In 2021, AACTE supported a federal application by the State of Tennessee and Austin Peay State University (APSU) to create educator preparation-based Grow Your Own programs as acceptable apprenticeships for educators. After rigorous review and meetings with state and federal officials, AACTE endorsed the effort, which partners school districts and Educator Preparation Programs (EPP) to ensure teacher candidates are profession-ready upon entering the classroom.
Paving the way for teaching and educator workforce development nationwide, the Tennessee Department of Education announced it has pioneered a new way to develop teacher pipelines, and is the first state to be approved by the U.S. Department of Labor to establish a permanent Grow Your Own model, with Clarksville-Montgomery County School System and Austin Peay State University’s Teacher Residency program becoming the first registered apprenticeship program for teaching in the country. Tennessee is the first state in the country to sponsor Teacher Occupation Apprenticeship programs between school districts and Educator Preparation Programs (EPPs), which will further the state’s and nation’s efforts to extend the teacher pipeline and address teacher shortages.
Since the historic SCOTUS ruling in 1982, Board of Education, Island Trees Union Free School District v. Pico, which ruled that school boards cannot remove books because they disagree with them, describing libraries as spaces of “voluntary inquiry,” book bans and challenges have continued. The education field is based upon the values of intellectual freedom that were upheld by this and other Supreme Court decisions; however, the executive director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom recently stated in an interview, “We’re seeing an unprecedented volume of challenges.” While there is a formal “challenge” process for censoring information in libraries and curriculum, the enormous increase in political pressure has prompted some school districts to abandon their policies and begin pulling the books without undergoing this review process. As a result of not abiding by this process, which is legally reserved for challenging content that is “obscene,” books that overwhelmingly depict LGBTQ+ and BIPOC stories are removed from shelves, having been deemed “obscene” by local opinion.
How should we educate candidates on these policies and how to combat them? What is our role as teacher educators to take up the torch of academic freedom on our campuses? These are some of the questions we hope to answer in the webinar, “Ed Censorship and the Role of Book Banning,” on February 1 at 1:00 p.m. EST.
In this webinar, panelists will contextualize the importance of training pre-service teachers and administrators on strategies to combat book-banning efforts when they enter the field. Jenna Spiering will walk through the what, how, and why regarding the current efforts to censor educators and how partnering with librarians can address this threat to democracy. Panelists Rema Reynolds and Kate Kedley will discuss best practices for teacher educators and practitioners to ensure there is honest teaching about racism, LGBTQ+, and other highly censored topics in schools.
Ed Censorship and the Role of Book-Banning
February 1, 2022
1:00 p.m. EST
Rema Reynolds Vassar is a former K-12 public school teacher, counselor, and administrator. She currently organizes parents for the improvement of student achievement and teaches educational leadership to aspiring school administrators. Vassar’s research is centered in schools serving culturally diverse students and families. Committed to every student learning, she works as a consultant for school districts across the country, equipping educators with reflexive practices that allow them to take deliberate action and increase equity and access for all students. With a focus on developing servant leaders committed to radical hope and love, she has also taught and presented at professional conferences throughout the United States and in over 20 countries.
Kate Kedley joined Rowan University in 2017 and is an assistant professor in the Department of Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Education. Kedley received a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa (language, literacy, and culture), and M.A. from Northern Arizona University (English), and a B.A. from the University of Northern Iowa (English education). Kate also holds graduate certificates in professional writing and in gender, women’s, and sexuality studies. Kedley is a former secondary English language arts and drivers education teacher in Iowa, Arizona, and the Central American country of Honduras. At Rowan, Kedley teaches in the pre-service teacher program. Kedley’s research centers around critical literacy and education, public engagement, LGBTQ and young adult literature, language education, and social and educational movements in Honduras. Kedley has published work in various journals such as the English Journal, Sex Education, the eJournal of Public Affairs.
Jenna Spiering is an assistant professor at University of South Carolina’s College of Information and Communications. Spiering’s research interests lie at the intersection of school libraries, critical youth studies, and children’s/young adult materials. Specifically, Spiering’s work emphasizes the school librarian’s role in selecting, promoting, and curating materials for students in K-12 settings. Some of her recent work has explored representations of gender and sexuality in young adult literature and considers how the presence of these topics affects selection practices. Spiering believes that teaching and learning are both social and multidirectional. She sees her role in the classroom as a facilitator of critical thinking and is constantly learning alongside and from her students. Therefore, discussion and civil discourse are key components of any course she teaches. She also strives to highlight diverse voices and perspectives in the texts and materials assigned in her courses —often challenging the canon of traditionally taught texts both in schools and in academic settings. She teaches courses in children’s and young adult materials, and school library curriculum and program development.
It was another busy week in Washington as lawmakers prepared for the congressional recess the following week. Conversations are heating up behind the scenes surrounding FY22 appropriations and a new iteration of the Build Back Better Act. Advocacy work will be critical in the coming weeks to ensure the historic proposals for education funding are included in both pieces of legislation.
In just over a month, AACTE’s 74th Annual Meeting, Rethink, Reshape, Reimagine, Revolutionize: Growing the Profession Post Pandemic, will commence March 4-6, 2022, in New Orleans, LA. As conference preparations continue, know that the AACTE team remains committed to providing an enriching and engaging educational experience in an environment that promotes health and safety and follows the local COVID-19 guidelines and recommendations.
As of January 25, 2022, the city of New Orleans remains in Phase Three of their COVID-19 recovery plan. However, new regulations have been added to combat the spread of the Omicron variant. As a result, the following guidelines are currently in effect within the city:
Texas State University students participating in the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) approved teacher residency program at Lockhart Independent School District (LSD) were surprised with $20,000 annual stipends awarded during a special event on Jan. 18 at Clear Fork Elementary.
