Next month, members will gather for AACTE’s 75th Annual meeting and immerse ourselves in several days of sessions within the theme of “Innovation through Inspiration: Remembering the Past to Revolutionize the Future.” As representatives of an institution of higher education that was founded in 1855 as the Paterson City Normal School in response to the growing demand for professional preparation of teachers-in-service in the emerging free public schools of Paterson, New Jersey, and one that is now a comprehensive university that proudly wears its designation of Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and is led by a president who is a first-generation college graduate and a member of LGBTQ Presidents in Higher Education, we are excited to share an initiative that aligns with AACTE’s Annual Meeting theme.
In fall 2023, William Paterson University will welcome two pre-doctoral fellows into the College of Education, one in teacher education (preferably with a specialization in early childhood education or secondary education), and one in special education. Applications are now being accepted for this unique pre-doctoral fellowship program aimed at supporting career development of faculty from underrepresented backgrounds.
This article was originally published in Teachers College Record and is reprinted with permission.
There are deeply ingrained structural inequalities in schools that require immediate action. As antiracist educators, we must ask questions about school equity to disrupt the inequality of school outcomes we continue to see today. Who teaches the students? Who gets new schools? Who graduates from high school, and who goes to college? Who gets labeled and sorted? What can (antiracist) educators do? These questions are profoundly antiracist because they are overwhelmingly multicultural. By asking profoundly antiracist questions about schools today, I highlight areas and issues of schooling that require immediate action, antiracist efforts, to address the inequalities that exist as evidenced by educational statistics. Based on the analysis of school outcomes presented in this research note, it becomes clear that Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) students continue to experience disparate school outcomes in America. Such inequalities reveal that BIPOC children are taught by underpaid teachers, learn in schools that are falling apart, are labeled and sorted at disproportionate rates, and endure a curriculum about other people, and generally are being underserved in schools, as evidenced by the school outcomes. Educators must take immediate antiracist actions to ensure that school equity does not continue to be defined by racial inequality.
In this blog post, members of the Educating for American Democracy (EAD) pilot program outline how EAD can best work with educator preparation programs to address threats to schools’ ability to prepare civically engaged students, the topic of discussion at their 2022 Annual Meeting Learning Lab session.
In 2021, AACTE released a report, Revolutionizing Education for All Learners, that detailed its strategic plan for following the COVID-19 pandemic with a revolution in education intended to address long-standing and newly discovered educational inequities (AACTE, 2021). Among its strategic planning outcomes was a dedication and commitment to have democratic principles guide the education revolution, stating “democratic principles must guide what we revolutionize toward” (p.8). Democratic principles, coupled with inclusive pedagogies, specifically inquiry, encompass great potential in addressing stagnant educational gaps. AACTE’s recommitment to democratize teacher education pedagogy and principles culminated in a Pilot program, Educating for American Democracy, in which both authors were participants. Struck by the possibilities of enhanced democratic principles guiding teacher preparation and teaching and learning in K-12 schools, the authors share about the pilot experience. The authors also offer their view on the shift’s constraints and possibilities to enhance educator preparation and ultimately to address longstanding questions about equity and school outcomes in American public schools (Fuentes, 2022).
In the following article, David A. Fuentes and Amy Ginsberg of the College of Education at William Paterson, a member of AACTE’s Network Improvement Community (NIC) Black and Hispanic/Latino Male Teacher Initiative, take a deep dive into their efforts to increase dual enrollment opportunities as a preemptive recruitment strategy. They provide insight into how network improvement science can be used to identify levers within education preparation program systems that can improve recruitment and retention of diverse teacher candidates.
To learn more about NIC members’ initiatives to recruit and retain Black and Latina males, watch the Building Recruitment Pathways, a segment of AACTE’s new NIC video case studies series.
Building and Sustaining Recruitment Pathways for Black and Latino Male Teachers
In 2014, our College of Education at William Paterson University, a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and Minority Serving Institution (MSI), located in the greater New York City area, was selected as one of ten universities to participate in the AACTE Network Improvement Community (NIC), aimed at increasing the number of Black and Latino/Hispanic male teachers (BLMs). Since that time, we have been engaged in iterative cycles of plan-do-study-act (PDSA). This systematic research first led to our becoming NIC mindful and then to several structural changes in our College of Education that make our efforts aimed at teacher diversification more possible today in both theory and practice. We have uncovered, implemented, and tested the efficacy of several structural changes at our institution targeting key drivers, recruitment and retention, while implementing new structures based on network improvement science and our desire and commitment to diversify our teacher candidate pool.
Authors David A. Fuentes and Johanna Torres of William Paterson University, along with Andrew Morse of the University of Northern Iowa, will present a Learning Lab during the AACTE 2021 Annual Meeting, “Navigating Student Supports in a Financial Crisis” on Wednesday, February 24, 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. In this article, Fuentes and Torres highlights their university’s efforts to support its diverse student population.
The unanticipated COVID-19 pandemic that hit in earnest of March of last year resulted in an abrupt disruption of teaching and learning at William Paterson University in northern New Jersey, as it did at institutions of higher education throughout the country. Students, faculty, and staff readied to quickly acclimate to our new learning ecology, one that was rife with technological challenges, but we were less prepared to understand the scope and breadth of the other hardships to come. Like other public universities located in the Mid-Atlantic region, March 2020 brought about changes at our institution that included the closure of our physical campus space, a loss of the varied and structured physical learning communities, and many of the physical opportunities that drove our community and kept us in touch with students and each other. Our offices designed around student support, civic engagement and campus life had to be re-imagined embracing the digital learning environments that faculty and students were creating. Adding to the dynamic change was a sense of urgency as our community, like others, began experiencing loss of a magnitude only experienced by previous, war-ravaged generations.
In fall 2014, AACTE formed a networked improvement community (NIC) aimed at increasing the number of Black and Latino male teacher candidates in teacher preparation programs. Our College of Education at William Paterson University was among the 10 member colleges selected to participate. As we’ve worked in this collaborative group toward the goal of boosting enrollment of men of color by 25% across our programs, we’ve enjoyed a local impact that reaches well beyond the anticipated range.
The NIC employs the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s “improvement science” methodology to help participants examine our current practices and create new ones that will support the recruitment and retention of more diverse teacher candidates in our programs, and ultimately, their entrance into the teaching workforce.