Archive for 2021

Educators and Leaders Come Together for AACTE’s Virtual Day on the Hill – Washington Week

AACTE begins its virtual “Day on the Hill” today, September 21, through September 23, as part of AACTE’s Washington Week activities. Themed “Your Voice Matters,” the virtual event enables AACTE members to make their collective voices heard with Members of Congress and their Staff. Prior to their virtual Hill visits, participants engage in orientation and advocacy training in preparation to call for education funding and policy changes focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion in education and teacher preparation programs. Throughout the sessions, attendees will learn what context to consider when meeting with their legislators and explore the latest developments in Washington.
 
“AACTE’s leadership as an advocate for higher and K-12 education throughout our nation is powerful,” said Lynn M. Gangone, Ed.D., president and CEO, AACTE. “As our members come together as one voice during Washington Week, they remind our elected officials of the importance of education as the foundation of our democracy and ask our congresspeople to lend their unwavering support to our elementary, secondary, and post-secondary institutions, their educators, and their students.” 
 
The Holmes Program Advanced Policy Short Course preceded Day on the Hill, including a ‘Capitol Hill Briefing’ with House Education and Labor Committee Staff and an interview with Congressman Mondaire Jones (NY-17). During the course, students learned strategies to elevate their research and amplify their voices to positively impact future policy for students of color and other marginalized groups.

Sessions at AACTE’s 2021 Day on the Hill include:

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

  • Day on the Hill Opening Session
  • The Big Picture: Current Policy & Political Landscape
  • Legislative Priorities: Appropriations, the Higher Education Act, Reed/Adams Legislation, and Reconciliation
  • What is Advocacy and Why is it Important?
  • Using AACTE’s Legislative Priorities for an Effective Hill Meeting
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
  • Capitol Hill Panel Discussion
  • Education Deans Panel and Town Hall: Building Campus/Program Leadership for Advocacy
  • Checking Your Own Politics at the Door: How to Talk with Policy Makers of Either Party and Effectively Tell Your Story
Thursday, September 23, 2021
  • Day on the Hill – Virtual House and Senate Congressional Visits
AACTE’s Washington Week activities will conclude with the State Leaders Institute held September 30 through October 1. For more information on AACTE Washington Week 2021, visit aacte.org, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter using #AACTEWW21.

UofL Doctoral Student Pursues Degree to ‘Prepare the World’ for Students with Autism

This article originally appeared on UofLNews.com and is reprinted with permission.

Lorita RowlettLorita Rowlett, like so many students, wears a variety of hats: mother, teacher and student, to name a few.

Rowlett is pursuing her doctoral degree in special education through the College of Education and Human Development and says it is the only path she could have imagined pursuing.

“After I graduated with my bachelor’s degree, I went right into teaching and taught in a self-contained classroom for eight years,” Rowlett said. “I switched to special education because I have a son who was diagnosed with autism, so it became my life. I wanted to help other moms like me.”

Initially inspired to improve the curriculum and instruction for students in her own classroom, Rowlett returned to UofL to receive her master’s degree in special education with a focus in autism studies.

Reimaging the Future: A New Vision for Academic Leaders

Leadership Academy Session III

Plan to attend the third Leadership Academy Series session under the theme, Reimaging the Future:  A New Vision for Academic Leaders, on January 25, 2022.

Are you registered to attend AACTE’s Leadership Academy?  Availability is limited, but there is still time to register and enjoy access to all recorded sessions and continue conversations with attendees via the AACTE Connect360 online community. You won’t want to miss what is coming up.

Congress Reconvenes with Lots at Stake for Education

Clock and American currency. Time is money conceptThis 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.

Members of Congress are in a Race Against the Clock with Critical Deadlines Looming this Fall 

Members of Congress are in a race against the clock to get four major pieces of legislation passed and ultimately to keep the government running. The big four are the bi-partisan infrastructure bill, the reconciliation bill, a continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown, and legislation to raise the debt ceiling to avoid the government from heading into default on its obligations.

