Archive for November, 2023

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.

AACTE to Launch Inaugural End-of-Year Giving Campaign on #GivingTuesday

For over 75 years, AACTE has led the nation’s thought leaders and practitioners in advancing teacher education. In addressing the ever-growing shortage of qualified educators, AACTE brings together educators, advocates, policymakers, and practitioners to move from theory to action. AACTE does this through advancing curriculum innovation, developing guidelines for teaching apprenticeships, diversifying faculties of colleges of education, and much more.

Now, for the first time, AACTE is adding another group to join us in advancing teacher education by inviting individual donors to be AACTE champions, investing in our work to elevate educator preparation and grow the educator workforce.

Beginning with #GivingTuesday on November 28, AACTE is launching its inaugural End-of-Year Individual Giving Campaign, “The Future of Teacher Education Starts Now.” As an AACTE supporter, you champion the work of an association that remains the leader in advancing a highly qualified and diverse group of educators for our PreK-12 and higher education communities.

Register Now – November 29 Lunch with Lynn

AACTE will host the November 29 virtual Lunch with Lynn, “The Holmes Program Today,” to showcase the history and work of the Holmes Program, which supports the graduate work of ethnically and racially diverse students at member institutions. AACTE President & CEO Lynn M. Gangone will be joined by Lisa F. Huffman and Gina Anderson from Texas Woman’s University where the program has grown and expanded despite statewide efforts to hamper DEI efforts. Weade James, AACTE’s vice president of advancement and Holmes Program alumna will also join the conversation to provide an update on recent program successes and expanded opportunities for participants.

Register today for the November 29 Lunch with Lynn.

Biden-Harris Administration Launches Initiative to Promote Multilingual Education for a Diverse Workforce

As part of its Raise the Bar: Create Pathways for Global Engagement, the Biden-Harris Administration launched “Being Bilingual is a Superpower,” an initiative by the U.S. Department of Education (Department) to promote multilingual education and bolster high-quality language programs and a diverse multilingual educator workforce across the country. 

“Being Bilingual is a Superpower” will promote and further the understanding of bilingualism and biliteracy as an educational and economic imperative for student success, global competitiveness, and engagement. The new initiative under the Department’s Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) seeks to promote research-based bilingual educational opportunities and language instruction in early learning education settings and beyond. 

“Make no mistake: multilingualism is a superpower. Knowing more than one language, acquiring a new language through school, or learning new languages later in life can provide tangible academic, cognitive, economic, and sociocultural advantages,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “As our nation continues to grow more diverse, and as our global economy becomes more interconnected, we cannot seize our nation’s full potential to compete and lead the world unless we Raise the Bar and provide all students with opportunities to become multilingual.”

Webinar Reflection: Leveraging Technology and Digital Advances to Develop Global Competencies in Teacher Educators and Candidates

This blog article is part of the Global Education Faculty PLC Professional Development Series, sponsored by the Longview Foundation. The writing series aims to elevate the perspectives of international scholars, including teacher educators, graduate students, and alike, to offer insights into how Educator Preparation Programs (EPPs) can integrate intercultural understanding within their programs. AACTE members interested in participating in the series should contact Brooke Evans at

On October 12, AACTE presented the webinar, Leveraging Technology and Digital Advances to Develop Global Competencies in Teacher Educators and Candidates. The moderator was Lin Wu (Western Oregon University), and the panelists were Michael Kopish (Ohio University), Iveta Silova (Arizona State University), and Yong Zhao (University of Kansas, University of Melbourne). Attendees learned ways technology can be used to develop global competencies for both teacher educators and their students.

In Scotland, we are in the process of reviewing our awarding of qualifications and assessments to improve educational outcomes. Interestingly, much of what was discussed by the three presenters in this webinar aligned with the Scottish (June 2023) report: “It’s Our Future — Independent Review of Qualifications & Assessment.”

Zhao spoke about the divisive nature of many education systems. His reference to the decline in reading age PISA scores is completely relevant and something that needs to be addressed. However, many educational systems can feel deflated by a decline in data, particularly when it is not tangible, not something seen in school at an interface-level when the socio-economic context (financial divide) is more visible and pertinent. Zhao takes cognizance of the divide, by indicating that we should be preparing children to “create our future” and “serve humanity.” He also refers to the wide spectrum of learners and abilities by stating that education systems have “limitations,” but we need to ensure that learners “achieve equally well but in different ways.” This perspective is outlined in the Scottish review under the chapter “Changing the Culture of Education in Scotland,” where the model of change supports that of integrity: Are we shaping our system to serve all stakeholders, or are we at a global competency level, not confident to acknowledge the systems and practices which require change? 

The University of Indianapolis Announces Gift to Establish Learning Resource Center

The University of Indianapolis (UIndy) is delighted to announce a significant gift in memory of Nanci Vargus. This generous gift was provided by Nanci’s daughter, Jilda Vargus-Adams who wanted to create a lasting legacy for her mother’s commitment and dedication to education and her remarkable impact on the University.

The University will establish the Nanci Vargus Learning Resource Center to remember Nanci’s legacy. Nanci was an educator at the university for over 20 years who used her expertise and kindness to guide elementary and college-age students alike in their journeys to literacy.

“As a child, Mom literally read every book in her local library’s children’s section. She loved books.  But more than that, she loved the joy that everyone can get from reading and she built her career with that goal in mind,” Vargus-Adams said. “Both as an elementary school teacher and as a professor of education, Mom endeavored to ensure that all children could have the gift of literacy.”

Special Education Teacher Advocates Invited to Second Meeting of AACTE, CEEDAR Collaboration

Championing Special Educators: Strategies for Recruitment & Retention in Educator Preparation, a Collaboration Between AACTE and CEEDAR

On November 30, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET, special education teacher advocates are invited to attend the second meeting of the new national affinity group, Championing Special Educators: Strategies for Recruitment & Retention in Educator Preparation. The second meeting, Making a Special Education Degree Affordable, will dive into two educator preparation programs that are using Teacher Quality Partnership Program (TQP) grants to financially enable students to pursue a special education degree.

American University’s Carolyn Parker and Sarah Irvine Belson will share information on their recent TQP-funded program, Residency for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (RETL), a master’s program that is being developed through a unique initiative that will leverage the resources and expertise of a partnership between American University’s School of Education, College of Arts and Sciences, and the Friendship Public Charter Schools (FPCS).