Author Archive

Educators Won’t Be Silenced: Register for Webinar Addressing Book Banning

Ed Censorship and the Role of Book BanningSince the historic SCOTUS ruling in 1982, Board of Education, Island Trees Union Free School District v. Pico, which ruled that school boards cannot remove books because they disagree with them, describing libraries as spaces of “voluntary inquiry,” book bans and challenges have continued. The education field is based upon the values of intellectual freedom that were upheld by this and other Supreme Court decisions; however, the executive director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom recently stated in an interview, “We’re seeing an unprecedented volume of challenges.” While there is a formal “challenge” process for censoring information in libraries and curriculum, the enormous increase in political pressure has prompted some school districts to abandon their policies and begin pulling the books without undergoing this review process. As a result of not abiding by this process, which is legally reserved for challenging content that is “obscene,” books that overwhelmingly depict LGBTQ+ and BIPOC stories are removed from shelves, having been deemed “obscene” by local opinion. 

How should we educate candidates on these policies and how to combat them? What is our role as teacher educators to take up the torch of academic freedom on our campuses? These are some of the questions we hope to answer in the webinar, “Ed Censorship and the Role of Book Banning,” on February 1 at 1:00 p.m. EST.

In this webinar, panelists will contextualize the importance of training pre-service teachers and administrators on strategies to combat book-banning efforts when they enter the field. Jenna Spiering will walk through the what, how, and why regarding the current efforts to censor educators and how partnering with librarians can address this threat to democracy. Panelists Rema Reynolds and Kate Kedley will discuss best practices for teacher educators and practitioners to ensure there is honest teaching about racism, LGBTQ+, and other highly censored topics in schools.

Register today
Ed Censorship and the Role of Book-Banning
February 1, 2022
1:00 p.m. EST


Featured Panelists

Rema Reynolds VassarRema Reynolds Vassar is a former K-12 public school teacher, counselor, and administrator. She currently organizes parents for the improvement of student achievement and teaches educational leadership to aspiring school administrators. Vassar’s research is centered in schools serving culturally diverse students and families. Committed to every student learning, she works as a consultant for school districts across the country, equipping educators with reflexive practices that allow them to take deliberate action and increase equity and access for all students. With a focus on developing servant leaders committed to radical hope and love, she has also taught and presented at professional conferences throughout the United States and in over 20 countries.

Kate KedleyKate Kedley joined Rowan University in 2017 and is an assistant professor in the Department of Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Education. Kedley received a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa (language, literacy, and culture), and M.A. from Northern Arizona University (English), and a B.A. from the University of Northern Iowa (English education). Kate also holds graduate certificates in professional writing and in gender, women’s, and sexuality studies. Kedley is a former secondary English language arts and drivers education teacher in Iowa, Arizona, and the Central American country of Honduras. At Rowan, Kedley teaches in the pre-service teacher program.  Kedley’s research centers around critical literacy and education, public engagement, LGBTQ and young adult literature, language education, and social and educational movements in Honduras. Kedley has published work in various journals such as the English JournalSex Education, the eJournal of Public Affairs.

Jenna SpieringJenna Spiering is an assistant professor at University of South Carolina’s College of Information and Communications. Spiering’s research interests lie at the intersection of school libraries, critical youth studies, and children’s/young adult materials. Specifically, Spiering’s work emphasizes the school librarian’s role in selecting, promoting, and curating materials for students in K-12 settings. Some of her recent work has explored representations of gender and sexuality in young adult literature and considers how the presence of these topics affects selection practices. Spiering believes that teaching and learning are both social and multidirectional. She sees her role in the classroom as a facilitator of critical thinking and is constantly learning alongside and from her students. Therefore, discussion and civil discourse are key components of any course she teaches. She also strives to highlight diverse voices and perspectives in the texts and materials assigned in her courses —often challenging the canon of traditionally taught texts both in schools and in academic settings. She teaches courses in children’s and young adult materials, and school library curriculum and program development.

AACTE/UPPI Podcast Explores ‘Redesigning Instructional Leadership Training’

UPPI Podcast logoAs the role of the principal evolves, so too does the extent to which they play the role of instructional leader. As a vital part of student outcomes and teacher retention in schools, it’s alarming that new principal often have skill gaps when providing instructional coaching. Teacher retention is due largely in part to the support of their principal, which is why AACTE continues to advocate for quality education leadership preparation programming. 

In the sixth episode of AACTE’s podcast covering the University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI), AACTE talks to Jason Grissom, author of How Principals Affect Students and Schools, about what the research says regarding instructional leadership. The episode also dives into Albany State UPPI program’s efforts to address the gaps in preparing principal candidates to be effective instructional coaches with UPPI Project Director Janice Carthon, and Felisa McDavid, who is a graduate of Albany State’s principal prep program and principal of St. James Elementary in South Carolina.

