By Nicole Dunn
According to the Williams Institute at UCLA, there are over 1.6 million trans youth (13+) and adults across the United States. With new language and increased social acceptance to explore gender identity, the number of students identifying as transgender, non-binary, or any other gender non-conforming identity continues to rise. AACTE celebrates educators, policymakers, communities, and advocates that are doing the work to ensure transgender youth have the inclusive spaces and access to equal rights they deserve. In honor of International Transgender Day on March 31, AACTE encourages P-20 educators to do the work of learning how to support the identities of trans students and teachers, a sentiment shared by many of our members.
By Nicole Dunn
“AACTE meets the challenges of the 21st century through hosting career fairs that endeavors to diversify the post-secondary faculty pipeline. The outcomes of their efforts speak for themselves,” said Amanda Wilkerson, University of Central Florida, Holmes Program Alumna. “Through the Holmes Scholars program and innovative professional development training, I was able to showcase my research skills that ultimately led to acquiring a tenure-track academic role at a Research 1 Institution.”
Perhaps your institution is looking to connect with or recruit diverse faculty like Amanda Wilkerson. You need to look no further than the Holmes Program, which supports students who self-identify as racially and ethnically diverse and are pursuing graduate degrees in education at AACTE member institutions.
By Nicole Dunn
At this year’s 75th Annual Meeting, AACTE is featuring several Deeper Dive sessions that cover topics most relevant to you, including a closer look and celebration of the JTE Article of the Year, a conversation on how apprenticeships can address the shortages, and many more. These sessions were curated to reflect the association’s top strategic priorities: to build and sustain high-quality preparation and pipeline of teachers, expand policies that diversify the field, and advance the educator preparation field through innovative research, practices, and advocacy.
To attend AACTE Deeper Dive sessions and more cutting-edge content at the 2023 Annual Meeting, be sure to register for the 3-day conference before February 17.
By Nicole Dunn
At this year’s 75th Annual Meeting, AACTE is featuring 10-plus Learning Labs that cover topics most relevant to you, such as alternative preparation, apprenticeships, recruiting and supporting diverse educators, and leadership. These sessions were curated to reflect the association’s top strategic priorities: to build and sustain high-quality preparation and pipeline of teachers, expand policies that diversify the field, and advance the educator preparation field through innovative research, practices, and advocacy. To attend AACTE Learning Labs and more cutting-edge content at the 2023 Annual Meeting, be sure to register for the 3-day conference.
By Nicole Dunn
In the final installment of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month blog series, AACTE and Valerie Ooka Pang spoke with Lin Wu, recipient of the 2022 AACTE Outstanding Dissertation Award for “Borderland Teaching of Chinese American Teachers with Mexican American Students: Toward the Development of a Theory,” about his research, experiences in the academy, and insights on the triumphs and challenges of AANHPI educators and students.
Wu, who completed his dissertation for the Ph.D. at the University of Washington-Seattle and currently serves as an assistant professor in the College of Education at Western Oregon University, is the first Asian male to receive the distinguished award. When he began his graduate scholarship in the Deep South, where there is a Black-White racial binary, he says, “I just always felt like I did not belong to either group. I am somewhere in between.” This led Wu to his dissertation research and he asked himself, “What if I’m not alone? What if other Asian American teachers, specifically Chinese American teachers, share a similar experience?”
Wu’s dissertation studied three Chinese American teachers working with 11 Mexican American students in three ethnically diverse urban secondary schools in the Pacific Northwest, a unprolific research topic in the field. “As I was doing a literature review for my dissertation, [most of the research] was on teachers of color working with students of color from the same ethnic or racial group. I don’t know if it is intentional, but I ask myself [why is it] few folks want to discuss crossing ‘minority’ cultural borders in our research?” He reminds scholars of a quote from Toni Morrison that motivated him through this challenge, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
In his acceptance speech at AACTE’s 2022 Annual Meeting, Wu reminded the audience of the anniversary of the deadly shooting in Atlanta that killed eight people, six of whom were working-class Asian women. We join Wu in asking members to remember their lives and say their names: Hyun Jung Grant, Soon Chung Park, Suncha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, Xiaojie Tan and Daoyou Feng.
