Archive for March, 2020

Teaching Advocacy to Preservice Students More Important Now than Ever

AACTE Responds to COVID-19

Teaching Advocacy to Preservice Students

Last May on Capitol Hill, a congressman sat in a corner of his office, while nine of my students, his congressional aide, and I sat in a circle around him.  My students, all preservice teachers, shared story-after-story from their classrooms, trying to illustrate how tough it is to be a teacher. With grace and conviction, they explained how in the course of their student teaching, they realized there is still more they need to learn in order to be able to do their jobs well.  They looked the Congressman in the eyes and told him that without funding for Title II and a federal commitment to developing them as professionals, they were not sure that they would be equipped to stay in the field, much less teach in the congressional representative’s state, since it’s a state that allocates almost nothing for teacher development.

Change Your Mindset: Alternative Perspectives to Remote Learning

AACTE Responds to COVID-19

Like most of you, I got the email from our president one afternoon last week expressing that our institution was transitioning to remote learning. Instantly, my heart dropped and a zillion thoughts started running through my head. How will I ensure my students get a good experience? What about all my interactive learning experiences? What if my student doesn’t have access to the internetHow am I going to do this?”

After a little reflection, I realized we tell our students not to panic when we assign them a task or assignment that to them seems unforeseeable (the first time they’ve written a 20-page paper or presented for 30 whole minutes). Moving to remote learning may seem unforeseeable to you.  However, I urge you to take a breath. Instead of panicking or being irritated, consider an alternative perspective:

This is a chance to try something new. You can take advantage of this unique opportunity. There are dozens of online platforms that have generously offered services for free to support students and faculty during the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve been desperate to try these platforms but I have not had the time or the financial resources. Personally, I love instructional technology. The past few days I have been like a kid in a candy shop. I cannot wait to explore these pedagogical tools. Consider going back through your emails and pick one to try. Maybe it will rejuvenate you!

The Coronavirus, States and Educator Preparation Programs

AACTE Responds to COVID-19

A series of unprecedented events are forcing states across the country to close schools and universities.  As school leaders scramble to identify pathways and strategies to protect the health of students and staff, many of them must also attend to the unique challenges of their teaching students who are in limbo because of  the coronavirus crisis. 

Many states have not yet provided guidance to schools of education on how to lead and advise this special class of students. As a result, many teacher candidates are waiting to learn how, or even if, they will be able to fulfill the requirements of their programs and graduate. Given the unparalleled nature of events, it is understandable if some states are not fully prepared to address this specific concern, but there are a few notable exceptions. In the absence of legislative guidance, states like California, Kentucky, Iowa, and South Carolina have instructively addressed the most pressing concerns pertaining to teacher preparation in their states. 

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing maintains and up-to-date webpage where they attempt to answer  the most common questions from educators and employing agencies regarding credentialing requirements, policies, and application procedures. The Commission is particularly concerned about candidates’ ability to complete clinical practice and performance assessment requirements during this academic year, and is looking for ways to mitigate this situation. It has prepared a memo to help guide the decision-making by deans and directors of education on the subject.

Robin DiAngelo Challenges Systemic Racism During #AACTE20 Opening Keynote

Robin DiAngelo at #AACTE20

The AACTE 2020 Annual Meeting Opening keynote speaker Robin DiAngelo, associate professor of education at the University of Washington, is widely recognized for her research in critical discourse analysis and whiteness studies. In her address, she explored how to implement strategic, intentional anti-racist actions to interrupt the system of racism in education. Her message aligns with AACTE’s core value of diversity, equity, and inclusion an integral part of AACTE’s strategic plan for 2020-23.

“The status quo of this society is racism; it is not an aberration, it’s the norm. All of our institutions effectively and efficiently reproduce racial inequality and schools are the bellies of the beast,” said DiAngelo. She noted that the concept examining the dominant culture is consistently left off the table in the conversation when discussing race issues. These discussions tend to focus on learning about other racial groups.

During her talk, she emphasized the need to decenter “whiteness” by naming it and exposing it, explaining that there is a white worldview, a white frame of reference that allowed her to move through the world from a white experience. DiAngelo shared, “Being white, I was not raised to see myself in racial terms” She reasoned that as a white person, “when we talk about race it’s about their race not mine.” She acknowledged the complexities of racism and the inability to understand every nuance. “But it’s on me to get that information, not on people of color to hand it to us.”

