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Kentucky Chapter Collaborates with State Education Leaders to Advance Teacher Prep

During the AACTE 2019 Annual Meeting in Louisville, Yolanda Carter, chair of the Kentucky Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (KACTE), met with me and AACTE Director of Marketing and Communications Jerrica Thurman to discuss a range of statewide education and teacher preparation issues. Carter shared with us how KACTE is working to further diversify the incoming teacher pool and the goals the state chapter plans to pursue in the months ahead.

What are the pressing challenges in education and teacher prep in Louisville and Kentucky?

One of the bigger things is how to get all teachers on board with teaching in a culturally responsive way. How do we get more diverse teachers into the field and reconfigure the programs to get more students engaged? In Kentucky, the Board of Education has been merged with the Kentucky Professional Standards Board. An umbrella office was created to oversee and pursue effective leadership strategies.  This development creates an opportunity to look at regulations that impact K-12 schools regarding teaching certificates, counseling etc. KACTE is working with the board and other relevant educational entities in the state to figure out how best to work together for the benefit of students, teacher candidates and institutions of higher education.

For example, KACTE is collaborating with schools to fill gaps that emerged because of the change in policy regarding the Kentucky Internship Program. 

How can AACTE help KACTE better work with the state department of education in Kentucky?

In Kentucky, the educational institutions are well connected and work well together. One example is how every other month, there is a board meeting of the Education Professional Standards Board. The leadership of schools of education in the state come together to observe the meeting. KACTE has a membership meeting afterwards to discuss what we heard and assess members’ more considered thoughts. 

How is the Kentucky chapter working on challenges to address the shortage of quality teachers?

KACTE is working with the education commissioner in the state to address barriers to recruitment of more teachers of color.  We are thinking of ways to work with teacher candidates to address the costs associated with exams, for example. 

How are teacher protests impacting teacher shortages in Kentucky?

In Kentucky, funding was cut and teachers marched on the Kentucky State Capitol to protest retirement benefits. Of course, this has had an impact on teacher recruitment. Leaders in the state have made some unhelpful comments about teachers that have impacted recruitment. 

You have been chair of the Kentucky chapter for about a year.  What are your goals going forward?

I have many, and this is an interesting time because of all the changes taking place in Kentucky. KACTE wants to continue communicating with state government education leaders and we have created multiple committees for that purpose. Eventually we want to engage with the state legislature. But that is in the future. Because of the huge transitional developments that recently took place in the state, KACTE is focused mostly now on getting on its feet. Our goal is to eventually be more proactive with the legislature regarding the education policy changes as they develop.