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Washington Week Viewpoint: State Leaders Institute

2021 Washington Week - State Leaders InstituteIn a recent Q&A with AACTE, Christine Carrino Gorowara, past president of the Delaware Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, shares her perspective as a frequent attendee of the Washington Week State Leaders Institute. 

Why do you believe it is important for AACTE members to actively advocate for education? Why do you recommend AACTE members attend the State Leaders Institute?

AACTE members have specialized knowledge about education issues and provide an invaluable perspective to lawmakers. Additionally, part of our role in preparing educators is doing what we can to create an environment where educators can thrive, including ensuring funding, promoting culturally responsive policies, and expanding opportunity. The State Leaders Institute helps us hone our knowledge of issues relevant to educator preparation and how those issues are connected to pending legislation and develop the skills needed to advocate effectively.

What are you most looking forward to at this year’s State Leaders Institute?

As informative as the speakers always are, I most look forward to the opportunity to learn from other state chapters. I love learning about what kinds of events they hold, what resources and services they provide their members, how they work with partner organizations, and their innovative ideas for moving the profession forward.

What can attendees expect at the State Leaders Institute?

Every year, the State Leaders Institute books national experts who give us context on significant policy issues in educator preparation. This year, for example, AACTE Dean in Residence Leslie Fenwick will talk about the Consortium for Research-Based and Equitable Assessments, a 15-state study examining the equity impact of entrance exams for teacher candidates.

Does the State Leaders Institute provide insight into what state legislation trends affect teacher preparation programs and what members can do to get involved?

Absolutely. Our Day on the Hill orientation focuses on specific legislative proposals, such as the $9 billion to support teacher preparation programs in the American Families Plan, the resources for STEM teachers in the Rural STEM Education Research Act, and the expanded access to civics and history education in the Civics Secures Democracy Act. Additionally, the State Leaders Institute helps us understand the behind-the-scenes mechanisms of passing legislation, bringing in lawmakers and legislative aides, as well as organizations such as the National Governors Association. 

What are the benefits of the State Affiliate Awards?

State Affiliate Awards support initiatives that involve collaborations among multiple educator preparation programs and sometimes their state or regional partners. In many cases, meeting significant challenges requires work across organizations, and State Affiliate Awards can make that possible.  Recent State Affiliate Awards have helped state chapters address such complex issues as the teacher pipeline, assessing completer impact, and ensuring equity and social justice in teacher education.

Christine Carrino Gorowara, senior associate director, Delaware Center for Teacher Education, University of Delaware, is past president of the Delaware Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.


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