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Archive for June, 2020

Join Webinar on Virtual Reality Simulations for Ed Prep

Mursion Virtual ClassroomFace-to-face clinical field experience cancelled? Find out how teacher candidates can safely practice instructional strategies through virtual reality (VR) classrooms.

Join the AACTE and Mursion co-sponsored webinar, “Feasibility & Utility of Mixed Reality Simulations in Higher Education,” presented by guest speakers from AACTE and Kennesaw State University tomorrow, Tuesday, June 30 at 1:00 p.m. ET. The presenters will share their wealth of experience using mixed reality solutions and will engage in critical dialogue on the feasibility and utility of mixed reality simulations in higher education. You will discover how virtual simulations help teacher candidates develop high-leverage practices before entering real-world clinical experiences.

What Anti-racist Teachers Do Differently

Boy reading and surrounded by books

In an article that appeared in “The Atlantic,” Pirette McKamey illustrated the many ways anti-racist teachers make black students central to the success of their own teaching. “This is a paradigm shift: Instead of only asking black students who are not doing well in class to start identifying with school, we also ask teachers whose black students are not doing well in their classes to start identifying with those students,” said McKamey.

McKamey is the first black principal of Mission High School in San Francisco, and has taught high-school English and history for 26 years. From 2005 to 2016, she co-founded and co-led the anti-racist teaching committee at Mission High. In the article, she offers a firsthand account of students’ level of success when their academic strengths are overlooked and marginalized by educators who do not respect the intellectual contributions of black students versus those who do.

Read the full article.

Trine Seniors Recognized as Outstanding Future Educators

This article originally appeared on the Trine University News site and is reprinted with permission.

Three Trine University students from the Franks School of Education have been recognized as Outstanding Future Educators by the Indiana Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (IACTE).

Graduating seniors Cassi Wyse, an elementary education major from Archbold, Ohio, Mackenna Kelly, a mathematics education major from Angola, Indiana, and Connor Moore, a health and physical education major from Indianapolis, were scheduled to be honored with other students from across the state at the Outstanding Future Educators Banquet in Carmel, Indiana, on April 3. However, the event was canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Though I’m heartbroken we were unable to join together to recognize these future educators in the way they deserved, the lack of a formal celebration in no way diminishes their accomplishments as teacher education students at Trine and the excellence they bring to their teaching careers,” said Anthony Kline, dean of the Franks School of Education. “We are proud of their effort here and look forward to their success as professional educators.”

Each teacher preparation program in the state recognized teacher candidates with the honor.

Will Congress Provide Support to Reopen Schools During COVID-19?

Student and Teacher in classroom wearing masks

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.

Re-opening Schools During COVID-19:  Will the Federal Government Help?  

The topic of reopening schools is demanding attention at all levels of government—both for K-12 and higher education. The questions far outnumber the answers and the keywords seems to be flexibility and local decision-making. With governors, public health agencies, state and local school leaders, parents, and teachers all weighing in, the web of perspectives is complex. Finding a path to ensure public safety, equity and access to effective education is the challenge of the day. And finding the money to do what needs to be done—and in the midst of a polarizing election cycle—is looking like a herculean task.    

This week, the House Committee on Education and Labor held its second hearing related to education and the pandemic, Inequities Exposed: How COVID-19 Widened Racial Inequities in Education, Health and the Workforce.  In his testimony about education, John B. King Jr, president and CEO of the Education Trust, highlighted ongoing inequities in both K-12 and higher education and how COVID-19 has exacerbated them.  He urged the federal government to act and recommended the following provisions for the next COVID-19 relief bill:

How Educators Can Turn Grief into Action

This article originally appeared on Rodney Robinson’s blog and is reprinted with permission.

Yesterday, I woke up to a country and a city in crisis.  I had text messages from former students who are now in their late 20’s looking for guidance and advice. Teachers who are close friends and some strangers have asked for my advice on what they should be doing. I did my best to calm their fears and try to help them channel their anger, anxiety, and aggression into a more impactful way but soon became overwhelmed at the sheer hopelessness of the situation.  Like everyone, I’ve been sulking and processing the events of the past week. 

Politicians, the media, and pundits love to use the term systemic racism to describe what is going on to generalize the problems of being black in America. While this is true, we must address the causes of systemic racism and not allow them to generalize and describe the system they are complicit in maintaining. We must push them to make systemic racism more than a buzzword.  We must push them to define systemic racism and demand solutions that provide actionable change and implementation which most aren’t willing to do because they must sacrifice their comfort and position.  

Peaceful protests and uprisings are not inspired just from the frustration of a lynched unarmed Black man. This is the frustration that comes from an inherently racist society that was built to subjugate Black people.  According to Ta-Nehisi Coates, the “destruction is merely the superlative form of a dominion whose prerogatives include frisking, detainings, beatings, and humiliations.” It also comes from lack of safe, affordable neighborhoods, an education system that punishes black and brown boys and girls at rates 3-4 times higher than white kids, and a criminal system that stalks and preys on black bodies limiting their opportunities for physical and financial freedom.

National Poll Finds Parents and Teachers Want More Data and Better Support to Use It during COVID-19

Parents and teachers have had to deal with unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, but their demand for data is as strong as ever. The Data Quality Campaign’s (DQC) fifth parent poll and third teacher poll—conducted by The Harris Poll—makes clear that, especially during these uncertain times, parents and teachers value data. DQC’s national polls found that parents overwhelmingly want more information to support student success and teachers want more data on how the COVID-19 crisis has affected student learning—but teachers also want training and resources to use that data effectively. As state leaders pursue efforts to restart school in the fall, state policymakers and school leaders must take action to give parents and teachers the information and resources they need to ensure their students succeed.

