By Jerrica Thurman
Register today for the AACTE Town Hall on Critical Race Theory on November 19 at 3:00 p.m. -4:00 p.m. EST. Critical Race Theory provides a lens to understand race, racism, oppression, and power in America. Join the AACTE Town Hall on the integral role educator preparation programs play in advancing scholarly work on Critical Race Theory and discuss ways to resist recent federal attacks on institutions’ efforts centered on this work. Bring your voice to the AACTE open forum and share challenges and success stories about your efforts to address race, equity, and social justice during these challenging times.
Teamwork Team Collaboration Connection Togetherness Unity Concept
Today AACTE released its new report, Teaching in the Time of COVID-19: State Recommendations for Educator Preparation Programs and New Teachers. The 10 recommendations address critical state policy changes necessary to support innovative improvement in education during the global pandemic and beyond. Increased barriers to developing the educator workforce during the health crisis, coupled with the national teacher shortage, create demands for acute collaboration between educator preparation programs (EPPs), state education agencies, and PK-12 schools to reinvent systems for producing high-quality teachers to meet the growing needs of diverse learners.
AACTE reviewed and analyzed COVID-related state guidance to EPPs in pursuit of three goals: (1) to understand what states are doing to help prepare teachers for the classroom during this crisis, (2) to understand any extant trends in state guidance and (3), to identify recommendations for state leaders to enhance the support of new teachers impacted by program and policy disturbances stemming from the coronavirus crisis. From the analysis emerged recommendations that address changes to licensure and certification requirements, clinical experience pathways, and induction supports for novice teachers.
“Navigating the current crisis is complicated, to say the least, and the pandemic’s impact has a profound effect on many, including colleges of education and educator preparation programs,” said Lynn M. Gangone, Ed.D., AACTE president and CEO. “The circumstances of the pandemic open a window to think differently about our collective work. AACTE released this report at its State Leaders Institute today to provide our state chapter leaders with the latest research to inform their collaborations and conversations with state officials, PK-12 partners, and legislators.”
The report’s 10 recommendations are:
- In making licensure and certification waivers for teachers, states should make changes that are directly necessary because of the pandemic temporary, with a timeline for an ending that is clearly delineated, and transparent in that those who are granted certification as a result of waived requirements must be so classified, (e.g., “waiver-certification”).
- States should seek innovative opportunities to address ongoing challenges—such as lack of diversity in the profession and the need to modernize the processes of licensure and certification—as they consider licensure and certification revisions.
- Ensure candidates continue gaining experience teaching in a clinical setting with a mentor teacher, university supervisor, and continuous feedback.
- Encourage flexibility and collaboration between EPPs and school districts that ensure teacher candidates participate in clinical experiences online or in distance settings if PK-12 schools are not physically back in brick and mortar buildings.
- Encourage innovative approaches to clinical experiences including distributed learning models that employ team teaching in PK-12 settings, simulated classroom environments that allow candidates to approximate teaching, and financially supporting candidates through employment with the local school.
- Assess the needs of new teachers impacted by COVID-19 and identify areas for additional support.
- Require an induction action plan for new teachers describing the activities that must be completed or acquired for successful induction.
- Establish a mentorship program to equip new teachers with strategies to deliver high-quality instruction to diverse learners.
- Implement co-teaching for new teachers whose clinical experiences were fully or partially waived and teachers who have not passed exams for licensure and certification due to COVID-19.
- Partner with EPPs to provide professional development to ensure that new teachers possess the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to teach diverse students.
View the full report at AACTE’s website.
By Christine Gentry and Lorraine Zhong
The culminating course of the NYU Teacher Residency focuses on a year-long participatory action research (PAR) journey residents take with a small group of students. PAR is a collaborative, iterative process of inquiry and action in response to an organizational or community problem. Residents and their students work as a team to identify a problem of practice, research that problem of practice, craft action and data collection plans, implement those plans, and then evaluate their impact through analysis of gathered data. In presentations at the end of the course, residents reflect on the entire process and how it helped develop student agency, advocacy, and voice as well as their own leadership. It is the faculty’s hope that during the PAR journey, residents practice radical listening and how to be mindful learners and leaders.
In March 2020, COVID-19 entered the residents’ PAR experience like a wrecking ball. I gathered with the other PAR instructors to decide how we were going to adjust the project for our residents, considering the radical change in access both to physical spaces and to the students in the PAR teams. We ultimately decided to offer the residents two choices: a reflective path, in which they could craft a presentation on their team’s original plan and the progress they were able to make pre-COVID, and a virtual pilot path, in which they could adjust their projects to the virtual space we all suddenly found ourselves in. Understandably, most residents chose to pursue the reflective path, but one resident, Lorraine Zhong, and her team of students chose to continue their project virtually. Her project is a model for how the PAR instructors in the NYU Teacher Residency will be approaching the project this year, with COVID-19’s grip still firmly on our schools. Her journey is a beautiful example of the transformative power of PAR—its ability to strengthen relationships, build student investment, and spark meaningful change—even in the face of this new and terribly difficult time for our schools.
I’ll let her take it from here.
