Archive for November, 2020

Congress Winds Down with Packed Agenda

U.S. Capitol

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 Senate returns to town today after Thanksgiving recess. Most pressing is the December 11 deadline to avoid a government shutdown. Meanwhile pressure to address an out-of-control pandemic with a fiscal relief bill does not appear to be in sight. And President Trump continues to challenge the outcome of the Presidential election. 

The 116th Congress Moves Toward a Shaky Finish

Progress with finalizing the FY 2021 spending bill is underway, but the outcome is far from certain. The four corners (Democratic and Republican leaders from the House and Senate) have been meeting and appear to be in agreement on top line spending numbers. The four corners also agree that they want a bill. President Trump remains a wild card. 

One of four outcomes is possible:  1) Congress completes all the funding bills by December 11 and the President signs them into law;  2) Congressional negotiators are making  good progress by December 11 and extend the current level of funding for a week or so while they continue to negotiate; 3) Congress passes a temporary funding measure through March or so, essentially punting decision-making into the next Congress; 4) Congress passes a bill before the end of the year and the President refuses to sign it causing a government shutdown. My money is on number 2. Congress is notorious for stretching out finalization of bills right up until the Christmas break.  It’s hard to imagine a government shutdown—even in the midst of the craziness these days—that seems a bridge too far.

Leading and Engaging Faculty in Teacher Preparation Reform: The Role of Deans

Webinar, Personal development and e-learning concept on blurred abstract background.AACTE is proud to partner with the CEEDAR (Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform) Center to bring you a webinar focused on a special issue brief, Leading and Engaging Faculty in Teacher Preparation Reform: The Role of Deans, on December 16, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. ET.

The issue brief summarizes the experiences in leadership of six current and former deans who have been identified as engaging in successful collaborative reform efforts within their colleges. AACTE and CEEDAR look to their experiences to support leaders, like you, in understanding the actions they took and the strategies they employed that may be useful to other leaders of educator preparation programs (EPPs) who are committed to restructuring curricula and programs in their own settings.

AACTE’s Video Wall Showcases the Impact of Educator Preparation

Room full of video screens

Have you visited the AACTE Video Wall lately? It offers a wide range of video content for teacher educators, pre-service and in-service teachers to showcase the impact that educator preparation is making in teaching and learning today. The videos are designed to help you understand critical issues in education and the resources available to you to get involved and support the teaching profession. AACTE videos can be viewed as part of classroom curricula, as well as shared with education leaders, policy makers, and local communities to learn more about the positive work educator preparation professionals do every day.

From event highlights, lectures, and short documentaries to webinars and podcasts, the videos featured on the AACTE Video Wall offer you tools and resources to stay updated on the latest in educator preparation within just a few minutes of viewing time. The video platform can be used to promote the innovative work of educators by utilizing its embedded capability to easily share a video on your social media or to send an e-mail.

AACTE’s President/CEO Reflects on Using Virtual Simulation in Teacher Prep During Fireside Chat

AACTE & Mursion Virtual Reality ClassroomsMursion CEO Mark Atkinson hosted AACTE’s President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone for a virtual fireside chat in culmination of a multi-part series highlighting how Mursion’s virtual simulation classroom is being used in educator preparation programs. To start the conversation, Gangone reflected on how the pandemic has shaped the need to collaborate and to think differently on the delivery of instruction in the P-20 setting. She noted, “In our strategic planning process we created a vision to revolutionize education for all learners. We had no idea how prescient that was because of the pandemic.”

Rethinking clinical practice with the use of simulation is just one way in which innovation has supported the delivery of high-quality preparation without having to be on-the-ground. This helped accelerate AACTE’s collaboration with Mursion.

In addition to addressing the challenges and innovations brought on by the shift to virtual learning, Gangone and Atkinson also discussed efforts nationally to promote an antiracist agenda in schools to ensure the fair and equitable treatment of students. Gangone mentioned the importance of AACTE’s work in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion. “We know that we all have implicit bias and that systemic racism exists,” she said. “So AACTE has been doing a lot of work in this area, from entrance exams into programs to other barriers to enter the profession.”

The discussion also focused on how simulation can support both teacher candidates and teacher preparation faculty in addressing their own inherent or implicit biases, which often carry into the classroom. “Simulation gives us an opportunity to deal with our own biases in ways that are really powerful and not bring harm,” commented Gangone. Engaging teacher education faculty in the simulation space could not only help to address biases and equity, but to better understand social and emotional learning, and effective pedagogy. There are a great number of possibilities when thinking through combining scholarship with simulation to move the field of education forward. Atkinson noted, “There is so much that we can bring to the floor, for teachers and leaders together, to really improve the way children experience school once they can get back into them again.”

Listen to the full recording of this conversation.

AACTE and Mursion are collaborating to support teacher preparation through the pandemic and beyond. Learn more details about this collaboration.

Dr. Jill Biden — Next First Lady and Educator

This article originally appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch and is reprinted with permission.