“While the pandemic causes uncertainty in and out of schools, we know that parents and teachers want data and need more support to use it to help their students succeed,” said Data Quality Campaign President and CEO Jennifer Bell-Ellwanger. “As state and district leaders prepare for instruction to resume—whether it’s in person, virtual, or a hybrid—they must prioritize getting parents the information they need and ensuring that teachers have both the data they need and the tools to use it. Taking steps toward both of these goals will ensure that those closest to students have the data they need to make decisions that best serve students.”

Parents see the value of data. They want more data to understand the effects of school closures on student learning in their communities and to inform recovery efforts to best meet students’ and families’ evolving needs.

Desegregation, White Resistance to Brown, and the Emergence of Schools Named for Confederates

Monument in Richmond, Virginia commemorating protests which helped bring about school desegregation

This essay is excerpted from Leslie T. Fenwick’s forthcoming book, Jim Crow’s Pink Slip: Public Policy and the Near-Decimation of Black School Leadership after Brown. The excerpt provides a brief history about how many public schools came to be named for confederates and racist politicians who fought against integration and illegally resisted the Brown decision.

In 1954, the Brown v. Board of Education legal decision proclaimed that segregation had no place in America’s public schools. With this new law of the land and ensuing federal pressure to desegregate, school districts in 17 dual system states complied by closing black schools and firing, demoting and dismissing legions of exceptionally credentialed black principals and teachers. At the time, closing black schools was the primary method for ridding the system of black principals and teachers most of whom were better credentialed than their white peers. Directly after Brown there was little displacement of black principals and teachers, but as Title VI compliance mandates increased, the National Education Association (NEA) received reports from black teachers’ associations indicating that displacements were increasing.

In late 1969, C. J. Duckworth who served as executive secretary to the Mississippi Teachers Association clarified the link between black school closures and black principal firing and demotions in 17 Mississippi school districts. In his report to the NEA, he wrote:

Alcorn County – the black high school reduced to a junior high school and the black principal demoted to a federal projects coordinators; Clarke County – the black high school reduced to a junior high school and the principal made an elementary principal for remainder of the year, after which he was to be terminated; Clay County – the black high school reduced to a junior high school with a white principal; ….Franklin County – a black elementary principal replaced by a white principal; Hancock County – the black high school phased out and only two of 10 black teachers remain; Harrison County – a black junior-senior high school eliminated and the black principal made supervisor of a material center;….Itawamba County – all black schools and principals eliminated; ….Prentiss County – black high schools and principals phased out; ….Marion County – black high school principals replaced with whites…. (p. 5332)

ISTE Hosts Summer Learning Academy for Educators and Teacher Candidates

ISTE Summer Learning AcademyAs we look toward fall 2020, it is clear that PK-12 schools will continue to use some blend of online and face-to-face learning as they deal with social distancing requirements and a possible resurge of COVID-19 cases. Teaching effectively with technology is now an essential competency for all educators.

This summer provides a window of opportunity to deepen teacher candidates’ ability to effectively use technology to support learning. But that shift will not happen through checklists or tool training alone. Educators need explicit strategies and peer support. They also need professional learning experiences that will count towards their ongoing career development and continuing education credits. 

To address these issues, AACTE is proud to team up with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) to launch a Summer Learning Academy designed to prepare K-12 educators and teacher candidates for teaching in online and blended learning settings this fall.

This fun 3-week summer learning experience will provide the online teaching support educators have been asking for in a flexible format that meets their needs. Educators who successfully complete the program earn continuing education units (CEUs) and graduate-level credit.

What Zoom Reminded Me about Effective Teaching

Video call group business people meeting on virtual workplace or remote office

Like many educators, I experienced a crash course in teaching via Zoom during 2020. More than another technological tool, videoconferencing has helped me rethink and refine my pedagogical practice—for both online and face-to-face settings. 

Classroom Norms

In my typical class sessions, we jump into instruction and activities to model “on-task” productivity. However, Zoom has reminded me that giving attention to procedures and expectations is time well spent.

In a videoconference setting, these “norms” often relate to technical set up—microphones, chatroom, camera, etc. Such issues relate to all sorts of teaching environments. How can students use phones or other devices? What should they write down or record? When and how do they talk with one another and the instructor? These are all important questions, and answering them at the start establishes expectations for successful learning (Finley, 2013).

AACTE Celebrates SCOTUS Decisions Supporting Diversified Educator Workforce

DACA LGBTQ concept

AACTE celebrates the recent rulings of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) in support of the LGBTQ community and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. AACTE commends the two decisions and their significant impact for growing a diversified educator workforce prepared by AACTE member institutions to meet the needs of diverse learners.

For the first time in American schools, LGBTQ teachers will not fear the loss of employment when self-identifying thanks to the SCOTUS June 15 ruling. It affirms the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects gay, lesbian, and transgender employees from discrimination based on sex. AACTE believes representation of LGBTQ educators in schools is vital to the mental and physical health of LGBTQ students, particularly Black transgender youth. The SCOTUS decision will increase the visibility of gender diverse teachers on all levels of the education system and will help students gain a deeper understanding about the LGBTQ community.

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