Election season is upon us. According to CNN, more than 50 million Americans have already cast their ballot in the 2020 election by mail or by early voting. Some predict that as many as two-thirds of the electorate will have voted before election day arrives on November 3. The remaining third of Americans will go to their neighborhood polling place next Tuesday and cast their vote in person for the men and women they want to see run their cities, municipalities, states and the country. Across the nation, hundreds of political offices are up for grabs and thousands of men and women have registered to have their names placed on the ballot. Some of the names will be familiar to voters, many more will not be. For those seeking information about candidates and candidate positions on education, AACTE is keenly positioned to help.
The Department of Education has awarded 23 grants administered as a of part of a pool of funding created to benefit programs including the Teaching Quality Partnership Program (TQP). Of the 10 grants awarded under Teacher Quality Partnerships program—totaling $7.3 million—six of the grantees are AACTE members.
The 23 grants, totaling nearly $100 million, will promote educator development and training in alignment with a signature economic initiative of the Administration. The grants are designed to contribute to the enhancement of the professional development and effectiveness of teachers and principals. Each of the awards went to schools or nonprofits that connect in some way with economic Opportunity Zones to serve economically distressed or underserved communities around the country.
The Teacher Quality Partnership grant program, authorized in Title II of the Higher Education Act, is the only federal initiative designed to strengthen and reform educator preparation at institutions of higher education. Strongly supported by AACTE, TQP grants support the preparation of profession-ready teachers for high-need schools and high-need subject areas. Under this program, partnerships between institutions of higher education and high-need schools and districts compete for funding to develop master’s-level residency programs or to reform undergraduate preservice preparation programs.
This year’s virtual AACTE State Leaders Institute will take place September 22-23, and will bring together state chapter leaders from AACTE and the Association of Teacher Educators (ATE) to enhance the presence of educator preparation at the state level. During this AACTE signature event, state leaders will focus on capacity building and augmenting their chapter’s impact through leadership development. Attendees will learn effective skills to engage with their governor’s office, receive the latest tips to strengthen the advocacy capacity of their state chapter and its membership, and enjoy networking opportunities with peers.
AACTE is excited to introduce its short tutorial video on how to navigate the new State Policy Tracking Map recently added to the AACTE COVID-19 Resource Hub. The easy to use map provides an analysis of state-issued guidance impacting standards and practice, new teacher induction, clinical practice and licensure. The tutorial offers a walkthrough of how to access and use the information provided in three formats: short bullet points, short-form distillations, and links to the original source material.
AACTE is among the first education associations to track and publish this information, which was collected from multiple sources: news reports, state press releases, executive orders issued by state governors and statements issued by state departments of education. AACTE also included information from state chapter leaders who participated in the shaping of EPP guidance in their state. As state legislatures begin to convene and engage on this issue, we will update the map to reflect their work.
The AACTE National Office has begun to analyze the information collected for the map and is compiling its findings in a soon-to-be released report. Teaching in the Time of COVID: State Recommendations for Preparation and New Teachers will summarize changes by EPPs in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis, seek opportunities for improvement, and propose recommendations to manage the pandemic successfully.
In the meantime, AACTE encourages you to visit the State Policy Tracking Map and invites you to share any questions, concerns, or updates you may have regarding the information presented on the map.
AACTE Responds to COVID-19
As part of its continued efforts to inform members about the latest developments regarding educator preparation programs (EPPs) in light of COVID-19, AACTE has updated its Policy Tracker Map to reflect recent changes in EPP-specific state guidance and recommendations. These changes include guidance analysis of 12 new states, specifically Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wyoming. We have also updated data for New Jersey, which recently issued new guidance waiving edTPA.
In the coming weeks and months, as agency guidance is supplemented by the supporting instructions and recommendations of other state entities, such as the legislature and regulatory bodies, the information and features of this interactive map will grow to accommodate those developments.
Due to the effects of COVID-19, many states have issued guidance or directives to assist educator preparation programs (EPPs) and teacher candidates in their response to the associated academic challenges and interruptions. In an effort to track relevant changes in state policies and practices, AACTE has developed a new interactive map designed to highlight and present such changes, with a focus on four key categories:
- initial licensure and certification
- clinical experiences
- hiring and induction
- state standards and other program requirements
Deeper Dive: Understanding the Preventative and Responsive Trends in Campus Safety
For decades, students, teachers, and parents have lived with the reality of campus violence, particularly gun violence. It is clear that meaningful action is needed to keep our schools safe, and to prevent violence from occurring in the first place. Educators have a special responsibility to lead on this issue. Across the country educators are joining community and political leaders in search of a multi-faceted approach to intervene, prevent, and respond to school-based violence.
During the 2020 Annual Meeting, a panel for explored this topic during the “School Safety Matters” Deeper Dive session, beginning with a national overview of the state of gun violence on school and college campuses. The presenters discussed policy levers used to address this violence and acquainted attendees with the tools and strategies being used to prevent and respond to school-based gun violence. Moderator Ben Erwin of the Education Commission of the States (ECS) facilitated the discussion between his ECS colleague, Zeke Perez, Amanda Fitzgerald from the American School Counselor Association and Elizabeth Brown, principal of Forest High School in Ocala, FL.
AACTE Responds to COVID-19
A series of unprecedented events are forcing states across the country to close schools and universities. As school leaders scramble to identify pathways and strategies to protect the health of students and staff, many of them must also attend to the unique challenges of their teaching students who are in limbo because of the coronavirus crisis.
