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AACTE Celebrates National Teacher Appreciation Week

National Teacher Appreciation Week is May 1 through May 7, 2022. AACTE celebrates the work of teachers across the country and recognizes the significant contributions our nation’s teachers make in preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s world.

AACTE joins with the American Federation of Teachers and more than 200 other partnering organizations, to thank teachers for “helping every child in America lay the groundwork to build a better life, which starts right in their very own school.” In addition, the campaign recognizes that, “Despite political interference, disrespect for [their] professionalism, and a seemingly endless struggle for resources, [teachers] rise to the occasion to help prepare every child for whatever comes next, and [they] do it with incredible humanity and grace.” 

AACTE Hosts Policy Briefing to Help Educators Manage Student Loans

How Educators Can Better Manage their Federal Student Loans

AACTE is hosting its second Public Policy in Action webinar, “How Educators Can Better Manage their Federal Student Loans,” on May 19 at 1:00 p.m. (EDT).  These public policy events are designed to help members understand critical policy updates originating from Congress or the Biden Administration. May’s webinar is focused on two critical items related to the educator workforce: the potential restart of payments on Federal student loans and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. We hope that attendees will also share policy developments related to student financial aid in their states.

Register for AACTE Washington Week: In Person for Greater Impact

2022 Washington Week - Register Now

Join AACTE in Washington, DC, June 6 – 8, for this year’s annual signature event, 2022 Washington Week, “Educating the Future: Policy and Advocacy as Levers of Change.” AACTE and ACSR state affiliate leaders, Holmes Scholars, and deans and faculty will join together in the nation’s capital to advocate for education and teacher preparation.

With legislative and other critical challenges facing educators and students throughout the country, this is the year to get involved and make your voice heard.

What’s new and different?

This year, AACTE combines the best programming from three separate events—the State Leaders Institute, Holmes Policy Institute, and Day on the Hill—into one reimagined mini-conference.

Registration Opens Soon for AACTE’s Washington Week, June 6 – 8

2022 Washington Week

Join AACTE June 6 – 8 in the nation’s capital for 2022 Washington Week. This annual, signature event is back in person, with state affiliate leaders, Holmes Scholars, deans, and educators joining together to advocate for education and teacher preparation.

With legislative and other critical challenges facing educators and students throughout the country, this is the year to get involved and make your voice heard. Join us for a reimagined event featuring keynote speakers, strand sessions, constituency sessions, and networking opportunities. Targeted sessions will include the following activities:

AACTE Participates in STEM Roundtable with Department of Education

STEM education. Science Technology Engineering Mathematics. STEM concept with drawing background. Magnifying glass over education background.AACTE is a member of The STEM Education Coalition whose mission is to raise awareness among policymakers about the critical role STEM education plays in enabling the United States to remain the economic and technological leader of the global marketplace of the 21st century. The Coalition recently participated in a roundtable discussion with Deputy Secretary of Education Cindy Marten and Assistant Secretary of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development Roberto Rodriguez on how best to advance STEM education for all students. Meredith Kier, associate professor of science education at the College of William and Mary, represented AACTE at the round table. 

Below is a summary of the discussion:

AACTE Weighs in on President Biden’s Budget Proposal

Word budget in lettern on background of dollar banknotesPresident Biden released his fiscal year 2023 budget proposal this week, which calls for an increase of $15.3 billion or roughly 15% for the Department of Education compared to fiscal year 2022.  AACTE strongly supports the investments in education programs called for by the president, which will make college more affordable for millions of students, help address the teacher shortage that our country faces, and diversify the profession.

Congress Condemns Threats of Violence Against HBCUs

happy male african american college student using tablet computerThe House of Representatives and Senate both recently passed resolutions condemning threats of violence against historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). 

Over the past several months, numerous bomb threats have been called in to HBCUs causing the colleges to cancel classes; disrupting campus environments; and increasing anxiety of students, faculty, and staff.  At least 18 HBCUs received bomb threats on February 1, 2022, the first day of Black History Month. Unfortunately, to date no one individual or group has been found responsible for these reprehensible acts. 

As the resolutions (H.Con.Res. 70/S.Res.534) note, HBCUs were established in response to discriminatory practices that excluded Black Americans from pursuing an education in the United States and they educate and produce a significant share of the nation’s Black leaders and innovators.