The first bill, the bi-partisan infrastructure bill, passed the Senate before the August recess. It is now up to the House to act. However, the bill’s progress is tied to the fate of the second bill—reconciliation (which is a Democrat only initiative)—which is described further below. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) promised Democrats that she will hold a vote on the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill by September 27. She also pledged to approve the partisan reconciliation bill—a $3.5 trillion plan for social programs (including education)—in conjunction with the bi-partisan infrastructure bill. By tying those two bills together she is hoping to keep her caucus on the same page, with both moderates and liberals supporting them both.

Day on the Hill: Making a Difference in Early Childhood and Rural Education

As a former early childhood public school prekindergarten teacher in rural South Carolina, I have always engaged in advocacy for better educational policies. I have been engrossed in issues such as reduced recess, teacher professional development policies, parent access, and teacher training since I was in the classroom. I continue to serve as a point of inspiration as a 13-year veteran teacher educator at a historically black college and university (HBCU). Such personal connections and identified issues led me not only to serve on the AACTE Committee on Government Relations and Advocacy but also to engage in AACTE’s “Day on the Hill.”

AACTE’s Government Relations and Advocacy Committee is as way for me to provide support, experience, and advice in an area that I feel honored to have some expertise in—early childhood teacher education—to affect change at the highest level of the United States Government through the AACTE community. I have always said, “I trust my leaders, but they always need to have access to all of the information and the right information to make a comprehensively informed decision.” I lay that same claim to politicians and other policy makers and enforcers. This committee has given me much additional excitement because I not only see changes happening, but also, I believe that my small, humble contributions help make a difference.

Iowa’s Baker Teacher Leader Center Offers Social-Emotional-Behavioral Health Webinars

This past summer, the Iowa Department of Education and the University of Iowa announced a new partnership aimed to expand mental health supports for students, teachers, and school administrators. The Iowa Department of Education designated $20 million in federal relief provided in the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER II) Fund within the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRSSA) Act to help support the development of the Iowa Center for School Mental Health (ICSMH). This center is housed in the College of Education at the University of Iowa and will provide social-emotional-behavioral health (SEBH) focused training opportunities and resources for education professionals, pre-service teachers, school administrators, and conduct research on the effective delivery of these services.

In addition to the SEBH professional learning and trainings, the ICSMH is in the process of building a crisis response team, offering face-to-face and online crisis interventions, strategic planning support, needs assessment and SEBH program evaluation.

House Committee Approves Significant Investments in Education Preparation Programs

High School Students With Teacher In Class Using LaptopsOn September 9, the House Education and Labor Committee began work on its part of the reconciliation package that would make historic investments in American families, students, and the workforce. The legislation passed on a party line vote (28-22) and will be considered by the full House of Representatives in the coming weeks.

Among the new policies, the House Education and Labor committee calls for investing an additional

Advancing Educational Equity

This article is a personal reflection of the 2021 Holmes Policy Institute by attendee Rangel Zarate.

Rangel ZarateThis year’s AACTE Holmes Policy Institute was rich with memorable discussions about culturally-relevant care, digital technology in the classroom, and equity issues in schools.

The year 2021 has led to an unexpected metamorphosis in education and has forced many instructors and educational leaders to rethink the way they approach student learning and their own teaching practices. In our conference panel discussion, “Advancing Educational Equity Post-COVID” AACTE staffer and associate professors at Columbia University’s Teachers College Deltra Price-Dennis and Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz invited us to reflect on our own thoughts surrounding this new culture of change in educational institutions.

Promoting Policy Change from the Bottom-Up

This article is a personal reflection of the 2021 Washington Week Holmes Policy Institute by attendee Kamilah Bywaters.

Kamilah BywatersAACTE’s Holmes Policy Institute was literally “a breath of fresh air.” The gathering was a reminder of the extraordinary leaders within our nation who are dedicated and committed to forward thinking ideas that are good for all of humanity. I was more than thrilled to hear from Jessica Cardichon, assistant secretary in the Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development with the U.S. Department of Education. Her specific role that day was to inform Holmes Scholars of the initiatives and goals of the Biden Administration. To top it off, Nick Lee, the deputy assistant secretary for higher education, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development with the U.S. Department of Education, provided valuable information on one of the objectives to ensure that higher education is equity focused and affordable to underserved and underrepresented communities. I am filled with hope to know that many of our nation’s leaders listen to the communities they serve and strive to implement policy that provides access and does good in the world.

