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Katrina Norfleet

Content Strategist, AACTE

Gaëtane Jean-Marie Talks Culturally Responsive Classroom Management

Teacher smiling to her multi ethnic elementary classroom.

In a recent interview with AACTE, Gaëtane Jean-Marie, dean and professor of educational leadership at the College of Education, Rowan University, discusses the importance of preparing teacher candidates to understand the cultural background of students in moving toward a more humanistic approach to see the learner as an individual. 

Why is it important to prepare teacher candidates in culturally responsive classroom management?

It is to really realize the belief that all children can learn. A while back when I was teaching as a faculty member, I remember coming across a comment that stays and resonates with me; it is that if we truly believe that all children can learn, what then can we do when they can’t, when they are not learning? It makes me ask: What is our responsibility to help bridge the culture gap between teachers and students? As we continue to help diversify the teaching profession, it is still predominantly white teachers who are the educators, so how do we prepare them? What’s the responsibility of ensuring that our teacher candidates can really meet the needs of all learners?  We are at that demographic shift where more of our Black and Brown children are in schools and will be taught by teachers who are not of the same race. If we are recognizing that it starts with the belief that all children can learn, then our belief must also align with our practices as we continue to work hard to diversify the profession. We espouse the belief that all children can learn; now let’s realize that dream. 

Join the Conversation at AACTE’s Town Hall on Critical Race Theory

AACTE Town Hall on Critical Race Theory

Facilitated by a panel of education deans, this open forum will examine and discuss the integral role educator preparation programs play in advancing scholarly work on Critical Race Theory, as well as ways to resist attacks on institutions’ efforts centered around this work. You are invited to join your colleagues and share challenges and success stories about your efforts to address race, equity, and social justice during these challenging times including the following topics:

  • The challenges EPPs face in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives because of the federal ruling and COVID-19
  • How EPPs can resist the recent attacks on institutions’ work and impact centered on Critical Race Theory
  • Success stories of EPPs’ work in Critical Race Theory since the federal ruling and COVID-19

John Henning Counters Opposition to Critical Race Theory in Teacher Preparation

College students working together

In a recent article, “To Tackle Critical Theory in the K–12 Classroom, Start with Colleges of Education,” the author shares the view of someone who opposes training teacher candidates in critical race theory. AACTE Board member John Henning, dean of the School of Education at Monmouth University, refutes these opposing views and explains the value of including CRT work in education preparation programs.

The author of the article states that critical race theory (CRT) “amounts to an unremitting attack on all of America’s norms and traditions.” How would you respond to this statement?

John HenningThe purpose of critical race theory is to examine the role of race and racism in society. And it is helpful for raising awareness so that we can identify the existence of structural racism. It is not part of the curriculum; its purpose is not to question American norms and traditions. However, because racism is widely acknowledged to still exist in the United States, it can cause us to reflect both on our past and current practices. But it should be remembered that it is a theory, and, like all theories, it can be accepted partially, mostly, or fully. It is appropriate for teacher preparation programs to discuss this theory as part of their coursework because of the increasing racial diversity in schools. Most teachers are White females (around 80%) and critical race theory provides teachers, whether they are White or another race, with perspectives that allow them to gain insights into their students.

Discover the Latest Ed Prep News

News Room ScreenshotHave you visited the AACTE online News Room lately? While the News Room is the primary tool used by AACTE to increase the visibility of the educator preparation community, this resource is not only for journalists. AACTE has designed its news hub as a virtual repository of articles, information, and trends in the field to help its members stay up to date on timely education and educator preparation topics.

As a member-based organization, AACTE is keenly positioned to be a collective voice for the educator preparation community. When you want to know how the Association leadership is responding on behalf of AACTE to national events and federal issues that directly impact education and educators nationwide, visit the Press Release & Statements section. Read AACTE’s public comment on actions that range from the push to reopen schools during the COVID-19 pandemic to the most recent statement on the Administration’s restriction of federal funding for critical race theory training in education. This section also houses news releases, offering you updates on the work your Association is generating to assure educators are profession-ready when they enter the classroom, such as research reports, partnerships with other educator preparation-based organizations, and AACTE professional development events (Annual Meetings, Leadership Academy and Washington Week).

Preparing Novices to Teach ELA Content This School Year

The University of Michigan’s TeachingWorks is offering a series of free virtual mini-courses for English language arts teacher educators as part of its goal is to create a system for teacher preparation and establish support that will produce skillful beginning teachers who disrupt inequity.