Congress Poised to Pass Annual Spending Bills

Close-up Of A Person's Hand Stamping With Approved Stamp On Document At DeskCongressional leaders announced this week that they have come to an agreement on the annual spending bills that will fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year. The government has been operating under a continuing resolution since October (a continuing resolution funds the government at the previous year’s levels). This agreement will allow Congress to begin work on the fiscal year 2023 spending bills, which should be signed into law by September 30. 

The House and Senate are expected to pass the legislation in the coming days and President Biden is expected to sign it into law.

AACTE Launches Public Policy in Action Briefings

AACTE is excited to announce that it is offering its members monthly public policy webinars to learn about critical policy updates impacting education preparation. The inaugural AACTE Public Policy in Action webinar will take place March 17 at 1:00 p.m. (EST). We hope that attendees will also share policy developments in from their states during the member-only briefings.  

During the March discussion, attendees will learn about a new and innovative way to address the nation’s teacher shortage by utilizing the Department of Labor’s apprenticeship program.  The U.S. Department of Labor recently approved Tennessee Department of Education’s application to include teacher residencies as a qualified apprenticeship program, opening the door to additional federal funds to help address the state’s teacher shortage. The program will provide candidates with high-quality, in-classroom experiences while learning from a mentor teacher as part of their clinical experience (known as student teaching in some states) and will increase the quantity and diversity of teachers in Tennessee’s classrooms; other states are expected to pursue this option to address teacher shortages in their classrooms.

How are You Using ESSER Funds to Address Educator Shortages in Your Community?

AACTE has heard about several educator preparation programs and local school districts partnering together to utilize Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Funds to help address the teacher shortage in their communities. Now, we want to hear from you. Please take a moment to complete this short survey to share how you are using ESSER funds to place teacher candidates in local classrooms to help with the transition back to in-person learning.

Pause on Federal Student Loan Repayments Extended

Young asian college student hold a sign of student loanThe Department of Education announced on December 22 that it would extend the pause on student loan repayment, interest, and collections through May 1, 2022. 

When COVID-19 began to wreak havoc with the lives of millions of people in March 2020, Congress passed legislation to temporarily suspend federal student loan payments.  In addition, borrowers were not charged interest on their loans and debt collection efforts were suspended.  The pause was extended several times and was due to be lifted on January 31, 2022.

Using American Rescue Plan Funds to Address Teacher Shortages

Smiling teacher and boy giving high five in classroom at school

In March, President Joseph Biden signed in to law the American Rescue Plan Act (commonly referred to as ‘ARP’), which included more than $120 billion to help schools safely reopen for in-person learning. The funding can be used in a variety of ways, including to address the nation’s teacher shortage by placing teacher candidates in K12 classrooms. AACTE created a Toolkit to help members navigate conversations with state or local education leaders about using ARP funding for this purpose.

Action Needed: Urge Your Members of Congress to Co-Sponsor the Educators for America Act

Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Representative Alma Adams (D-N.C.) recently introduced the Educators for America Act, which would modernize Title II of the Higher Education Act and help ensure that future teachers are profession-ready to enter the classroom. The Educators for America Act was introduced after more than a year of consultations with experts in the educator field and partner organizations.  
Action Needed Now we must use our voice to build support and momentum behind the bill. Urge your representative and senators to co-sponsor the Educators for America Act via AACTE’s Action Center.  

Using COVID Relief Funding to Address the Nation’s Teacher Shortage

Earlier this year, President Bident signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act, which included more than $125 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) Fund. These funds are being used by state educational agencies and school districts to reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the nation’s students. 

In response, AACTE created a Toolkit to help educator preparation programs collaborate with their local partner districts to allocate the ARP ESSER funds towards strengthening the educator workforce by supporting residency models, grow-your-own programs, and other innovative approaches to develop a pathway into teaching.

Urge Your Members of Congress to Support Educator Prep Programs and Fully Fund

AACTE recently posted two action alerts, which are a quick and easy way for you to urge your members of congress to support legislation pending before Congress.

The first action alert calls on Senators to include funding for educator preparation programs in the Build Back Better legislation it is currently negotiating.  Earlier this month, the House of Representatives passed legislation that included more than $1 billion for these programs, an investment that is long overdue.  However, it is unclear if the Senate will include this funding in their version of the bill.  Your voice can help determine the fate of this critical funding.

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