Washington Week Viewpoint: The Impact of the State Leaders Institute
Brian P. Yusko, president of the Ohio Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, provides insight into the impact the State Leaders Institute has on state leaders and affiliate members in the Q&A article.
Why do you believe it is important for AACTE members to actively advocate for education?
In our current political climate, educational policy is highly contested, with strong advocates for multiple competing goals of schooling. Many lawmakers feel comfortable proposing changes in P-12 educational policy without necessarily understanding all the implications for teacher preparation. If teacher educators are not at the table, policymakers are liable to make decisions that run counter to what we know about quality teacher education.
The State Leaders Institute, along with the regional networks coordinated by ACSR representatives, provides an essential tool to learn effective advocacy strategies from other state chapter leaders and monitor what is happening in other states. In addition to networking opportunities, the State Leaders Institute gives state leaders access to information gathered and digested from the AACTE national office about state and federal issues under discussion.
What are you most looking forward to at this year’s State Leaders Institute?
I am excited to participate in the Day on the Hill events for Washington Week. I look forward to the strategies provided by AACTE staff on effective advocacy strategies. I am especially excited about hearing congressional staff share off-the-record insights into legislative priorities for education. These insights are the information I would not be able to get without attending the AACTE event.
What can attendees expect at the State Leaders Institute?
At previous State Leaders Institutes, attendees had a tremendous sense of camaraderie as we shared stories of the policy landscapes in our individual states. It was great to connect with other people facing some of the same issues we were facing and learn about strategies that others had used to address these issues. I vividly remember lively discussions about the importance of social media platforms for disseminating the work of our state chapters. It was then that I started using Twitter.
Does the State Leaders Institute provide insight into what state legislation trends affect teacher preparation programs and what members can do to get involved?
Yes. AACTE staff are well-versed in national and state legislation. With a national perspective, they can provide a more comprehensive picture of the trends in educational policy to help state chapters prepare for more effective advocacy strategies.
What are the benefits of the State Affiliate Awards?
State Affiliate Awards provide support for state chapters to engage in coordinated efforts that can have a state-wide impact. By sharing the work accomplished at the State Leaders Institute, the affiliate award winners also have the opportunity to impact beyond the boundaries of their state.
Brian P. Yusko, Ph.D., is associate dean of Academic Affairs, College of Education and Human Services, Cleveland State University, and president of the Ohio Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.