Author Archive

Aaron Goldstein

Manager, State Policy & Relations

February 2016 State Policy Recap

Ed Prep Matters is pleased to bring you this special feature on policy and AACTE chapter activity in the states. For a summary of January’s state activity, see this article, or to see a year-end recap for 2015, see this article.

Overview of State Policy Activity

In February, 40 state legislatures convened for their 2016 legislative sessions. At least 160 bills were introduced in 30 states that could have an impact on educator preparation programs.

AACTE Seeks Volunteers, Nominations for Governance Roles

Are you ready to step up your service to the national educator preparation community? Or do you know someone whose professional experience would bring value to an AACTE committee or the Board of Directors? Now is the time to nominate yourself or a colleague by May 9 to serve an important role in the governance of AACTE.

AACTE is currently seeking nominations for the AACTE Board of Directors and the following standing committees:

  • Global Diversity
  • Government Relations and Advocacy
  • Innovation and Technology
  • Meetings and Professional Development
  • Membership Development and Capacity Building
  • Professional Preparation and Accountability
  • Research and Dissemination

January 2016 State Policy Recap

Over the past month, 35 state legislatures have convened for their 2016 legislative session—and it’s already been a productive year. Since January 1, nearly as many state bills related to educator preparation have been introduced as in all of 2015. In 2015, about 150 such bills were introduced; during January 2016, there were 133, introduced in 33 state legislatures. The states with the most bills proposed so far are New Jersey, Oklahoma, Iowa, Florida, and Michigan. Some of the common topics addressed in the bills include modifying teacher certification/licensure standards as related to teacher shortages and alternative routes to certification, investing in scholarships and loan forgiveness for teachers, and mandating training for teachers to support students with dyslexia as a requirement for licensure.

In addition, since the New Year, 34 state regulations have been proposed in 17 states related to educator preparation. The vast majority of the proposed state regulations relate to streamlining or clarifying teacher certification standards.

A Year in Review: Recapping 2015 State Policy Trends

As 2015 comes to an end, we want to take a moment to reflect on what was a very active year for state policy makers and AACTE state chapters.  

In 2015, state legislators proposed more than 150 bills related to educator preparation. Of these proposed bills, 18 were enacted into law. Some of the highlights of these new state laws are the creation of a new teacher leader endorsement in New Jersey; establishing the Teach Nevada Scholarship Program to incentivize students to pursue teaching degrees in Nevada; prohibiting video recording of classroom teachers in New Hampshire; and modifying teacher licensure standards in Delaware, Illinois, Maine, and Michigan.

NCTQ Releases 2015 State Teacher Policy Yearbook

On December 8, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) released its 2015 State Teacher Policy Yearbook, offering the council’s annual assessment of various state policies related to teacher quality. While the report’s focus and conclusions might not be surprising, they offer what might be a preview of what to expect from NCTQ’s upcoming 2016 Teacher Prep Review.

One of the areas of focus in the yearbook, for example, is “delivering well-prepared teachers.” NCTQ outlines 13 goal topics in this area and assigns a letter grade to each state. An overview chart (see below) summarizes the results.

Key State Policy Makers Complete Hunt-Kean Fellowship

Fifteen high-level state policy makers recently completed the inaugural class of the Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows program, a 9-month training for state policy makers on education policy issues. The Hunt Institute, a center based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, created the Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows program in 2014 and named it in honor of former governors Jim Hunt (D-NC) and Tom Kean (R-NJ).

In their program, the fellows discuss and develop political and policy strategies around state education topics including teachers, school leaders, data systems, and higher education. The fellows are influential state leaders including governors, lieutenant governors, attorney generals, and state legislators considered to be some of the nation’s top “education catalysts of change.”

State Legislators Weigh Teacher Quality Reforms, Want Input From Teacher Educators

Last week, I attended the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Legislative Summit along with over 5,000 state legislators and their staff. Teacher quality was a key theme of several sessions ranging from teacher career ladders to school leader preparation.

One of the significant points I took from the conference was that state legislators are eager to hear from teacher preparation programs on current practices and innovations. Please contact your state legislators prior to the upcoming 2016 legislative session to share what is happening at programs in your state!

New Resource for AACTE Members – State Policy Maker Contact Lists

A new resource is now available to help AACTE members and state affiliates connect with education officials in their states.