The mini-courses will help build an understanding of critical content in ELA and develop practice-based approaches for teaching that content to novice teachers. This series will support ELA teacher educators to develop K-12 instruction and teacher education that fills immediate needs for children and contributes to building an education that dismantles injustice instead of perpetuating it.

The next course available for registration takes place on December 4, 2020:

Patton College Hosts Black Lives Matter Series

Patton College Hosts Black Lives Matter SeriesThe Patton College of Education at Ohio University has initiated a​n educational ​series with the goal of ​enhancing knowledge about racist and anti-racist behaviors among citizens of the university and global communities. The Black Live Matters Munch & Learn Series features ​educators and industry leaders from diverse backgrounds who share the same passion for improving the ​culture that threatens U.S. communities and nation.

To date, three panel discussion have taken place:

Advocacy & Allyship: Every Day, Not Just When it is Trending

This session, which challenges participants to recognize and speak up against racism, features the following speakers:

  • Brandi Baker, co-founder, Athens Parents for Racial Equality
  • Tyrone Carr, director, Alumni Diversity Initiatives/Racial Equity Coalition of Athens
  • Winsome Chunnu, director, Diversity and Inclusion
  • Sarah Garlington, assistant professor, Department of Social Work/Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)

Local ABC News Features Reyes Quezada on Ask the Expert

As many parents have questions about how to navigate the current school year with their children at home, ABC 10News anchor Lindsey Peña offered them an opportunity to talk with Reyes Quezada, chair of the Department of Learning and Teaching from University of San Diego USD, about their concerns. Reyes fields questions about distance learning, early childhood education, and bilingual education during the segment.

His advice includes tips that families can use to replicate what’s happening in schools to support their students at home. During the interactive session, Reyes also emphasizes the different ways teachers can communicate to meet the needs of the students during remote learning, including socio-emotional learning.

Watch the full interview on ABC10News Facebook page.

Dreams Will Not Be Deferred: A Conversation with New Jersey Higher Education Chief Diversity Officers on DEI Gains

With the growing racial unrest in the country, higher education institutions are uniquely situated to promote anti-racism through education, create safe spaces for marginalized communities, engage in coalition building and ensure accountability in addressing bias, harassment and discrimination complaints. Colleges and universities across the country are responding to the current climate and the persistent issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion by appointing Chief Diversity Officers in record numbers.  In an upcoming panel session hosted by Rowan University, Chief Diversity Officers at New Jersey higher education institutions will discuss promising gains in reimagining campuses that center the voices of diverse communities and leading institutional change that results in positive outcomes for students, faculty, and staff.

The session, “Dreams Will Not Be Deferred: A Conversation with Chief Diversity Officers on the Status Of Diversity, Equity And Inclusion In New Jersey Higher Education Institutions,” will take place Friday, September 25, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. Join the conversation at GO.ROWAN.EDU/DEINJCDO.

Holmes Policy Institute Launches AACTE 2020 Washington Week

Last week, scholars of color convened for the AACTE Holmes Policy Institute, a three-day training under this year’s theme, “Moving towards Equity through Advocacy and Policy.” The virtual conference, the first of the AACTE 2020 Washington Week events,  offered students the opportunity to connect with peers, build their networks and engage in lively discussions on current trends. The advocacy and policy training focused on how the intersection of policy, education, and research can affect positive change for students of color.

Day 1 kicked off with AACTE Dean in Residence Leslie Fenwick leading a session on civil rights in education and AACTE consultant Jane West presenting a policy briefing. Day 2 centered on presentations by guest speakers—faculty, national organization professionals, and congressional staffers—who covered topics such as efforts to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline and community-based participatory research to achieve social justice. The final day of training began with social reform advocates Jael Kerandi and Amanda Wilkerson, and moderator Ann Charity Hudley sharing their experiences and guidance on how scholars of color can mobilize for change.

New Resource: Privacy, Security and Digital Citizenship

COVID-19 Education Coalition memberNow that technology is playing a larger role than ever before in teaching and learning, the COVID-19 Education Coalition has curated a list of resources on keeping technology systems safe, protecting student data, and promoting healthy digital decision-making in the newly released A Learning System for Privacy, Security and Digital Citizenship Infrastructure.