To create a more just society for AANHPI communities, all teachers must represent and validate the prolific histories and multi-dimensional identities of AANHPI students. This need was encapsulated perfectly in advice Wu received from Gloria Ladson-Billings about his job as a teacher educator, “It is not about you.” He elaborates, “[she said] I am not invalidating your struggles. Your struggles are real …. However, when your daughter goes to school, she will have to learn to navigate this world in a way that does not see her fully. So, your job is to make sure that the teachers and adults who will work with her one day will not do that.” We agree that all teacher education faculty share responsibility to ensure all preservice teachers are prepared to see students for who they fully are.
Wu’s Doctoral Experience
In addition to improving AANHPI inclusive curriculum and pedagogical standards, we know that representation matters. There is a lack of male teachers of color in the United States, AANHPI included. Wu reflected on his experiences as a doctoral student and recommended that programs be more intentional in providing financial support to Asians and Asian Americans, a barrier he faced in funding his education partially due to the model minority belief. This and other themes raised in Wu’s experiences resemble barriers to becoming a teacher found in AACTE’s Black and Hispanic/Latino Male Teacher NIC, including feelings of isolation, lacking familial and academic resources as a first-generation college student, family caretaker expectations, needing to work to support oneself while studying, and racial and gender stereotypes.
Wu explains that the male teacher of Color shortage is even worse in teacher education. When he began working as a graduate teaching assistant, he was the only male doctoral student of color for two years in that teacher education program. Beyond the socio-cultural barriers, Wu recalls a lack of curricular representation in many graduate courses, either for or by AANHPI scholars. When describing the research used across most of his methods training classes as a doctoral candidate, he says, “If I remember correctly, there were only two articles written by Asian American scholars, neither of which focused on Asian American students or teachers.” To be more inclusive, EPPs must ensure their curriculum represents every group so that students interested in research in those directions have access to representative resources. Finally, Wu describes the role mentorship played in his success: “I am eternally grateful to the sustaining mentorship from eminent scholars, including Dr. Geneva Gay and Dr. Valerie Ooka Pang. Cross-cultural and cross-gender mentorship is crucial for me because I will need mentors with different backgrounds and expertise to guide my work to represent my community better.”
Wu’s Teaching Experience
Now, as a faculty member teaching Social Cultural Foundations of Education and Multicultural Education, Wu works with predominantly White female preservice teachers. Besides preparing them to become culturally responsive teachers, he hopes to (re)present Asian men positively since most of them never had the opportunity to learn from Asian male teachers. That is another challenge facing all leaders in spaces where they are underrepresented — the expectation to “do everything right because you want to be a good representation of your community.” Wu continues, “My first time teaching the multicultural education course was challenging because some students did not perceive an Asian man to be qualified to talk about race.” His response is advice all educators should take since no one can be responsible for explaining or representing any group perfectly: “How do I humanize and correct the mistakes I made and teach my students to do the same?” What is even more essential within Wu’s advice is to do so with humility.
Earlier this year, in AACTE focus groups on teaching the truth in history and civics, teacher education faculty consistently agreed that end-of-course student evaluations created hesitation around discussing race and racism in the classroom, even when they desired to do so. Normalizing these open discussions and providing students with tools to analyze and counter accusations about critical race theory and other frameworks for democratic discussions on race and racism is essential. AACTE is grateful to Wu for modeling its efficacy, “I am committed to helping teachers transform their struggles into agencies to support all students, especially students of color.”
Lastly, Wu shares some recommendations to support AANHPI faculty and be more inclusive of AANHPI students and other students of color in schools. First, he says faculty should be prepared to have effective and frequent discussions on diversity, equity, and inclusion, by asking “How is the end-of-year feedback going to improve my teaching or your learning? My job is not to nag you about how racism impacts everybody in society. My job is to prepare you for the work you need to do so that you can succeed and sustain your success in this profession.” To accomplish this, faculty should remain committed learners by reading classic and emerging research and scholarship on advancing racial equity. Wu says, “I always strive to pair classic readings such as culturally responsive teaching with emerging case studies on [what] it looks like in practice for ethnically diverse students across content areas and grade levels.”
