Archive for 2020

Educator Preparation Programs Lead the Way for Racial and Social Justice for All

This article originally appeared in Diverse Issues in Higher Education and is reprinted with permission.

Jacob EasleyThe 1787 U.S. Constitution was ratified to establish justice, liberty, and prosperity, but not for all Americans. Like the Constitution, early American educational practices were based on a system of whiteness and elitism. Justice and prosperity for those who comprise marginalized groups have remained largely unfulfilled. We know for certain that we are a pluralistic society. No one group has singularly built this nation, secured its borders, nor defended its values. The plurality of our nation is our strength. As educators, particularly who prepare America’s future teachers, we must double down, now more than ever, on what Horace Mann said, “Education, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, the balance wheel of the social machinery.”

America has yet to become an equal society, and these societal ills create the need for scholar activism embedded in Critical Race Theory (CRT), which historically documents and names the atrocities carried out in this country in the name of freedom, liberty, and democracy. America’s struggle to uphold the Constitution for all its citizens makes it necessary to examine the structural oppression that encumbers the United State from fully living up to its democratic ideals. Through CRT, scholars across higher education have researched racial inequality that emerged from the social, economic, and legal differences created between races to maintain elite, white interests in this country. If our national laws and practices are to ensure justice and equity, then educators have a great deal of work to do in ensuring the American ideals we teach youth to value in school are a reality for all.

A-Z Words of Wisdom from UCF Graduates for Future Educators

In 2017, several Elementary Education faculty members came together to create the University of Central Florida (UCF) Lake County Teacher Knights program, which was designed to support students who were graduating from the UCF South Lake Campus as they navigated their first few years in the classroom. Each month, the faculty members host evening professional learning sessions (with dinner) for these first through third year teachers. Additionally, they have partnered with Lake County Schools professional development department to host workshops on topics of the teachers’ request.

Now in year four, Lake County Teacher Knights are reflecting on a question many senior interns and recent graduates ask themself before that first day in their senior placement or their first classroom … “What do I need to know?” Well, here is what this group of dedicated and talented teachers want to share with future senior interns and new career teachers, shared with love and hope for a brighter teaching future. 

Here is their A-Z list of everything you wished you knew …

IDEA45: The Personnel Who Deliver the Promise

45th Anniversary of IDEA

Jane WestThis article originally appeared on the Department of Education website and is reprinted with permission.

I began my journey as a special educator in 1973. My first job was as a paraprofessional for students with emotional disturbance. The program was intended to transition students who had been in psychiatric hospitals back into public school. Our classroom was housed in a trailer on the playground of an elementary school in the Bronx.

Fresh out of college with a degree in literature, I was very keen on poetry. With the support of the teacher in charge of my class, I developed a curriculum on poetry. Much to my delight, the students were all in. They wrote some magnificent poems. Shortly after we finished the unit, the principal announced a school wide poetry contest. Elated, I met with him and provided the students’ work for submission to the contest. After looking at the poems briefly, he returned them to me saying, “There is no way those students could have written those poems.” I was devastated.

UMD Announces A ‘Grow-Your-Own’ Teacher Pipeline

The University of Maryland, Prince George’s Community College and Prince George’s County Public Schools announced a dual enrollment program to increase the teaching workforce in the state.

The Middle College Program enables high schoolers from county schools to earn an associate of arts degree in teaching while completing their high school requirements. Dual enrollment students can then transfer seamlessly into the UMD College of Education’s undergraduate teaching program; the program also aligns with Bowie State University and Howard University’s academic requirements.

“The collaboration is a reflection of our commitment to developing innovative new pathways to prepare an excellent and diverse teacher workforce for Prince George’s County Public Schools and for the state of Maryland,” said Jennifer King Rice, dean of the College of Education. “This model of ‘growing your own’ teachers will increase diversity in the education field, develop teachers from the local community and address critical teaching shortages.”

Gaëtane Jean-Marie Talks Culturally Responsive Classroom Management

Teacher smiling to her multi ethnic elementary classroom.

