Trends in State Policy: 2017 in Review

state policy recap banner with image of map of u.s.

In 2017, state policy makers – particularly state legislators and state education agencies – placed great emphasis on key policy levers affecting educator preparation.

AACTE’s State Policy Tracker, an online tool that is available free of charge to AACTE members, allows for real-time tracking of pertinent state legislation and regulations affecting educator preparation. (If you are not familiar with the State Policy Tracker, I invite you to watch an archived webinar here.) During 2017, this tool enabled us to track 285 bills, of which 43 were enacted, and 296 regulations, of which 193 were adopted.

Across the enacted bills and adopted regulations, there were some clear hot topics:

  • Fourteen states (CA, DE, IL, ME, MI, NC, NJ, OH, OK, RI, SC, TN, WA, and WI) enacted new laws revising teacher certification standards.
    • Example: New Jersey’s SB1474/AB2786 revised certificate standards by adding a minimum of six semester credit hours in special education.
  • Seven states (CA, HI, IL, NC, NH, OK, and TN) enacted new laws creating or modifying teacher licensure standards.
    • Example: Tennessee’s S 232 created an endorsement in computer science.
  • Six states (IA, IL, MI, NC, OK, and TN) enacted new laws addressing aspects of the educator pipeline, including financial aid for educators and strategies for recruiting and retaining educators.
    • Example: North Carolina’s S257 reestablished the Teaching Fellows Program to recruit the “best and brightest” future educators in math, science, or special education. See this blog to learn how AACTE’s North Carolina state chapter worked with their General Assembly on this new law.
  • On the regulatory side, the key issue addressed in 37 states (AK, AL, AZ, CA, CO, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NE, NH, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, WA, WI, and WV) were revisions to licensure and certification standards.
    • Example: In Kentucky, a regulation established revised standards for evaluating and assessing teacher candidates for initial and advanced certification.

As 2018 begins, AACTE urges members and chapters to be a critical partner with state policy makers. To find out when your state legislature is in session this year, check out this chart. To assist you in contacting key state policy makers, AACTE has created state-by-state contact lists, available here.

If AACTE can further support your institution or state chapter in your state policy or advocacy work, contact me at

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Aaron Goldstein

Manager, State Policy & Relations