When it comes to program structures, Wu recommends EPPs make social-cultural foundation and multicultural education courses a requirement for all teacher candidates. Hire qualified faculty members, especially those of color, to teach the courses, provide systemic support, and ensure that the course content is historically grounded, theoretically rich, practically nuanced, and represents every racial group.
Finally, teacher education programs must allocate sustaining support for AANHPI faculty to pursue their research and develop their leadership capacity. “I am grateful to my mentor, Dr. Ken Carano, for helping me navigate my journey as a tenure-track faculty at Western Oregon University. I also appreciate my dean, Dr. Mark Girod, for funding my research and supporting me to lead the annual AAPI Heritage Month celebration in our college,” says Wu.
Wu wants Asian American scholars and other scholars of color in teacher education to know they should find colleagues and mentors who can support their personal and professional growth within and outside their institutions. Even though every institution has its problems, scholars of color can build a supportive network that nurtures their souls and helps them thrive.
The biggest takeaway in our interview with Wu is this: Teachers must understand that this job is never about them. Wu adds, “Your job is to teach students to be critical thinkers, engaged citizens, and supportive community members, who can challenge things when they are not right.”
Read other blogs in the AANHPI Heritage Month Series:
By Nicole Dunn
As of May 2, PEN America has noted that 34% of Live Educational Gag Order bills affect Institutes of Higher Education, and 100% of the teachers in the 15 states that have signed gag orders into law feel the impact on their work. In addition to these laws and the more than 80 live gag-order bills, rampant illegal and legalized banning of books is restricting the rights of educators to serve diverse students and their equally diverse needs. It is necessary for educators to understand and address this coordinated attack to protect students’ quality of education, human rights and mental health.
This year, at AACTE’s 2022 Washington Week, AACTE has dedicated one of its three strands to education censorship. The strand was developed based on feedback from members and AACTE’s research report on education censorship. Highlights from the report will be released at Washington Week. Sessions will cover the following objectives:
- The scope, tactics, and themes within education censorship policies
- Which policies implicate IHE, and how faculty can organize to address them
- How these policies and the moral panic surrounding them affect the work of teachers, and therefore teacher educators
By Nicole Dunn
Every student deserves to learn and thrive in a school environment that supports student identities, equips them for the future, and teaches the truth. Unfortunately, across the country, we have seen attempts to surveil and gag educators and whitewash the history of the United States by attacking culturally responsive curriculum, respect for LGBTQ+ students, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. We need to teach students the truth of our history to enable them to learn from the wisdom and mistakes of our past to help create a more just and equitable future. We must ensure students have an honest and accurate education that helps them develop critical thinking skills.
On Tuesday, May 24, The Leadership Conference Education Fund will host the second webinar in its Teaching Truth series in collaboration with AACTE, Ed Trust, GLSEN, IDRA, and National Black Justice Coalition. In this webinar, we will hear from messaging experts on how to break through the noise and make a proactive, compelling, and mobilizing case for the importance of teaching the truth in our schools. Additionally, we will hear from advocates who are taking messaging research and putting it into action to fight against the attacks on honest teaching in our schools.
- Victoria Kirby York, National Black Justice Coalition
- Anthony Torres, ASO Communications
- Thomas Marshall, IDRA
- Sumi Cho, African American Policy Forum
RSVP for the webinar today.
By Nicole Dunn
School leadership is second only to teaching among school-related factors in its impact on student learning, and school leader preparation programs play a key role in facilitating that success. As the leading voice in educator preparation, AACTE has launched a new podcast series, “Revolutionizing School Leadership Through Research”. This new podcast series highlights three cutting-edge research reports from the Wallace Foundation’s Knowledge Center on School Leadership. The three-episode series defines the evolving role and expectations of the principalship, the corresponding preparation required to meet those expectations, and the state policy levers that can be pulled to increase the number of qualified, equitable leaders in that position.
The first episode takes a macro look into the connection between school leadership and school outcomes. AACTE speaks with the lead author, Jason Grissom, of the Wallace commissioned report, How Principals Affect Students and Schools, A Systematic Synthesis of Two Decades of Research”, Grissom walks through the major landscape shifts in the past 20 years, with key insights into how preparation programs can be effective, equitable leaders.