Jill Biden“American educators — It is a great day for y’all.” I was struck by this sentiment that was shared by President-elect Joe Biden in his speech to the nation on the evening of Nov. 7. Biden was referring to his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, a community college professor in Virginia. Dr. Biden spent her career as an educator and, now as first lady, will bring the focus of education directly into the White House. It indeed was a welcomed sentiment, particularly for public education, including pre-K-12 schools and higher education.

However, this is not the first time former educators have occupied the White House. Ten former presidents had some type of teaching experience in their backgrounds. For example, President Lyndon B. Johnson was a dedicated history teacher. Many first ladies also had teaching experience in their pasts, including Laura Bush, who was a teacher and a librarian.

But somehow, this feels quite different with Dr. Biden. Perhaps one can attribute the difference to the serious issue the pandemic has caused for educators across the nation. Young children to college-age students have felt the impact of online teaching and the disruption of what once was considered normal schooling for them.

Leveraging Teacher Candidates as Assets During the Pandemic: A Win-Win for All

Supporting Inclusive SchoolsLast month, AACTE partnered with CCSSO, the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders at the American Institutes for Research, and the CEEDAR Center to discuss how teacher candidates can be leveraged as assets for PK-12 districts navigating online learning and uncertainty during the pandemic. During the webisode hosted by CCSSO, Loretta Mason-Williams from Binghamton University, Jacqueline Rodriguez from AACTE, and Christian Rodgers from AASA set the stage for how the needs of teacher candidates, schools, and families are changing in 2020. With this shift in needs comes opportunities for both schools and teacher candidates.

This webisode also featured faculty and staff from AACTE member institution, Boston University, and Boston public schools, along with Lindsey Decker, a current teacher candidate. Decker shared her experiences supporting her mentor teacher in an online environment and noted “teachers are looking for additional adults to be in the classrooms.” In the virtual environment, Decker said she works with learners in small breakout groups and “one-on-one to lessen the gap that we’re seeing from the pandemic.”

Teacher Shortages: Are We Heading in the Right Direction?

This article originally appeared in District Administration and is reprinted with permission.

Erica McCrayThe teacher shortage is real, complex, and concerning—especially in high-demand specialty areas such as special education, math and science, English as a second language, and foreign language. This comes as no surprise, as many reports indicate low enrollment in these educator preparation program (EPP) teaching areas. While it is important to reflect upon the current state of the teacher shortage, it is imperative that EPPs analyze changes in student enrollment to determine future implications for the teacher workforce.

The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) recently released the issue brief, Degree Trends in High-Demand Teaching Specialties. Authored by Jacqueline E. King, Ph.D., the report examines trends in sub-specialties within the high-demand areas based on data that colleges report to the U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). While the report offers a few bright spots, it suggests that current PK-12 school shortages will not be remedied simply by hiring newly-prepared teachers.

Diana Gallardo Named Holmes Scholar of the Month

Diana GallardoAACTE congratulates Diana Gallardo, Holmes Scholar of the Month for November. Gallardo is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision at Pennsylvania State University. She is a National Certified Counselor (NCC) and has worked in the field for three years.

Prior to enrolling at Penn State, Gallardo obtained her master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Northwestern University. Additionally, Gallardo is a graduate teaching assistant with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry. After attending the AACTE Holmes Preconference for the first time in 2019, Gallardo expressed how she benefitted from the experience and how thrilled she was to be a part of a supportive community. “I was able to connect and meet scholars of color who are doing amazing work in all fields of education. I have come back refreshed and ready to continue my purpose in counselor education and supervision programs,” she stated.

Despite challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, Gallardo continued to excel in her scholarship. She recently obtained IRB approval and has started conducting her latest research on diversity issues within counselor education faculty. In addition to the academic and professional experiences that Gallardo brings to the Holmes community, she is known for being a light to everyone she interacts with due to her warm and open personality.

Amplifying BIPOC Student Voices: Discussions on Racial and Social Justice at FAU

Adrian LabartaAmid the COVID-19 pandemic, institutions of higher education have experienced various challenges, including transitions to online learning and adaptations to the delivery of campus services. Students, faculty, and staff alike have navigated feelings of anxiety and stress amid these uncertain times. Further, students that identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) are navigating two pandemics: COVID-19 and systemic racism. This reality presents an important question: How are university systems working to address racial injustice and support BIPOC students?

On Monday November 2, 2020, the College of Education (COE) Student Achievement Council (SAC) at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) collaborated with AACTE’s Holmes Scholars Program and the COE Diversity Committee to host a student outreach event with the purpose of addressing the aforementioned question. The three-part virtual presentation consisted of a welcome from COE Dean Stephen Silverman, a panel discussion with FAU’s Holmes Scholars, and an open discussion with all attendees of the event.

