Reflecting on an “Inspirational” Washington Week
AACTE’s 2022 Washington Week was by far the most productive, inspirational, and collaborative Washington Week than those I previously attended. The culmination of Holmes Scholars, State Leaders Institute (SLI), and Day on the Hill allowed scholars, deans, faculty, and state affiliate leaders to discuss and gather new perspectives on the three strands:
- Educator shortage
- Educator diversity
A sense of unity and gaiety could be felt as state teams worked together to plan their discussion about legislation priorities and strand topics during congressional visits with senators and congressmen/women.
Several AACTE members were invited to pledge their support and attend the digital technology equity signing event at the U.S. Department of Education. The EPP for Digital Equity and Transformation Pledge is a partnership between the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and the U.S. Department of Education. Those in attendance represented their universities and made a commitment to prepare future educators to provide equity in all learning environments via face-to-face, hybrid, and online classrooms. U.S. Department of Education Deputy Secretary Cindy Marten addressed the members about their pledge and commitment. Participants broke into small groups to thoroughly discuss the five tenets of the Digital Equity and Transformation Pledge and led by facilitators such as CAEP and AAQEP representatives:
- Prepare teachers to thrive in digital learning environments.
- Prepare teachers to use technology to pursue ongoing professional learning.
- Prepare teachers to apply frameworks to accelerate transformative digital learning.
- Equip all faculty to continuously improve expertise in technology for learning.
- Collaborate with school leaders to identify shared digital teaching competencies.
Another trip was made by several AACTE members, board members, and ACSR representatives to the U.S. Department of Education to meet with Jessica Cardichon, deputy assistant secretary in the Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development. Proactive items discussed were funding for “Grow Your Own” teacher programs, TEACH grants, placing emphasis on comprehensive teacher certification pathways, and the recruitment of highly qualified diverse students from marginalized populations. Deputy Assistant Secretary Cardichon was extremely welcoming to the AACTE members, and a mission was established that together we can tackle the daunting teacher shortage while not sacrificing quality education and equity at the same time.
Lisa Bisogno is the associate dean of the College of Education at Northeastern State University, professor of special education, and treasurer for the Oklahoma Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (OACTE). She serves as chair of AACTE’s Committee on Government Relations and Advocacy. Bisogno graduated from Florida State University with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in exceptional student education, and she received her Ph.D. in leadership and education from Barry University in Miami, FL. Her area of expertise and research is in working with children with autism.