Hear From Past Attendees About AACTE Washington Week

Connect with peers from across the nation during the virtual AACTE 2021 Washington Week. Themed Your Voice Matters, the conference unites AACTE’s collective efforts to advance education policy and funding to support programs at your local institutions. Hear what past attendees had to say about the value of Washington Week events in these testimonial videos:

Christine Carrino Gorowara, Ph.D.
Past president of the Delaware Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
University of Delaware
 
Christine Carrino Gorowara, Ph.D.
 

House Marks Up Proposed Build Back Better Act

Signing paperwork with a fountain paperwork. The image has added grain and styling.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 following is an interim update on the big development in the House this week—the Committee on Education and Labor’s markup of the long-awaited Reconciliation bill, which features significant investments in the educator workforce.  

The House Education and Labor Committee Begins Mark Up on Reconciliation Proposal 

As you will recall, several months ago President Biden proposed two significant investments in the nation’s infrastructure—both human and physical: the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan. The human infrastructure component is now being developed by Congress, in the form of a reconciliation bill. Yesterday, the House Education and Labor Committee began to mark up its portion of the reconciliation proposal. The 289 page proposal, with a $761 billion price tag—otherwise known as the Build Back Better Act—is part of the larger $3.5 trillion proposal.

As described by the Committee, the proposal would lower costs for families, secure good-paying jobs for American workers, and set a strong foundation of America’s children. The three major education programs in the bill include Universal Pre-K, Tuition-Free Community College, and Child Care.

New Tools to Support Your Advocacy

White House in the fall

As we enter September, we are just weeks away from AACTE’s Day on the Hill, the Association’s premiere advocacy event.  Participation in the event is critical to helping advance AACTE’s legislative priorities and highlighting the importance of teacher preparation programs.  If you have not participated in Day on the Hill, or if you need a refresher, you may be wondering what attendees will be advocating for during their meetings with Members of Congress and congressional staffers. The AACTE team has posted a variety of Washington Week resources on the to help guide participants. 

In many cases, you will be familiar with the issues: the importance of TEACH Grants, which are critical to helping students enter the teaching profession while helping to address shortages in hard-to-staff fields and schools; Teacher Quality Partnerships (TQP), which helps strengthen the teacher pipeline; and a variety of other bills that will help make sure our nation’s classrooms are staffed with profession-ready, diverse group of educators.

While it is helpful to review these materials ahead of Day on the Hill sessions, please know that we will discuss the political landscape and AACTE’s legislative priorities before meeting with members of congress to help you become more comfortable with advocacy. And there will be several other panels to help you understand why advocacy is important and how you can have successful meetings.

If you haven’t already, I hope you will plan to join us for our Day on the Hill. To register, please visit AACTE’s website

 

 

UW College of Education Launches Competition to Spark Interest in Teaching

University of Wyoming - WY TeachThe University of Wyoming College of Education and UW Trustees Education Initiative (TEI) have partnered with Mursion, a company that develops virtual reality training simulations, to present the inaugural College WYTeach competition.

UW and Wyoming community college students who are freshmen or sophomores and interested in becoming teachers can participate in the contest. The top three participants will be awarded scholarship money to UW or a Wyoming community college.

In Wyoming and across the nation, schools are experiencing a shortage of teachers. The WYTeach competition was developed to get students interested in teaching careers and provide a stream of highly qualified teachers into classrooms. This exposure will provide students the opportunity to practice their professional skills and put their teaching abilities to the test by leading a class of students inside a virtual reality simulation.

Washington Week Viewpoint: Why State Leaders Institute?

Beth KubitskeyBeth Kubitskey, ACSR Midwest Region representative and president of the Michigan Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, recently shared her experience as a State Leaders Institute attendee and what she’s looking forward to at this year’s virtual event during Washington Week. 

Why do you believe it is important for AACTE members to actively advocate for education?  

One of the reasons I think it is vital for AACTE members to advocate for education is because we are the experts. Still, often we are so busy doing the work that we do, we have to remind ourselves that we need to be proactive, not reactive. Often by the time we finally receive word on a bill, law, or state policy, it has already moved through many processes.

And so, we are not aware of those kinds of things before they get to far down the road, and we lose our opportunity to have an impact. There are multiple examples of where we are more likely to succeed if we can get that information early and be proactive.

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