AACTE Welcomes New Holmes Scholars

The Holmes Program at AACTE has grown exponentially in recent months. AACTE commends its member institutions for their commitment to launch new and expand existing Holmes programs in spite of the institutional barriers caused by the coronavirus pandemic, including budget cuts, hiring freezes, and faculty reduction. AACTE recognizes that these are unprecedented times. Despite these challenges, members have pressed on to meet the needs of emerging scholars. AACTE would like to recognize their investment to provide mentorship, support, and professional development to graduate students of color during this difficult period.  AACTE is proud to introduce new Holmes Scholars at Kent State University, Syracuse University, and Virginia Commonwealth University. Moreover, we are excited to welcome new institutions to the Holmes community, including the University of Connecticut, University of LaVerne, and the University of Portland.

Join the Conversation at AACTE’s Town Hall on Critical Race Theory

AACTE Town Hall on Critical Race Theory

Facilitated by a panel of education deans, this open forum will examine and discuss the integral role educator preparation programs play in advancing scholarly work on Critical Race Theory, as well as ways to resist attacks on institutions’ efforts centered around this work. You are invited to join your colleagues and share challenges and success stories about your efforts to address race, equity, and social justice during these challenging times including the following topics:

  • The challenges EPPs face in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives because of the federal ruling and COVID-19
  • How EPPs can resist the recent attacks on institutions’ work and impact centered on Critical Race Theory
  • Success stories of EPPs’ work in Critical Race Theory since the federal ruling and COVID-19

AACTE Advocates for Educator Preparation with Biden Administration

Open book and american flag. Open book on wooden surface. Value your independence. Freedom for every man.

This past week, AACTE President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone sent a congratulatory letter to President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris on behalf of AACTE members, congratulating the 46th presidential administration and encouraging collaboration between the Association and our elected leaders. Gangone states, “AACTE supports your education priorities, which will ensure that no child’s future is determined by their zip code, parents’ income, race, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity, or immigration status.” The letter further describes AACTE’s interest in the selection of a Secretary of Education who has a proven track record in promoting social justice. “Choosing a leader who is deeply committed to advancing our nation’s public schools and our institutions of higher education, as well as investing in the teaching profession so that every student has a fully prepared teacher, is essential.” 

AACTE will be providing the Biden-Harris Education Transition Team with our legislative and policy priorities in the coming weeks. As we move toward 2021, these priorities will be shared with our elected leader in Congress and policymakers across the nation within each state.

Dear President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris:

The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) congratulates you on your election and looks forward to working with you and your administration as you lead our nation to “build back better.” AACTE members are schools and colleges of education that prepare the education workforce of the future. Members are in every state in the nation and include public and private colleges and universities, HBCUs and Hispanic-serving institutions, as well as community colleges. AACTE members ensure that all PK-12 students receive high quality instruction, especially critical during the current pandemic. Our educator candidates are salient assets to public schools with long-standing partnerships between our members and their local school districts.

Educator preparation sits at a crossroad of crises generated by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the public education workforce has already lost more than 600,000 jobs, university-based educator preparation programs are also experiencing significant reductions in enrollment and program closures. Rising demand for new teachers and shrinking production capacity in colleges and universities threatens the high-quality education our populace needs for a rich quality of life and to ensure our global competitiveness for generations. We look forward to working with you to address this national challenge and support the institutions preparing our educator workforce.

Alabama A&M initiative announces scholarship opportunities for Black Male Teachers

Teachers working with students in classroom

This article originally appeared in the USBE Information Technology magazine and is reprinted with permission.

Although minorities make up more than half of the student population in public schools, people of color make up about 20 percent of teachers. More than 70 percent of the total number of teachers are female. With support from the Education Writers Association, Chandra Thomas Whitfield took a close look at the shortage of Black male teachers in 2019. Nationwide, Whitfield found that only 2 percent of teachers are Black men.

Eleven months after Whitfield’s report, Alabama A&M University launched its Males for Alabama Education initiative to recruit Black male students who have an interest in teaching.

In October 2020, the Males for Alabama Education (M.AL.E.) Initiative announced that the scholarship program is accepting applications again.

Coordinated by the College of Education, Humanities and Behavioral Sciences and its Department of Teacher Education and Leadership, the M.AL.E. Initiative aims to:

Mursion CEO Mark Atkinson to Host Lynn M. Gangone for a Fireside Chat on the Future of Education

Mursion CEO Mark Atkinson to Host Lynn M. Gangone for a Fireside Chat on the Future of EducationPlease join us Tuesday, November 17, 1:00 p.m. ET for a joint reflection on 2020 and a look forward to the coming year. Mursion Co-founder and CEO, Mark Atkinson will host a fireside chat with AACTE President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone. Join the conversation as they share their perspectives on

  • The current state of teacher prep programs
  • What will go back to “normal” vs. what innovations for coping with the pandemic will stay
  • Models and systems are on the table for reinvention, writ large, what does this mean for higher education?

Register now for the free event.

The recorded session will be available for viewing.

Board of Directors Approves New Committee Appointments

Programmatic Advisory Committees

At its September meeting, the AACTE Board of Directors appointed new members to the programmatic advisory committees, including two new committees on Educator Diversity and the Holmes Program. Congratulations to these AACTE members, who will assume these positions on March 1, 2021, and a special thank you to everyone who submitted a nomination for these important volunteer leadership roles.

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