As a member of the COVID-19 Education Coalition, AACTE invites members to access this informational resource. It was created to do the following: understand the relationship between privacy and security as well as have models of effective practices in safeguarding student data; understand the roles, responsibilities, and rights of students in virtual learning environments; and understand the numerous stakeholders playing a role in student “data stewardship” and “digital citizenship” (i.e., teachers, administrators, parents, vendors, and the students themselves) and how their role is critical for both short- and long-term success.

Touro University California Hosts Webinar Series on DEI

Diversity Now

The Graduate School of Education (GSOE) at Touro University California (TUC) is hosting a series of informative and courageous conversations about what it means for education to live diversity in 2020 and beyond. The Diversity Now Webinar Series covers a variety of subjects designed to stimulate thinking and action. Join experts from GSOE for weekly panel discussions facilitated by Ijeoma Ononuju, coordinator of the Equity, Diversity & Inclusive Education program, through September 30, 2020.

The series launched in July with the webinar, Building a Pipeline for Black Male Teacher Success – A Local Response, and can be viewed as a recorded session. The August webinars, also recorded for on-demand viewing, cover the following topics:

Register for the next webinar:

How Educators Can Use Their Sphere of Influence to Decolonize the Classroom

As part of a three-part Answering the Call to Action: Culturally Affirming Webinar Series, member institution Howard University College of Education will present its third session: “How Educators can use their Sphere of Influence to Decolonize the Classroom” on Wednesday, August 5, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m.

In addition to an overview on decolonization, the webinar offers three breakout sessions, which registrants will select in advance:

  • Break Out Session 1: Anti-racist Education Through People’s History (A mini-lesson)
    Deborah Menkart, Teaching for Change
  • Break Out Session 2: Conducting Equity Audits
    Karmen Rouland, MAEC
  • Break Out Session 3: Building a coalition through Black Lives Matter Week of Action in Schools
    Denisha Jones, Sarah Lawrence College

The Answering the Call to Action series also included Session 1: “Using Your Leadership in Being the Change That You Want to See,” designed for Educational Leaders and session 2: “Strengthening Mental Health Outcomes by Decolonizing Practices,” designed for School Psychologists and School Counselors.

Equity At the Core: 9 Challenge Questions to Explore and Ensure Inclusion of Students with Disabilities in the Reopening and Recovery Planning Process

Equity at the Core

To support school leaders, teachers, students, and their families in coping with the changes brought by COVID-19, the Educating All Learners Alliance have worked with national experts and their 50-plus alliance partners, including AACTE, to develop a design process around nine critical questions to consider in reopening and recovery planning for fall 2020.

The equityatthecore.org microsite shares resources from partner organizations, hosts a discussion forum and outlines a design process to ensure that students with disabilities are not only a paragraph in the planning process but are at the center of the discussion about educating all learners to prioritize equity and inclusion.

AACTE members are encouraged to visit the site and explore this resource for administrators, teachers, and school communities. AACTE is proud to be a part of this uncommon alliance of organizations working with each other to support the recovery and reopening process. 

Join the July 16 Town Hall: How Can We Safely Reopen Schools in the Fall?

The education community and parents are invited to join a virtual town hall to talk with health experts about the re-opening of schools in the fall. The event, hosted by a group of national education organizations, will take place Thursday, July 16 from 7:00 – 8:15 p.m. ET.

When COVID-19 began its slow spread across the country, schools in every state shut their doors to help flatten the curve—and they stayed closed for in-person instruction through the rest of the 2019–20 school year. While businesses and other industries are beginning to reopen, it’s clear that the economy relies on our public education system for true recovery.

What Anti-racist Teachers Do Differently

Boy reading and surrounded by books

In an article that appeared in “The Atlantic,” Pirette McKamey illustrated the many ways anti-racist teachers make black students central to the success of their own teaching. “This is a paradigm shift: Instead of only asking black students who are not doing well in class to start identifying with school, we also ask teachers whose black students are not doing well in their classes to start identifying with those students,” said McKamey.

McKamey is the first black principal of Mission High School in San Francisco, and has taught high-school English and history for 26 years. From 2005 to 2016, she co-founded and co-led the anti-racist teaching committee at Mission High. In the article, she offers a firsthand account of students’ level of success when their academic strengths are overlooked and marginalized by educators who do not respect the intellectual contributions of black students versus those who do.

Read the full article.

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