In early spring, when the coronavirus (COVID-19) shut the doors to classrooms, there was an optimistic belief that by fall the obstacles of the pandemic would disappear and in-class instruction would return to normal. However, as states began to lift emergency orders and school districts prepared to reopen schools, it became evident that education leaders would still be grappling with the unpredictable public health crisis this fall.
With COVID-19 spreading more rapidly in some regions of the United States, each state must assess whether they can safely open schools. Recently, some school districts that deemed it safe to reopen have reverted to remote learning when students and/or teachers have tested positive for the coronavirus. Certainly, navigating the current crisis is complicated, and it is having a profound effect on educator preparation programs (EPPs).
Due to PK-12 school closures in the spring, many teacher candidates were unable to complete their clinical and field experiences in a classroom setting—typically a prerequisite for licensure. Acknowledging that a lack of new teachers entering the field would adversely impact the current teacher shortage crisis, EPPs responded with alternative learning opportunities to ensure that teacher candidates are prepared and competent to enter their own classrooms. As a result, many states have implemented emergency policy changes to licensure, thus enabling recent graduates to teach this fall.
This moment in time is anything but typical. As the beginning of the school year nears and the pandemic surges, we are left wondering, what will our classrooms look like this fall? Preparing to return to school will look different for parents, students, and educators alike. And if the Trump administration has its way, all schools and universities will be forced to reopen with in-person education.
Determined to open schools despite the surge in COVID-19 cases, President Trump threatens to withhold federal funds as a means to force schools and universities into on campus, in-person education. His statement in early July was issued when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had yet to release updated guidance on how to safely reopen schools. In fact, the revised guidelines weren’t released until July 23—leaving schools only weeks to prepare for what will undoubtably be a monumental challenge.
Federal funds must not be used as leverage to force schools and universities to provide in-person classes amidst the current surge of the coronavirus. Instead, federal funds should be allocated to aid colleges and universities in their recovery from the significant, financial challenges caused by the pandemic, to equip institutions with the proper tools to reduce the spread of coronavirus on their campuses, and to provide liability protection.
Greetings from your National Office team. Thanks to all of our members who stay in touch with us. Hearing how you navigate the complex issues fueled by the coronavirus pandemic, within your local communities, allows all members to benefit from your hard-earned lessons. Additionally, our collective work in educator preparation advocacy ensures that there are federal and state funds to support ALL students. AACTE maintains its strong commitment to advocacy, particularly at this time; know that we are taking a stand and advocating for legislation and initiatives that promote the safe reopening of our member institutions this fall. Please take a few minutes to watch the video above and learn more.
You can support AACTE’s advocacy work by joining our virtual 2020 Washington Week this September. Your voice matters regarding the current federal and state policies impacting colleges of education and their recovery from COVID-19. You can learn more about AACTE’s inaugural virtual conference at aacte.org.
We live in a society that is rapidly changing. The worldwide pandemic has shown us the harsh, but important, reality that divisiveness, inequality, and discrimination persist in our country. The murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and too many others are stark evidence that racism still has deep and seemingly impenetrable roots in our country. This profound moment in time has brought despair to and heightened protest not only within the Black American community, but to people of all races throughout our country and the world. While addressing and rectifying these injustices requires the concerted effort of all American citizens, educators play an essential role in creating and ensuring an equitable existence for everyone.
Throughout our nation’s history, education has been pivotal in fostering citizenry. Abolitionist leaders understood the importance of a quality public education in promoting democracy. William Lloyd Garrison called for “a broader basis for government which includes all the people, with all their rights in their hands, and with an equal power to maintain their rights.” Wendell Phillips insisted that knowledge was given to impart upon others. Harriet Tubman instilled within us that “every great dream begins with a dreamer.” And Frederick Douglass wrote that “once you have learned to read, you will be forever free.”
This article originally appeared in eCampus News.
With the onset of coronavirus (COVID-19), school districts, institutions of higher education, and educators are finding themselves in uncharted territory. COVID-19 hit hard and fast. And with that, so did the shift from in-school instruction to online learning, which brought to light very complicated issues and inequities.
The onset of remote learning has magnified the disparity between students who have access to computers and internet and those who do not. The digital divide in our communities, particularly among children from underrepresented and low socioeconomic communities, raises questions that need to be answered.
What technologically based tools make a difference? What context is critical for successful introduction and integration of such tools? What scale of implementation might be possible?
We are indeed living in profound times. Educators face extraordinary challenges navigating not only the global health crisis, but also the racial and systemic injustices occurring within our country. AACTE and its Board of Directors are taking bold actions to augment our leading role during this time of change. Please take a few minutes to watch the video above and learn more.
Educators must remain committed to teaching and modeling social responsibility now more than ever before. Stay connected with AACTE for the latest resources, tools, and information to address the issues facing our profession today. Visit aacte.org to access these benefits and renew your AACTE membership.
You, like many AACTE members, are likely facing pauses and interruptions to the clinical practice partnerships in your educator preparation program due to COVID-19. AACTE wants to provide you with solutions, and as such, I am excited to announce our collaboration with Mursion to provide our members access to virtual reality classrooms. This technology enables teacher candidates to receive experiential learning to continue their career development in virtual settings. View the complete details at aacte.org/vrclassrooms.
Please take a few minutes to watch the video and learn more about this special member-only benefit and other ways to engage with your Association this month. Stay positive and rest assured that AACTE is here to support you through this difficult time.
AACTE Responds to COVID-19
To help AACTE better understand and help members respond to the unprecedented challenges that COVID-19 has created for educator preparation, AACTE distributed a survey today to targeted members. The member survey was sent to senior leaders with responsibility for a school, college, or department of education such as deans, associate deans, vice presidents, or department chairs.
If you received this survey, AACTE needs to hear from you and will use your responses to
- determine the support members need;
- inform the public and policy makers about how the coronavirus is affecting educator preparation; and
- share aggregated information with members to help you benchmark your experience against your peers.
AACTE Responds to COVID-19
With the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19), school districts, institutions of higher education, and educators are finding themselves in uncharted territory. As schools across the nation are forced to shut their doors, finding ways to best serve all students equitably has never been more urgent. This is especially true for our most vulnerable students—those with disabilities.
COVID-19 hit hard and fast. And with that, so did the shift from in-school instruction to online learning. We know that special education students receive, consume, and apply information differently in face-to-face settings versus online environments. However, the rapid onset of COVID-19 did not give educators, parents, or students time to adequately prepare for the transition.
AACTE Responds to COVID-19
During this unprecedented time, AACTE’s number one concern is you, your loved ones, your colleagues, and your institutions. We will get through this together! While we all navigate the impact of the coronavirus, AACTE is working to provide you support through its COVID-19 Resource Hub and collaborations with key stakeholders from the field. Please take a few minutes to watch the video above and learn more.