• Home
  • General
  • Election 2024: Implications of Federal and State Races for Educator Preparation

Election 2024: Implications of Federal and State Races for Educator Preparation

An #AACTE24 Session Recap and Reflection

The session “Election 2024: Implications of Federal and State Races for Educator Preparation” at the AACTE 2024 Annual Meeting provided a comprehensive analysis of the potential impacts of the upcoming elections on educator preparation programs (EPPs). The panel comprised political strategists, policy experts, and representatives from membership organizations, offering diverse perspectives on the subject.

The following are my key takeaways and insights from attending the session:

  • Federal Policy Outlook: While federal policy changes regarding teacher preparation program licensing and funding streams like TEACH grants were discussed, the panelists emphasized that state legislative races would have more immediate implications for educator preparation.

  • Partisan Control of State Legislatures: The panelists highlighted the increasing partisan control of state legislatures, with the Republican party solidifying unified government in the majority of states in recent decades. They identified 11 potential battleground states where partisan control of the legislature could shift in 2024, contextualizing these elections within the broader “culture wars” around education policy.

  • State Legislative Priorities: The panelists shared insights into state legislative priorities, including teacher recruitment and retention, modifying licensure requirements, exploring residency programs, and curriculum reforms, particularly in mathematics instruction. Parent voices were identified as an increasingly influential force shaping these policies.

  • Higher Education Policy Forecast: While little change to higher education policies was forecasted for 2024 due to relatively stable gubernatorial and legislative compositions, the panelists provided strategic counsel to EPPs on influencing policy.

  • Advocacy Recommendations: Building personal relationships with legislators, creating low-pressure spaces for dialogue, and finding common ground were emphasized as crucial tactics. Working cooperatively with state education agencies was also advised. One panelist cautioned against the traditional “data dogs” approach of mobilizing students for visible advocacy at state capitals, suggesting instead to prioritize one-on-one dialogues with legislators to navigate the contentious political environment more constructively.

Implications for My Context

As a graduate student in the field of education and a future educator, the insights shared during this session are invaluable. Understanding the increasing polarization and partisan control of state legislatures, as well as the potential impact of upcoming elections on education policies, is crucial. It underscores the importance of staying informed and engaged in the political process, particularly at the state level.

The advocacy recommendations provided by the panelists are particularly relevant. Building relationships with legislators and finding common ground through constructive dialogue aligns with my personal values and approach to effecting positive change. As an aspiring educator, I recognize the need to navigate the complex political landscape with nuance and diplomacy, prioritizing open communication and collaboration over confrontation.

This session provided a comprehensive and nuanced perspective on the high-stakes policy environment facing EPPs. The panelists’ insights and recommendations will undoubtedly inform my future advocacy efforts and approach to engaging with policymakers. Their guidance on constructive engagement across partisan divides is particularly valuable as I embark on my career in education, striving to promote equitable and effective policies for all students.

Amelia Q. Rivera is a Ph.D. candidate at North Carolina State University and the vice president of the AACTE Holmes Council.

Tags: ,