In a recent interview with AACTE, Gaëtane Jean-Marie, dean and professor of educational leadership at the College of Education, Rowan University, discusses the importance of preparing teacher candidates to understand the cultural background of students in moving toward a more humanistic approach to see the learner as an individual. 

Why is it important to prepare teacher candidates in culturally responsive classroom management?

It is to really realize the belief that all children can learn. A while back when I was teaching as a faculty member, I remember DuFour’s comment that stayed and resonates with me; it is that, “if we truly believe that all children can learn, what then do we do when they can’t, when they are not learning?” It makes me ask: What is our responsibility to help bridge the cultural gap between teachers and students? As we continue to help diversify the teaching profession, it is still predominantly white teachers who are the educators, so how do we prepare them? What’s the responsibility of ensuring that our teacher candidates can really meet the needs of all learners?  Given the demographic shift, where more of our Black and Brown children are in schools and will be taught by teachers who are not of the same race. If we are recognizing that it starts with the belief that all children can learn, then our belief must also align with our practices as we continue to work hard to diversify the profession. We espouse the belief that all children can learn; now let’s realize that dream. 

Education Leaders Address EPPs’ Role in Advancing Critical Race Theory

AACTE Town Hall on Critical Race Theory

On November 19, AACTE held its inaugural virtual Town Hall featuring an interactive discussion on Critical Race Theory (CRT) in education with six leading educators: Marvin Lynn, Ph.D., dean and professor, College of Education, Portland State University; Kimberly White-Smith, Ed.D., dean, La Fetra College of Education and Professor, University of La Verne; Lisa Norton, Ed.D., dean, College of Education and Health Sciences, Touro University, California; Jesse Perez Mendez, Ph.D., dean, College of Education, Texas Tech University; John Henning, Ph.D., dean, School of Education, Monmouth University; and Jacob Easley II, Ph.D., dean, Graduate School of Education, Touro College. During the session, the panelists addressed the integral role educator preparation programs play in advancing scholarly work on CRT as well as questions posed by the audience.

As the moderator, Mendez guided the conversation beginning with an explanation of CRT. “Please define Critical Race Theory and explain its tenets and brief history in education,” he said. Lynn responded, “Critical Race Theory is defined as a historical analysis and critique of racism and white supremacy. It’s an analysis of racism and white supremacy in the law and society that really uses relevant examples of case law, public policy, popular culture and critical historical events that are designed to draw attention to the way in which the law is racially constituted.” Lynn said, “And then we can think about critical race theory as an interdisciplinary critical theoretical method that’s taken up again chiefly by legal scholars. It draws on fields of sociology, anthropology, ethnic studies, and women’s studies to put forward a critique, a broad, systemic critique of race and racism as a key axis of power in the United States and around the world.”

Take Clinical Practice to the Next Level at AACTE’s 2021 Annual Meeting

Engaging Diverse Communities
Take your clinical practice program to the next level with proven tips and best practices revealed during AACTE’s virtual 2021 Annual Meeting, February 24-26. Discover ways to explore, expand, and inspire new ideas about effective, clinically-rich partnerships in educator preparation through concurrent sessions focused on conference Strand IV: Clinical Practice and Community Engagement. Register now for access to the latest content on how to produce educators who are confident, learner-ready, and contextually aware in sessions such as:
  • Eliminating the Drive-By Field Experience: Co-Constructing a Model Based in Community Engagement
  • Exploring the Inequities of Student Teaching During the COVID Crises
  • Preparing University Faculty for Clinically-oriented, Practice-based Teacher Education
  • The Other Pandemic: Engaging Black Families During COVID-19
  • Incorporation of Virtual Simulations to Prepare Special Education Teacher Candidates to Collaborate with Racially, Culturally, and Linguistically Diverse Families
  • Pivoting into a Paradigm Shift: Clinical Experiences in Online Classrooms
  • Entrepreneurial School-Based Leadership and University Partnerships
Learn about these sessions and more in the AACTE Online Event Planner, available with 160 plus concurrent sessions!
 
Time is running out to get discounted rates for the AACTE 2021 Annual Meeting! Register by December 18 to receive the early bird registration rate! Visit www.aacte.org for conference details, follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and join the conversation using #AACTE21.

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.

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