Organized collective voices can make a difference. Over the past four years, the Michigan Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (MACTE) and other stakeholders have worked closely with the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) in the development and implementation of dramatic changes to the licensure guidelines and standards for PK-12 teachers. The Michigan Department of Education has moved to narrow certification bands to a model more inclusive of students’ needs. This “students first” teacher certification system focuses on the whole child and moving our state forward to becoming a top 10 education state in the next 10 years. It was created with input from educators, schools, educator preparation programs, and parents.
The EPP applications for the new elementary programs were to be submitted in November 2020 or April 2021. With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, institutions were finding it hard to meet these deadlines with the limited resources and reached out to MACTE for help. Through the process of leading collaboration with other organizations, dialog with state partners, and creating cohesive arguments with a specific request, MACTE was able to not only advocate for its EPP members, but for the candidates completing their programs.
MACTE responded by composing a letter to the director of the Michigan Department of Education’s Office of Educator Excellenc, requesting an extension of the application deadline to the next academic year as well as an extension of the sunset deadline for the elementary tests of the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification for the program that is being replaced. The Michigan Independent Educator Preparation Institution (MEIPI) and Michigan Public Education Deans (MPED) groups were also concerned with the impending timeline. MEIPI and MPED supported the MACTE’s proposal and joined us in signing this letter in support of this effort. As a collective we made the request to the Michigan Department of Education. The letter stressed the following.