Many states have not yet provided guidance to schools of education on how to lead and advise this special class of students. As a result, many teacher candidates are waiting to learn how, or even if, they will be able to fulfill the requirements of their programs and graduate. Given the unparalleled nature of events, it is understandable if some states are not fully prepared to address this specific concern, but there are a few notable exceptions. In the absence of legislative guidance, states like California, Kentucky, Iowa, and South Carolina have instructively addressed the most pressing concerns pertaining to teacher preparation in their states.
The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing maintains and up-to-date webpage where they attempt to answer the most common questions from educators and employing agencies regarding credentialing requirements, policies, and application procedures. The Commission is particularly concerned about candidates’ ability to complete clinical practice and performance assessment requirements during this academic year, and is looking for ways to mitigate this situation. It has prepared a memo to help guide the decision-making by deans and directors of education on the subject.
While many people are focused on the fact that 2020 is a presidential election year, it is important to note that much is happening at the state level. There are 11 gubernatorial races, all but 6 states have legislative elections, and there are many other measures that might require your vote. Where do you gather objective, non-partisan information about what will be on your ballot? Consider Ballotpedia, a digital encyclopedia of American politics. It is run by a nonprofit that is dedicated to compiling thorough, non-partisan information regarding state by state election/ballot activity in the United States.
Ballotpedia gathers information to support you in engaging in your democracy including:
- Databases of all upcoming elections, searchable by street address
- Dates for all elections and candidates, including off-year and special elections
- Times for Poll Openings and Closings organized by state
- Bios and contact information for all elected officials by district, down to the judicial and school board level, searchable by zip-code
- Databases of all upcoming state ballot measures, searchable by zip-code
- Fact-Checking of political reporting regarding issues under deep debate in your state
The subject of this month’s State of the States webinar is Girls and STEM. In 2009, four university researchers explored their suspicion that girls’ lagging behind boys in math achievement was substantially influenced by the math anxieties of their female elementary school teachers. The result of their research showed their suspicions to be correct and that some of the achievement gap was indeed a result of female teachers’ own apprehensions about math and their personal biases about the abilities of female students. The researchers found that female students can pick up on and even absorb negative thoughts from their teachers as early as kindergarten. Learn more.
Since that study was conducted, the achievement gap in math between boys and girls has narrowed, but still persists. The webinar will focus on what states are doing legislatively, with programs and with policy to eradicate the STEM achievement gap.
Register now for this members-only webinar:
State of the States: Girls and Stem
Wednesday, January 22
10:00 a.m. ET
The 2019 ACSR Elections are open and we need you to cast your vote!
The ACSR Annual Election for the Chair-Elect and Region Representatives is now open through December 13. Only the State Chapter President or the ACSR Liaison may vote with the ballot delivered by email.
This article, written by AACTE Director of Government Relations K. Ward Cummings, originally appeared in the Daily News Opinion section and is reprinted with permission.
The civil rights leader Malcolm X once famously said that the most segregated hour in American life is high noon on Sunday. If he were alive today, he might also include those weekday hours between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. when our children are in school.
This past May was the 65th anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education. The occasion inspired numerous panel discussions, seminars and reports about how much or how little the state of education has changed in the last half-century. Sadly, considerable attention also was paid to the subject of how segregated American schools remain 65 years later.
Around the country, regulators and legislators are demonstrating that they understand the urgent need to promote school safety. The 2019 state legislative session was an active one on the subject. Hundreds of bills were introduced covering every aspect of the matter from prevention to response. Join me as I present a wide-ranging overview and analysis of some of the most noteworthy school safety bills introduced over the year, with a particular focus on legislation impacting student and teacher mental health, in an upcoming State of the States webinar.
We encourage you to register in advance for the member-exclusive State of the States webinar, which will take place Thursday, October 31 from 11 a.m. to noon ET.
There will be time at the end of the webinar for questions and answers. The webinar will be recorded and posted on the website for future viewing.
For questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most of the state legislatures around the country have adjourned for the year. During the session, legislators introduced more than one hundred thousand individual pieces of legislation, of which hundreds focused on the teaching profession and the preparation of teachers. In the September 2019 State of the States Legislative Roundup webinar, AACTE offered an overview of education-related bills introduced over the year.
Each month, these state-focused policy and legislation webinars will examine a particular theme; October’s theme is school safety. If you or your colleagues are doing specific work around school safety—including campus safety, social-emotional learning, integrating trauma-informed instruction into your curriculum, or other related work— we encourage you to submit a blog. Learn more about the submission guidelines.
We hope you view the recording of September’s webinar and stay tuned for a blog when October’s registration opens. This webinar series is designed to help AACTE members stay abreast of the actions of state legislatures around the country that impact the profession, and we encourage you to attend.
Would you like to learn more about the resources AACTE has pulled together to support its members in their state level legislative research? AACTE Government Relations Committee member Allen Clarkson will host a webinar describing the features of AACTE’s new state legislative resource page on Thursday, October 3, from 11am to Noon EDT.
Attend this webinar to learn how to use the three legislative search engines and other resources found on this new page to pursue your legislative research and advocacy goals. There will be time at the end of the webinar to get your questions answered. The webinar will be recorded and posted on the website as well.
Register now for the Introducing AACTE’s New Legislative Resource Webpage webinar.