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AACTE’s President Addresses Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows

Sets the Stage for Educator Workforce Policy and Practice

AACTE President and CEO Dr. Lynn M. Gangone recently addressed a cohort of Hunt Kean Leadership Fellows during a policy discussion titled, “Setting the Stage: Educator Workforce Policy and Practice.” The discussion was part of the second in-person session for the Cohort 9 Fellows. Gangone was joined by Dr. Melody Schopp, former chief state school officer of South Dakota, in examining how the teaching profession has changed over time, the advocacy and political influence of educators, and major issues facing the workforce.

A program of the Hunt-Kean Institute, the Leadership Fellows program partners with senior-level political leaders to be effective, equity-minded education policymakers at the state level. Named for two former renowned education governors, Jim Hunt (D-NC) and Tom Kean (R-NJ), the national, nonpartisan Fellowship launched in the fall of 2014. The current group of high-ranking elected state officials that make up Cohort 9 have committed themselves to a nine-month immersion in the full education continuum.

During the moderated session, Gangone shed light on the developments AACTE members are undertaking to address the needs of the educator workforce, sharing three specific examples: 1) embracing competency-based education at the undergraduate level, 2) offering higher education-based alternative certifications and 3) debunking the one teacher-one classroom model as addressed by AACTE member-institution Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University.

She referenced a number of innovative approaches and best practices member institutions are implementing with state support and in partnership with local districts including “grow your own” programs, residencies, and registered apprenticeships.

“The U.S. Departments of Labor and Education have partnered to create more funding for these teaching apprenticeships, with monies going to the state and then for the apprenticeship to be employed by the local school district and mentored collaboratively by mentor teachers and higher education faculty, “said Gangone. “The goal is to have a highly qualified teacher in every classroom. The goal is to reduce as many barriers as possible so more people will become teachers, while still maintaining high standards of quality.”

Gangone also highlighted AACTE’s Consortium for Research-based and Equitable Assessment (CREA) initiative — funded by the Gates Foundation. CREA examined the processes and considerations that states use to determine cut scores for entrance into teacher prep programs, and how those scores can be refined to attract, rather than exclude, potential teacher candidates. In her remarks, Gangone shared specific results of how participating members advocated alongside states to draft new legislation, establish grant programs for aspiring educators of color, and change entrance requirements. 

Among her key points, she emphasized that innovation is possible through partnerships such as the National Guideline Standards for Registered Teaching Apprenticeship that AACTE helped develop through the Pathways Alliance and AACTE’s work with the Council of State Government and other organization in developing the Interstate Teacher Compact that allows qualified teachers to receive an equivalent license from participating states.

This is the second year in a row that Gangone has been asked to address the Hunt-Kean fellows as a resource expert to help equip the state policymakers with tools and vision to improve education and specifically, the educator workforce.

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