Amid 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.
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.
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
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.
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:
Please 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.
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.
If there is one thing we can all agree on, 2020 has been a year like no other. To learn how COVID-19 and the racial injustice crisis have impacted educator preparation—and the steps EPPs are taking in response—AACTE conducted a survey this fall of its members. Here are a just a few of the findings:
- More than half of the respondents are using instructional designers to help faculty create online courses, and 75% have made new tools available such as simulations and video libraries.
- Only have of respondents reported that their state had modified or waived performance assessment requirements due to COVID-19.
- 60% of respondents reported declines in undergraduate enrollment.
- 70% of respondents have recently increased their investment in diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
AACTE’s new Member Spotlight features an individual from a member institution, highlighting how their work makes a difference in classrooms across the country. Nominate yourself or another member by providing a response to the following questions and sending to email@example.com.
Get to know Bethany Hamilton-Jones …
Current position: Clinical Associate Professor, University of Georgia (UGA)
Number of years in this position: I’ve been in teacher preparation since 2006!
Alma Mater(s): UGA and SUNY Oswego
Hometown: Fairport, NY
Applications are now being accepted for the new AACTE Video Observation Technology Implementation Grant. This opportunity, in collaboration with Edthena, is available exclusively to AACTE members.
Given the many challenges that educator preparation programs have weathered in 2020, AACTE and Edthena have created this grant opportunity to provide some much needed relief for up to 20 AACTE members. Each grantee will be awarded up to $25,000 in grant funds, which will be utilized to implement the Edthena platform for the upcoming Spring 2021 semester.
For those AACTE member institutions interested in applying:
- Active AACTE members in good standing, and not already an Edthena partner, are eligible for the grant.
- Matching of grant funds are not required during this Spring 2021 offering.
- Continuing Edthena implementation after the grant period is not required.
- Grantees will receive implementation and planning support from the Edthena team to build a deployment strategy for the spring semester.
- Awardees will receive access to the relevant edTPA toolsets needed for your program (where applicable).
- AACTE team members will also participate in onboarding training with grantees, where possible, to help connect awardees with additional 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.
Welcome to the world of President-elect Joe Biden and VP-elect Kamala Harris.
What Might a Biden Presidency Mean for Education?
When President-elect Joe Biden told the nation that educators will have “one of their own” in the White House, a sigh of relief and a whiff of optimism were palpable among the education community. Referring to his wife, Jill Biden—a long time community college professor—he also said that “teaching isn’t just what she does, it’s who she is.” Thus, the president-elect sets the tone for the next four years of one of the most pro-education administrations in our lifetimes.
Biden named his transition teams this week, including the one for education. Led by Linda Darling-Hammond, president of the Learning Policy Institute and former head of the Obama Administration education transition team, the group is comprised of a number of former Obama appointees as well as union leaders. The team is working on compiling both potential nominees for political positions in the Department of Education as well as fleshing out policy priorities and a timeline.
Does it seem like elections never end these days? Well, at AACTE democracy is working. AACTE has a convenient online voting system, and it will only take a moment to cast your vote for new leaders of your Association.
The 2020 election for the AACTE Board of Directors is underway through Friday, December 4. Two seats will be decided via online voting:
- One seat represents the Council of Academic Deans from Research Education Institutions (CADREI)
- One seat represents the Teacher Education Council of State Colleges and Universities (TECSCU)
All AACTE All AACTE Institutional and Chief Representatives are eligible to vote for both positions, regardless of whether you work at a CADREI, TECSU, or other type of institution. The slate is as follows:
AACTE’s new Member Spotlight features an individual from a member institution, highlighting how their work makes a difference in classrooms across the country. The spotlight offers an opportunity for you to share your institution’s initiatives with your colleagues, inspire other institutions to consider membership, and strengthen awareness of educator preparation. View our first Member Spotlight highlighting Bethany Hamilton Jones.
Share your story with peers, inspire students, and strengthen awareness of the profession and association. Each month we’ll highlight an individual in our EdPrepMatters blog and e-newsletter. Nominate yourself or another member by providing a response to the following questions and sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In a recent article, “To Tackle Critical Theory in the K–12 Classroom, Start with Colleges of Education,” the author shares the view of someone who opposes training teacher candidates in critical race theory. AACTE Board member John Henning, dean of the School of Education at Monmouth University, refutes these opposing views and explains the value of including CRT work in education preparation programs.
The author of the article states that critical race theory (CRT) “amounts to an unremitting attack on all of America’s norms and traditions.” How would you respond to this statement?
The purpose of critical race theory is to examine the role of race and racism in society. And it is helpful for raising awareness so that we can identify the existence of structural racism. It is not part of the curriculum; its purpose is not to question American norms and traditions. However, because racism is widely acknowledged to still exist in the United States, it can cause us to reflect both on our past and current practices. But it should be remembered that it is a theory, and, like all theories, it can be accepted partially, mostly, or fully. It is appropriate for teacher preparation programs to discuss this theory as part of their coursework because of the increasing racial diversity in schools. Most teachers are White females (around 80%) and critical race theory provides teachers, whether they are White or another race, with perspectives that allow them to gain insights into their students.
As of July 1, 2020 all universities were required to comply with 2019 federal state authorization regulations. Among the requirements in these complex regulations is one related to all programs that fulfill educational requirements of a profession that requires licensure or certification. Included among these programs are those in schools and colleges of education—for teachers, psychologists, school counselors and more. Every university with such programs is required to make public, for each state, whether the program does or does not meet such requirements. For example, a special education teacher preparation program at a university in Florida must disclose whether its requirements would lead to certification in Minnesota.
MSU determined to provide a university-wide compilation of program requirements in relation to state certification requirements rather than a college by college compilation. Who was involved? What is the utility of doing it this way?
At MSU, compliance with this requirement took a village and included substantial support from university-level offices. First, the General Counsel’s office and Registrar’s office worked with administrators from across campus to develop a plan for compliance with both these regulations and also the similar reporting about online programs required by NC-SARA. This group identified the sequence of necessary work and set out due dates for various pieces. Second, staff from the General Counsel’s office and Registrar’s office met as needed with individuals from colleges, in addition to continuing to meet with the ad hoc group that created the process. In response to a request from colleges, the university also took care of all the relevant notifications to current students, which was a great help.