The stipends, in the form of oversized checks, were presented to a cohort of 17 Texas State students who are embedded in Lockhart ISD for a full year, working with mentor teachers and engaging with students. The funds are meant to support the students financially while they are working in the residency program.
The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) has announced four exemplary educators from across the country as finalists for 2022 National Teacher of the Year, all of whom have been prepared for teacher education by AACTE member institutions:
The MDE is using American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds to cover the grants.
The MTR will provide grants to the universities’ educator preparation programs to enroll diverse participants to work toward their graduate degree and Mississippi teacher certification. MTR will include training alongside a mentor teacher, testing support, professional development, ongoing assessment and a commitment to teach in a geographical critical shortage school or district serving low-income children, racial/ethnic minorities and children with disabilities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
Sponsored by Ohio University’s Patton College of Education, the Holmes Council, and AACTE, the Holmes Scholars Leadership series is a free, four-part series of conversations that will explore the leadership trajectories and experiences of various individuals connected to the field of education. The series will launch on January 31 and continues through April 25. The first session, “Leadership Lessons: A Conversation with Established Leaders,” features Renée A. Middleton and Lynn M. Gangone. Participation is free. Register at tinyurl.com/yheh3tkc
As the role of the principal evolves, so too does the extent to which they play the role of instructional leader. As a vital part of student outcomes and teacher retention in schools, it’s alarming that new principal often have skill gaps when providing instructional coaching. Teacher retention is due largely in part to the support of their principal, which is why AACTE continues to advocate for quality education leadership preparation programming.
In the sixth episode of AACTE’s podcast covering the University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI), AACTE talks to Jason Grissom, author of How Principals Affect Students and Schools, about what the research says regarding instructional leadership. The episode also dives into Albany State UPPI program’s efforts to address the gaps in preparing principal candidates to be effective instructional coaches with UPPI Project Director Janice Carthon, and Felisa McDavid, who is a graduate of Albany State’s principal prep program and principal of St. James Elementary in South Carolina.
Listen now to Episode 6: Redesigning Instructional Leadership Training
The current and historical public-school workforce in the United States remains predominantly white, middle class, and female; however, these demographics have never accurately represented all students in American classroom settings, which continue to grow in diversity. Classrooms are a place where the presence of biases, stereotype threats, and need for more inclusive environments resulting from differences between the demographics and lived experiences of the teaching workforce and students exist. While AACTE and other education stakeholders are taking up efforts to diversify the field, it is essential to improve the ability of our current educator workforce. In the United States, our classrooms have never been more diverse with students from multiple cultures, socio-economic levels, and disabilities. Thus, the essential question remains: How can we best prepare teachers to support all students in our classroom settings?
This article originally appeared on the Appalachian Today website.
Appalachian State University is partnering with Elkin City Schools to open the university’s second laboratory school aimed at enhancing student education, improving outcomes,and providing high-quality teacher and principal training.
Under the plan — which was developed in collaboration with Elkin City Schools leaders and approved by the Elkin City Schools Board of Education on Dec. 13, 2021 — a lab school will open at Elkin Elementary School in August. The “school-within-a-school” model will serve approximately 100 students in second through fourth grades.
This weekly Washington Update is intended to keep members informed on Capitol Hill activities impacting the educator preparation community. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.
The Senate adjourned for the long weekend on Thursday and postponed next week’s scheduled recess to the week of January 24th. The chamber will return on Tuesday to continue debate on voting and election legislation. Behind the scenes, conversations surrounding FY22 appropriations are garnering more traction than they have in recent months. We expect the next month to be especially busy as we inch closer to the February 18th deadline for either passing FY22 appropriations or extending the Continuing Resolution (CR) to avoid a government shutdown.
There is still time to register at a discounted rate for the AACTE 74th Annual Meeting, being held March 4 – 6, 2022, in New Orleans, LA. Advance registration pricing will be available until Friday, January 21, at midnight. After this deadline, fees will revert to the full registration rate.
We are excited to meet in person this year in the “Big Easy” to rethink, reshape, reimagine, revolutionize, and grow our profession. Join us for concurrent sessions on trending topics and dynamic keynote speakers. We look forward to engaging in meaningful discussions, sharing research and practices, and becoming better equipped to drive change in the educator preparation field.
AACTE’s 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 it to email@example.com.
Meet Amanda Wilkerson …
Current Position: Assistant Professor, University of Central Florida
Number of years in your position: 3 years
Alma Mater: Florida A&M University #STRIKE
Hometown: Miami, Florida
- How long have you been a member of AACTE?
The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education is a very progressive organization. A part of its focus is futuristic in nature. That is, AACTE is interested in ensuring that the field of education is diversified, developing talented scholars of color so that they may engage in preparing the next instructional and administrative leaders. To that end, I began my tenure as a member of AACTE in 2016, first as a Holmes Scholars. Today, I continue to enjoy active membership in the association and commit much of my work to the iconic ideas that attracted me to join as a student scholar. Honestly, I cannot believe that I have nearly 6 years of continuous membership and involvement with AACTE!
Historical tensions and the bipartisan polarization of many topics deemed essential to a well-rounded, inclusive civic education has made teachers, especially those just entering the classroom, hesitant to engage students in civics in their classrooms. However, civic inquiry should be introduced early and often, by incorporating these frameworks across subject areas.
AACTE has partnered with iCivics and Educating for American Democracy (EAD) as part of its efforts to ensure every educator is prepared to help students understand the pillars and principles of democratic society and be engaged citizens regardless of their background and discipline.