AACTE staff have compiled lists of contact information (member login required) for each state’s governor, chief school officer, relevant legislature committees, and education agency staff. In addition, the lists include a resource from the Sunlight Foundation’s Open States web site that can be used to find your state legislators.

Preview of Competitive State Elections

With Election Day just around the corner, below are some gubernatorial races, state education chief contests, and education ballot initiatives to watch. Remember, like politics, education is local. Check out the tables below to see what’s at play in your state.

Be sure to vote November 4!

Gubernatorial Races to Watch

State Incumbent Challenger Rating * Major education issues
Colorado John Hickenlooper (D) Bob Beauprez (R) Toss-up Higher education funding, college affordability, school choice, Common Core
Connecticut Dan Malloy (D) Tom Foley (R) Toss-up Education funding, school accountability, charter schools, Common Core
Florida Rick Scott (R) Charlie Crist (D) Toss-up College affordability, higher education funding
Georgia Nathan Deal (R) Jason Carter (D) Leans Republican Common Core, school vouchers, higher education funding
Illinois Pat Quinn (D) Bruce Rauner (R) Toss-up Teacher retirement benefits, school vouchers, merit pay, charter schools, college affordability
Kansas Sam Brownback (R) Paul Davis (D) Toss-up School funding, Common Core
Maine Paul LePage (R) Mike Michaud (D) Leans Democratic Early childhood education funding, school vouchers, college affordability
Wisconsin Scott Walker (R) Mary Burke (D) Leans Republican School vouchers, Common Core, higher education funding

* Rating according to Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball.

Colorado Seeks Input on Aligning Educator Licensing Rules

The Colorado Department of Education (CDE), in conjunction with the New Teacher Project, has announced new efforts to align the state’s educator licensing statutes, rules, and content assessments. As part of the alignment efforts, CDE is inviting stakeholders to participate in a series of focus group meetings this month.

The focus groups will meet during the weeks of October 6 and October 13 at the following locations and times:

Western State (Gunnison) October 7, 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Pikes Peak BOCES (Colorado Springs) October 9, 9:00-11:00 a.m.
UNC Greeley October 10, 9:00-11:00 a.m.
UC Denver October 10, 2:00-4:00 p.m.
Mesa University (Grand Junction) October 15, 1:00-3:00 p.m.

FREE Webinar: What’s the Difference Between Assessment Literacy and Data Literacy?

What is the difference between assessment literacy and data literacy?

On Monday, July 21, at 12:30 EDT, you can learn the answer to this question in a free webinar hosted by the Data Quality Campaign (DQC). AACTE is a partner of DQC.

DQC’s Brennan McMahon Parton will moderate a discussion between two national experts on data literacy and assessment literacy: Research Scientist Ellen Mandinach of WestEd and Founding Principal Stuart Kahl of Measured Progress. Mandinach and Kahl will define data literacy and assessment literacy and discuss the ways they do—and don’t—overlap. DQC’s inaugural teacher fellow, Raquel Maya Carson, will respond from the perspective of a real classroom teacher on data and assessment use.

Institute Focuses Chapter Leaders on Advocacy, Communications, Leadership

During the week of June 9, more than 40 AACTE state chapter leaders convened in Washington, DC, for the 2014 State Leaders Institute (SLI).

An annual professional development event exclusively for state chapter leaders, SLI aims to strengthen participants’ leadership skills, enhance chapters’ advocacy and communication efforts, and build connections among chapter heads from across the country.

Oklahoma Restores Teacher Induction Program

Thanks to heavy involvement by the Oklahoma Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (OACTE), Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin recently signed HB 2885 into law, restoring the state’s teacher induction program.

The Oklahoma Teacher Induction Program (OTIP), which had been suspended since 2010, provides professional support, mentorship, and coaching for beginning teachers. Under the new law, school districts can voluntarily offer the induction program during the 2014-15 academic year; it becomes mandatory in the 2015-16 academic year. Furthermore, the bill permits teacher mentors to support more than one beginning teacher, and it establishes a paid teacher internship program at teacher preparation institutions.

Notice of TQP Funding Opportunity: Applications Due July 15

Updated to reflect new application deadline.

Applications are now available for a new slate of Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grants, the federal government’s only investment in reforming teacher preparation in institutions of higher education. Interested applicants will have to act quickly, though—the deadline for letters of intent is June 27, and full applications are due July 15.

Last week, in the Federal Register, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced the availability of approximately $35 million in new awards for fiscal year 2014 under the TQP grant program.

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