Support Educator Development” major forum at the AACTE Learning Center (member/registrant login is required.) There you’ll also find access to videos from as well as presentation slides the other major forums and general sessions from the Tampa Annual Meeting.

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