#AACTE20 Panel Takes a Deep Dive into the Teacher Shortage

Teacher Shortage

The national teacher shortage has required all stakeholders to take action. What do we know and what can we do? The Annual Meeting “Addressing the Teacher Shortage” Deeper Dive session brought together a panel of experts to discuss the alarming data on and present strategies to combat this epidemic. The panel consisted of AACTE consultants Jacqueline King and Jane West; Zeke Perez, policy analyst, Education Commission of the States; and AACTE board member Marquita Grenot-Scheyer from the Office of the Chancellor at the California State University System.

Jacqueline Rodriguez, vice president, program and professional learning at AACTE, served as the moderator. She began the session by providing a national overview as it relates to the teacher shortage by highlighting, “As a Nation, we have …

  • A decline in enrollment in teacher preparation programs;
  • Significant lack of diversity in our educators: race, ethnicity, gender, identity, disability;
  • High poverty schools which experience disproportionate teacher shortages;
  • Schools with high enrollment of students of color more likely to employ uncertified teachers; and
  • Teacher turnover at a significant high financial cost.

Washington Works to Address Coronavirus

AACTE Responds to COVID-19

COVID-19 Resources

This blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide updated information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

Congress is working to respond to the pandemic on multiple levels. To date seven members of Congress have announced that they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and are self-quarantining.  A staff member of Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) has tested positive for the virus and Sen. Cantwell has closed her office. The U.S. Capitol has ceased public tours, both those member and staff led. The Capitol complex, including House and Senate office buildings, is restricted to official business only.  Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) noted  “We should encourage people to not travel here right now.”  Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has declared the District a state of emergency and limited gatherings. Likewise, the Governors of Maryland and Virginia have declared states of emergency and limited gatherings.

Combating Discrimination and Hatred Through Education

An excerpt from this article appeared in District Administration on March 11.

Today, we live in a society where truth is decaying, falsehoods are readily shared across social media, and hatred and discrimination are on the rise. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center the number of hate groups operating in the United States hit a record high in 2018. Hate speech creates an environment in which biases and discrimination thrive and can have a detrimental impact on a school’s culture and climate. Teaching and learning about the roots of hate are important elements in fostering an inclusive classroom environment.

Teachers play an essential role in creating a more humane and tolerant world. They are stewards of culture and are in a position to protect history, promote facts and prevent inhumanity. However, to provide students with the most effective instruction, educators must have the tools to understand the nature of hate crimes and how they impact the culture and climate of schools where they teach. Additionally, they must know how to address issues of bias and discrimination in the classroom.

AACTE President’s Message on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

AACTE Responds to COVID-19

AACTE has been closely monitoring information on the coronavirus (COVID-19) and is deeply concerned about the safety and well-being of the faculty, staff, and students within Colleges of Education. AACTE stands ready to support the educator preparation community as we all cope with this global crisis.

We have received notifications that some universities are transitioning classes to an online platform while others have canceled all classes for the remaining semester to ensure the safety of their students. We realize that this will impact clinical practice requirements and other criteria teacher candidates must complete for graduation. This is indeed a challenging time.

Department of Education Releases Guidance to IHEs on Interrupted Study Due to COVID-19

AACTE Responds to COVID-19

The U.S. Department of Education (Department) released guidance on March 5 and followed up with additional outreach on March 11, 2020 to ensure that institutions of higher education (IHE) are aware of options for various interrupted study due to COVID-19, including what the Department refers to as “student teaching.” This is particularly important for compliance with Title IV of the Higher Education Act. The guidance covers five scenarios including the following:

“A student was enrolled in a program and met the requirements for full-time enrollment; however, due to the COVID-19, one or more classes—such as an internship, a clinical rotation, student teaching or fieldwork—have been cancelled and now the student has fallen below the 12 credit hour minimum and is no longer considered to be a full-time student …”

Please review the guidance offered and work with your institution’s leadership, including the financial aid office moving forward. Specific situations leading to additional questions should be directed to COVID-19@ed.gov.

Other resources

U.S. Department of Education COVID-19 Resources

CDC Interim Guidance for Administrators of US Institutions of Higher Education

CDC Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) Fact Sheet

WGU North Carolina Signs Agreement with Rowan-Salisbury School System

WGU North Carolina | Rowan-Salisbury School System

WGU North Carolina, an affiliate of the national online Western Governors University, has signed an agreement with Rowan-Salisbury School System (RSS) to help classified staff, such as teacher assistants, advance their careers by earning bachelor’s degrees and teacher certifications.

Any Rowan-Salisbury School System teacher assistant who enrolls in one of WGU North Carolina’s teacher-preparation programs will receive up to $800 in tuition credit per six-month term, after any Pell Grants have been exhausted, for up to 3 years. RSS employees will also receive an application-fee waiver code.

