Archive for 2023

In New Jersey: Higher Education Student Assistance Authority Highlights Two Initiatives to Address Educator Shortage

The Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) highlighted two key initiatives to help attract and retain teachers as part of the Murphy Administration’s broader efforts to address the K-12 educator shortage in New Jersey. In addition to raising awareness of the recent launch of the application period for the New Jersey Teacher Loan Redemption Program, HESAA Executive Director David Socolow met with key stakeholders at Stockton University to discuss the vital support for New Jersey’s education workforce from both the loan redemption program and the new Student-Teacher Stipend Pilot Program.

“With one of the top education systems in our nation, New Jersey is looking to grow and strengthen our educational workforce,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “Teachers are the lifeblood of our school systems, helping to prepare the future leaders of our state, country, and the world. It is of critical importance that we create competitive initiatives that attract and retain top educator talent by ensuring financial barriers don’t keep great teachers out of the classroom.”

EDSAFE AI Alliance Fellowship Nominations Open Now

EDSAFE AI Alliance, which AACTE is a part of, is opening nominations for the Women in AI Fellowship and AI Catalyst Fellowship, which are two, year-long programs that support exceptional and impact-minded individuals by providing an outstanding platform to learn and work on questions of AI in education. Fellows have the opportunity to work with world-renowned experts in AI safety, ethics, and policy. They also participate in a rigorous seminar series, where they learn about the latest advances in AI research and discuss the potential impacts of AI on society.

Indigenous Students Put Language and Culture First in Early Childhood Education Program

Courtesy of the University of Washington

Jasmyne Diaz’s young daughters came home one day from the Tulalip Early Learning Academy (TELA), their birth-to-kindergarten child care center, singing a stanza from “huy syaʔyaʔ”— the Lushootseed goodbye song. Over and over they sang the lines they remembered, not knowing what followed. As a member of the Tulalip Tribes, Diaz recognized the Lushootseed words but didn’t know the language well enough to help with the rest of the song. She thought of her great-grandmother — a Lushootseed educator — and her grandmother, who’d earned a doctorate in education. She thought of her three girls and the future she wanted for them. She said, “I decided if they knew Lushootseed, I also had to learn and help them.”

Diaz is now a teaching assistant with the Tulalip Tribes’ Lushootseed Language Department, teaching not only her own children but many of the community’s young students. Diaz appreciates the important work TELA is doing to educate the tribe’s littlest learners, infusing their early education with the language, culture, and teachings of their elders.

Biden-Harris Administration Announces Updated Resource to Support the Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Programs

The U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (the Departments) today announced the release of an updated joint-policy statement on supporting the inclusion of children with disabilities in early childhood programs.

The HHS-ED Policy Statement on the Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Programs builds upon a statement originally released in 2015 and includes a renewed commitment and urgency, as children with disabilities continue to face barriers to accessing and fully participating in inclusive early childhood programs. The statement was updated consistent with a directive to both agencies in President Biden’s Executive Order on Increasing Access to High-Quality Care and Supporting Caregivers.

Lunch & Learn: Improve Candidate Classroom Observation with ATLAS Tool

We asked AACTE faculty members how ATLAS (Accomplished Teaching, Learning, and Schools,®) a tool developed by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), has helped their pre-service teachers.

“If you are interested in directing your students to see better the actions teachers take to structure learning environments, then I encourage you to give ALTAS a try,” said Cam McComb, Ph.D., associate professor of visual art education at Eastern Michigan University and co-leader of the art teacher certification program.

AACTE Introduces New Holmes Scholars

With 65 active member institutions, the Holmes Program continues to grow to include new members and diverse master, doctoral, and post-doctoral scholars who are advancing research and practice in various specialty areas. AACTE is proud to welcome new Holmes Scholars from Ohio University, the University of Connecticut, Cal State University – San Bernardino, Texas Christian University, Fordham University, and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

On #GivingTuesday: Support the Future of Teacher Education

AACTE is excited that the launch of its first-ever individual giving program begins today, November 28, with #GivingTuesday — offering you and others an opportunity to have a direct impact on building the next generation of the educator workforce. Members and educator preparation advocates are invited to be a part of this inaugural giving campaign, “The Future of Teacher Education Starts Now.”   

Your tax-deductible gift to the campaign will greatly assist AACTE in its work to elevate educator preparation and grow the educator workforce. Become an AACTE champion and directly impact the programs, products, and services that create a more robust, diverse, and high-quality educator workforce.

In Illinois: Report Shows Educator Workforce Growing but Challenges in the Pipeline Persist

Illinois’ much-publicized teacher shortage crisis actually showed signs of stability and even improvement during the exceptionally challenging COVID-19 pandemic period, a new report from education policy expert Advance Illinois has found. Still, despite encouraging progress, there is much work ahead to ensure there are high-quality, diverse educators in Illinois classrooms and some concerning trends to overcome, the report finds.