Listen now to Episode 6: Redesigning Instructional Leadership Training

Members Only: Attend Educating for American Democracy Professional Development

Embedding Educating for American Democracy In Teacher Education A Pilot Professional Development for Educator Preparation ProfessionalsHistorical tensions and the bipartisan polarization of many topics deemed essential to a well-rounded, inclusive civic education has made teachers, especially those just entering the classroom, hesitant to engage students in civics in their classrooms. However, civic inquiry should be introduced early and often, by incorporating these frameworks across subject areas.

AACTE has partnered with iCivics and Educating for American Democracy (EAD) as part of its efforts to ensure every educator is prepared to help students understand the pillars and principles of democratic society and be engaged citizens regardless of their background and discipline.

AACTE/UPPI Podcast Highlights ‘A Sustainable Approach to Customizing Clinical Practice’

University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI) podcastIn the fifth episode of AACTE’s podcast covering the Wallace Foundation’s University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI), David Lorden and Alejandro Gonzalez Ojeda from San Diego State University share how to restructure principal preparation programs to meet the array of needs required by various districts.  During the episode, titled “A Sustainable Approach to Customizing Clinical Practice,” Lorden and Gonzalez Ojeda share insights from their own UPPI experiences as faculty in diversifying the clinical experiences of candidates through collaborative redesign with the districts. Through these insights, they answer the following questions:

  • How do you prepare a principal to lead anywhere?
  • How can prep programs adapt to meet the various needs of districts?
  • Why is customization critical for education leadership prep programs? Especially for equity?
  • How can a university sustain customizing their learning experiences for candidates with different backgrounds and strengths?

New Podcast Episode: Districts and Programs Collaborate in Commitment to Equity

Principal preparation programs serve two major consumers: the candidate’s that enter their programs and the districts that hire them. Therefore, it is essential to align program redesign efforts to district needs, which we have learned vary across the state. In episode four of AACTE’s new University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI) Podcast series chronicling the Wallace Foundation multi-year principal program redesign initiative, Franciso Edobedo, superintendent of the Chula Vista Elementary School District (CVESD), located in southern San Diego County, shares what superintendents are looking for in principals and other school leaders entering the field. Also featured is Douglas Fisher, professor and chair of Educational Leadership at San Diego State University, who discusses why and how prep programs should work with districts like CVESD.  Their collaboration led to various redesign improvements over the course of Wallace’s UPPI Initiative, but this episode dives deeper into how they were able to share, evaluate ,and act on data through an equitable lens.

Listen now to Episode 4: Districts and Programs Collaborate in Commitment to Equity

New AACTE Podcast Episode Provides Insights into Education Leadership Program Redesign

The third episode of AACTE’s new University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI) Podcast series chronicling this Wallace Foundation multi-year principal program redesign initiative is now available. In the last episode, AACTE identified the gaps between “learning” and “doing.” In this episode, guests dive into a case study of the UPPI program at University of Connecticut (UConn ) and what they have learned from their program redesign. Episode 3 features Richard Gonzalez, who oversees the principalship and superintendency program at UConn and serves as the director of UConn’s UPPI initiative project. Gonzalez and current program candidate Symone James, explain the core assessments, how they were tied to clinical practice and what that structure accomplished in closing the “learning” and “doing” gap of principal preparation.

New Podcast Explores Gaps in the Journey to Becoming a Principal

While the role of the principal remains essential, it has evolved over time. Throughout its evolvement, preparation programs, districts, and state policy makers have worked in silos, creating gaps between the skills learned in an educator leadership program and what a principal actually does on the job. In the second episode of AACTE’s new University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI) Podcast series chronicling this Wallace Foundation multi-year principal program redesign initiative, listeners will learn what the research says about what the gaps between “learning” and “doing” and how to address them.

In the “Gaps in the Journey to Becoming a Principal” podcast segment, listeners will hear how those findings are seen and implemented through the eyes of one of the UPPI’s Project Directors, Tim Drake.

AACTE Releases New Podcast Series: The University Principal Preparation Initiative

The University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI) Podcast logoAACTE has released a new podcast series that chronicles the multi-year principal program redesign initiative undertaken by the Wallace Foundation: The University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI). This podcast is designed to inspire learning opportunities and educational partnerships among AACTE members and stakeholders and to create highly trained and qualified principals who will influence and shape their learning communities. 

In the first episode, AACTE interviews Rochelle Herring, senior program officer at the Wallace Foundation, to introduce the initiative, though which seven principal preparation programs were selected to partner with district and state leaders in their redesign efforts, as well as investigate how state policy could be leveraged to improve the quality of principal preparation statewide. Throughout the conversation, Herring cites research proving that the principal is a multiplier of good teaching and therefore, improved learning.

A Call to Action: #TeachTruth on George Floyd’s Birthday

National Day of Action.  Justice for George - Oct 14As of September 25, 2021, there are 11 states—Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Utah—that have passed restrictions on racial justice education in public K-12 schools. As programs that prepare educators to enter classrooms during this current onslaught of education censorship, it is imperative to ensure they are prepared to balance the harsh realities of these bills with their abilities to affirm student identities by teaching a curriculum that is a full and accurate representation of our nation’s history across disciplines.