Additionally, WGU North Carolina will create a unique URL for RSS employees and promote this opportunity through printed materials, social media, on-site presentations and other channels. Employees will also have access to WGU career services resources and events, and WGU NC staff will be available to participate in any education/benefits fairs, seminars, and “lunch and learn” presentations offered by Rowan-Salisbury Schools.

New Report Compares Teachers Around the World

The 2018 Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) covers about 260,000 teachers in 15,000 schools across 48 countries and economies.

The survey found that 67% of U.S. teachers under age 30 claimed teaching was their first career choice, consistent with the average for all participating countries. However, more than 73% of young teachers in Finland and close to 80% of young teachers in Alberta, Canada said teaching was their first choice. Moreover, 85% of young teachers in Japan and over 90% of young teachers in South Korea indicated teaching was their first-choice career.

Positive findings are that teachers in the United States are more likely to have received formal preparation on teaching students with special needs and on teaching in multicultural and/or multilingual settings, and feel better prepared in those areas than their peers in other OECD countries.

KDP Offers Professional Development on Education for Sustainable Development

In response to many requests, Kappa Delta Pi (KDP), an AACTE affiliate member, is offering faculty to participate in free professional development related to education for sustainable development (ESD). The Online Global Forum on ESD is designed to meet the needs of teacher educators who work with preservice and in-service teachers of primary and secondary schools. The Forum focuses on educational themes (e.g., systems thinking, pedagogy, and assessment) and teaching about current threats to global sustainability (e.g., climate change and social inequity).

Each unit includes an overview of the theme, usually in short videos, online discussions, and thought activities, as well as a live discussion with ESD experts. Videos and discussions will include practical topics, such as how to integrate sustainability into existing teacher preparation courses and good practices. 

To join the Forum, please visit our website. There is no cost to participate!

Faye Snodgress is the executive director of Kappa Delta Pi, International Honor Society in Education.

Education Funding and HEA Reauthorization in Play on Capitol Hill

Capitol hill building in the morning with colorful cloud , Washington DC.

This blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide updated information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

The coronavirus outbreak has left us all a bit flummoxed this week.  Higher education, school districts and all of our communities are working to provide informed leadership, but not be alarmist—a tall order when so much is unknown. 

Meanwhile, Congress continues to make progress with education matters and political campaigns continue to unfold.

House and Senate Kick Off FY 2021 Appropriations Season with DeVos Hearings

In the last two weeks Sec. Betsy DeVos has appeared before both the House and Senate Subcommittees on Labor/HHS/Education to defend the Trump education budget proposal for FY 2021. The controversial budget calls for almost a $9 billion cut from last year, a block grant for virtually all elementary and secondary education programs and a familiar $5 billion voucher program (“Education Freedom Scholarships”).

In Memoriam: William E. Gardner

William E. GardnerWilliam Earl Gardner, a former AACTE president and dean of the College of Education at the University of Minnesota, passed away peacefully at the age of 91 on February 16 in St. Paul, MN. During his AACTE tenure, he greatly influenced the international program efforts and reshaped the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), along with his colleague, the late Dale Scannell.

Dr. Gardner earned three degrees from the University of Minnesota: B.S. and M.A. degrees in education and social sciences and a Ph.D. in education and American history. After teaching junior and senior high school social studies, he joined the University of Minnesota’s College of Education faculty, serving as department chair and associate dean before being named dean of the College in 1977.  In addition to his leadership role at AACTE, Dr. Gardner was a St. Louis Park School Board member and affiliated with numerous state, national, and international educational organizations. His many publications include scholarly articles, books, textbooks, and a social studies curriculum.

A celebration of life party for Dr. Gardner will be held June 6 at Bradshaw, 2800 Curve Crest Blvd., Stillwater, MN. Memorial contributions may be given to the William E. Gardner Scholarship Fund, University of Minnesota, College of Education and Human Development.

In Memoriam: Dale P. Scannell

Dale P. ScannellFormer AACTE Board member Dale Paul Scannell died at the age of 90 on February 14 at Abington Hospital near his home in Flourtown, PA. Dr. Scannell made many contributions to the field of education preparation, including the development of the country‘s first integrated five-year program in education at the University of Kansas in 1981. He received the AACTE Pomeroy Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teacher Education in 1989.

Dr. Scannell earned his B.A., Masters and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Iowa. Rising quickly in the education field, he was appointed dean of Education at the University of Kansas in 1969 and continued in that role for 16 years. He then served for six years as dean of education at the University of Maryland in College Park, followed by posts at the University of South Carolina and at Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI). Throughout his tenure, he mentored many faculty, both men and women, and he created a special program at the University of Maryland to encourage women to enter administrative roles in the College of Education. He ended his professional career at age 70 after serving for 10 years as a consultant to the United Arab Emirates University, College of Education.

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