At a launch event in October featuring key policy leaders in education, Advance Illinois released its latest in-depth report on one of the most significant challenges facing Illinois public schools: finding more qualified, well-prepared, and diverse teachers and leaders to guide students in every school.

The new report, The State of Our Educator Pipeline 2023: Strengths, Opportunities, and the Early Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic, is the follow-up to the group’s 2022 report The State We’re In, an early examination of the impact of the pandemic on Illinois’ education system.

Prioritizing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at AACTE’s Annual Meeting 2024

The fifth strand of AACTE’s 2024 Annual Meeting, Prioritizing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion includes more than forty sessions and events that demonstrate a commitment to preparing diverse and anti-racist educators, recruitment of educators in critical shortage areas, global perspectives in education, inclusive education, equitable engagement of families, and access to high-quality learning environments for all students. For those attending the conference, you will again be able to use the upcoming online planner to schedule your attendance at DEI sessions and events like the following:

Southeastern Louisiana University and Partners Awarded LDOE Funding

The Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) has awarded a $1.67 million contract to Northshore Regional STEM Center, led by Southeastern Louisiana University in partnership with Northshore Technical Community College and LaSTEM. 

Appropriated by the Louisiana State Legislature, the funds will be used to develop and deliver 40 hours of computer science Praxis exam training through multiple cohorts to 1,000 6th-12th grade teachers statewide. The project will be led by the Northshore Regional LaSTEM Center Director Wendy Conarro, Southeastern Interim Computer Science Department Head Bonnie Achee, and Dean of the College of Education Paula Summers Calderon.

As part of the LDOE initiative to “Ignite, Inspire, and Energize” computer science education across Louisiana supporting education and industry, the training will be held virtually in March and April, with a hybrid cohort in June.

University of Kentucky NSF Grant Examines Making Mathematics More Equitable

(Right) Principal investigator Jonathan Thomas, Ph.D., professor and chair, UK College of Education Department of STEM Education, and co-principal investigator Cindy Jong, Ph.D., professor, UK College of Education Department of STEM Education.

A new University of Kentucky (UK) study funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) seeks to make mathematics more relatable to all students by focusing on how teachers respond to children’s experiences, knowledge, and mathematical reasoning. 

UK College of Education Department of STEM Education faculty are collaborating with faculty at the University of Texas at San Antonio, Georgia State University, and Rowan University on the $1.5 million NSF grant, with $821,000 of the funding coming to UK. 

Preparing teachers to create equitable mathematics classrooms is an ongoing challenge for teacher education, said Jonathan Thomas, Ph.D., lead principal investigator of the NSF grant and professor and chair in the UK College of Education Department of STEM Education. 

“There are students not being reached, sometimes because the structures we have in place send signals that this thing called ‘math’ really isn’t for you, and we want to push against those narratives. We lose so much talent, brain power and creativity by shutting certain doors,” Thomas said. 

Department of Education, State and Local Organizations Commit to Bolstering Access to Mental Health Supports for Students

The U.S. Department of Education, National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE), National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO), National Association of Counties (NACo), and U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) released the following joint statement to advance their unified commitment to bolster mental health supports for students:  

“Nationwide, students continue to struggle with mental health challenges. The pandemic’s unprecedented disruptions in their school and social lives exacerbated rates of depression, anxiety, and feelings of hopelessness that were already on the rise. From classrooms to Congress, we all have a role to play in meeting this urgent need. 

In Michigan: Finding Solutions for SPED Teacher Shortage

As the teacher shortage in Michigan continues to affect the state, national shortages like the ones for special education teachers have led to new approaches to finding solutions for the issue.

According to Lansing City Pulse, in a survey of 46 out of the 56 intermediate school districts in Michigan, most districts selected special education teachers as one of their most critical shortages. 

Special education teacher pay differs by district in the United States, with 2022 median pay at $62,950 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Earlier this school year, the city of Detroit began offering bonuses to attract more special education teachers to district programs, an initiative that has shown positive results in other states.

Western Governors University School of Ed Launches Podcast on Teacher Well-Being

With more than 90,000 working educator alumni in classrooms nationwide, WGU has a deep commitment to K-12 education, and to the future teachers coming through initial licensure programs as well as master’s degree programs for educators. While much has been said in media and news outlets about the increasing needs of students, especially post-COVID-19 pandemic, some education leaders, including those at WGU, are concerned that more attention needs to be given to what teachers need after the last three challenging years. 

Sharing that concern is Utah’s First Lady Abby Cox, who recently shifted the lens of her annual Show Up for Teachers conference to focus on teacher and educator personal and professional wellness with tools and resources throughout the conference breakout sessions and keynotes including guest speaker Arthur Brooks, the Harvard University researcher on happiness. In 2023, the WGU School of Education was honored to become a major sponsor of the conference.