AACTE invites you to join “Black Lives Matter at School ‘Year of Purpose’” in a national day of action to #TeachTruth about structural oppression on George Floyd’s birthday, Thursday, October 14. This day of action is co-sponsored by the African American Policy Forum and is supported and endorsed by the Zinn Education Project (a project of Rethinking Schools and Teaching for Change), National Education Association, Alliance for Quality Education, NYU Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools, and NYC Coalition for Educational Justice.

Join AACTE in Growing and Sustaining White Racial Allyship in Education

Growing and Sustaining White Racial Justice Allyship in Education

AACTE invites like-minded educators to attend the webinar, “Combating Racism in Education Prep: An Introduction to Authentic, Action-Oriented Allyship as Educators.” As part of AACTE’s Combating Racism in Educator Preparation series, this webinar is the first one produced for a “White Racial Justice” affinity group. The webinar takes place July 14 at 2:00 p.m. ET.

Who should attend?
This is an opportunity for anyone who is an educator or education advocate to learn more about and/or re-energize and re-frame the conversation on creating equitable educator preparation programs that prepare teachers to enter the nation’s schools armed with not just an understanding of how we got here, but also with strategies to be advocates for themselves and their students who may have less institutional agency.

AACTE Combating Racism Webinar Focuses on Authentic, Action-Oriented Allyship

Growing and Sustaining White Racial Justice Allyship in EducationA panel of experts who have dedicated their careers to the pursuit of equity in education will present AACTE’s first webinar produced for a “White Racial Justice” informal affinity group as part of AACTE’s in Combating Racism in Educator Preparation series. Join your like-minded peers and attend the webinar, “Combating Racism in Education Prep: An Introduction to Authentic, Action-Oriented Allyship as Educators” on July 14 at 2:00 p.m. ET.

Through the panelists’ diverse background and experiences, the presenters will introduce language, frameworks, resources, and strategies for the audience to use in their learning and reflection to be anti-racist educators and learn discussion and advocacy techniques to use in their professional and personal lives.

This is an opportunity for anyone who is an educator or education advocate to learn more about and/or re-energize and re-frame the conversation on creating equitable educator preparation programs that prepare teachers to enter the country’s schools armed with not just an understanding of how we got here, but also with strategies to be advocates for themselves and their students who may have less institutional agency. 

AACTE’s ‘Combating Racism is Educator Preparation Series’ Offered to Informal Affinity Groups

Growing and Sustaining White Racial Justice Allyship in Education

You are invited to register for the upcoming BIPOC affinity webinar and White Racial Justice affinity webinar offered as part of the “AACTE Racism is Educator Preparation” series.

AACTE’s “Combating Racism is Educator Preparation Series’ began in 2021 with three specific objectives for our membership, audience, and the field at large:

  1. Contextualize the role of racism in structural oppression and how the education system at large maintains and promulgates these oppressive systems.
  2. Engage with you, our audience, to understand you and your organization’s understanding and capacity to address racism using antiracist, abolitionist, inclusive, and intersectional policies.
  3. Normalize and humanize critical conversations around racism within the field that will lead to collaborative action around structural oppression in education.

AACTE’s ‘Combating Racism in Educator Prep’ Series Will Explore Justice and Joy

Justice and Joy

AACTE’s “Combating Racism is Educator Preparation Series” began in 2021 with three specific objectives for our membership, audience, and the field at large:

  1. Contextualize the role of racism in structural oppression and how the education system at large maintains and promulgates these oppressive systems.
  2. Engage with you, the audience, to understand you and your organization’s understanding and capacity to address racism using antiracist, abolitionist, inclusive, and intersectional policies.
  3. Normalize and humanize critical conversations around racism within the field that will lead to collaborative action around structural oppression in education.

Attend HRC’s Project THRIVE Webinar: LGBTQ Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Youth

Young Asian woman holding rainbow flag to support LGBTQ+ communityAACTE partners with organizations that share its view that an intersectional lens is critical when educators are examining structures and practices that increase student discrimination and disadvantages.  As Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month comes to an end and Pride Month begins, one of AACTE’s partners, Human Rights Campaign’s Project THRIVE, is hosting a webinar with panelists that represent the intersection of these communities on May 27, 2:00 p.m. ET.

AACTE Partner’s with HRC’s Project THRIVE to Support LGBTQ Youth

Project ThriveAACTE is honored to share that it has joined the leaders from the nation’s largest health, education, child welfare, legal, and juvenile justice organizations in support of the Human Rights Campaign’s Project THRIVE, a multi-year national campaign to create more equitable, inclusive support systems and communities for LGBTQ youth. The initiative will build the skills and capacities of all youth-serving professionals to better meet the needs of LGBTQ young people.

Every organization that is part of Project THRIVE has a unique role to play in strengthening family permanence and support, improving health and well-being, increasing school connection, and building a foundation of resilience so that all LGBTQ youth can thrive. Project THRIVE is committed to an intersectional approach in this work, and to ensuring that LGBTQ youth of color and those who are system-involved or have a history of homelessness are a priority focus.

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