By Meghan Whittaker
COVID-19 has created unprecedented obstacles to learning, for educators, school administrators and parents/caregivers. Yet even in the face of this disruption, educators and families have found innovative ways to keep learning going and help our kids succeed.
To recognize these heroic efforts, the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) will present the Everyday Champion Award for outstanding achievements in remote learning during the 2020 Pandemic. NCLD will honor three courageous and innovative, educators, administrators and parents/caregivers, who have done an outstanding job helping children with learning and attention issues through this time of remote learning.
NCLD will give three awards, each in the amount of $5,000.00. We’ll present these awards to one educator, one administrator, and one parent/caregiver. The recipients of the 2020 NCLD Everyday Champion Award will be honored at NCLD’s Annual Benefit, virtually, in December.
Nominations may be made by any parent, teacher, community members, or administrator by submitting an application for NCLD’s Everyday Champion Award. The award descriptions and schedule are below:
By Gail Richmond
This article originally appeared in the AACTE Journal of Teacher Education (JTE) and is co-authored by Gail Richmond, Christine Cho, H. Alix Gallagher, Ye He, and Emery Petchauery.
The unprecedented health crisis caused by the spread of the novel coronavirus has resulted in innumerable complications and challenges with respect to schooling in the United States and globally. With the closure of schools, parents and guardians and often older siblings have had to oversee the learning of younger, school-aged children. One consequence of what might be called “emergency teaching” or “crisis schooling” has been a recognition, largely by those thrust into such roles of how hard this oversight actually is and a call for more respect and recognition for classroom teachers. Most frequently, this call for recognition and respect has actually been in the form of a recommendation for higher pay. While such an expression of support is laudable, it once again reveals a lack of deep understanding on the part of the general public about the substantial and specialized knowledge and skills teachers need and the scope of their work as effective classroom educators.
While we have learned much about the specialized knowledge and skills that teachers must have to be effective (e.g., Phelps, 2009; Shulman, 1986), given how teaching and learning are unfolding during this COVID-19 “era,” there is much that we need to understand better about these processes (Richmond et al., 2020). At the time in which we are writing this editorial, two such examples include (a) the knowledge for online, face-to-face, or hybrid teaching and learning and (b) the cognitive, social, and emotional transitions for students (and for some, substantial trauma) to new learning platforms and different learning dynamics. There is also much to understand about the specific kinds of supports for students and for teachers that are necessary to maximize effective learning. Despite these needs, the novelty of the pandemic and the conditions students, educators, leaders, and scholars are living through call for a particular kind of pause. In this editorial, we (a) unpack this pause and the relationship to the production of academic scholarship, (b) direct scholars to the complexity of conditions unfolding during 2020–2021 academic years, and (c) encourage action-reflection as an integral part of the research process.
By Deb Lecklider
“In early March of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic began to wreak havoc on every aspect of life as we all knew it. Events were cancelled, businesses began to close, and classrooms became virtual spaces. The world looked and felt very different from anything we had ever known,” wrote Carolyn Gassman, Butler University graduate student.
The Experiential Program for Preparing School Principals (EPPSP), an educational leadership graduate program at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, canceled their summer 2020 research and study abroad learning experience to Italy due to Covid-19. EPPSP Students, practicing school teachers and educators, understood the complexity of returning to a physical building in the fall 2020 and wanted to support school leaders as they transitioned back to school.
EPPSP’s 40-year history includes experiential and relevant learning opportunities along with proficiencies that allow students to engage in real-life school leadership practices. Nationally, school leaders began developing re-entry plans and Indiana leaders were conducting plans of their own.
By Nicole Dunn
Join AACTE on August 12 and 13 from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. for its first back to school webinar series. Over the course of these two sessions, panelists with experience in using the Accomplished Teaching, Learning and Schools (ATLAS) library with the FAVSTE framework will introduce participants to these tools and how to use these tools to effectively utilize video tasks in teacher preparation. These ideas are applicable across different levels of certification (elementary, middle, and secondary) and school contexts.
Panelists will include the following:
- Brett Criswell – West Chester University
- Heather Jo Johnson – Vanderbilt
- Jessica Anna Arias – Kennesaw State University
- Lawrence T Escalada – University of Northern Iowa
- Shelly Forsythe – Texas State University
Register today to attend the two-part webinar: ATLAS and FAVSTE: A Tool and a Framework for Using Video in Teacher Preparation.
By Nathan Jones
This article by Nathan Jones, associate professor of special education at Boston University, is Part 1 of a two-part series.
Questions of health and safety of students and school personnel have dominated summer debates about how to open schools this fall. The collective focus on safety is certainly appropriate, considering concerns voiced by parents and educators. In most all cases, states have asked school districts to prepare for multiple possible scenarios, ranging from fully in-person to fully virtual. To plan well for any of these scenarios would take a tremendous amount of collective will and resources. To plan for all options simultaneously means that schools have simply not had the opportunity to wrestle with the deep teaching and learning challenges in front of them. If we were to wave a magic wand, and all schools were able to operate fully in person with no threat to students or staff this fall, schools would still face an uphill battle to address the learning losses that have been disproportionately felt by critical student sub-populations. Nowhere is this issue clearer than in the education of students with disabilities.
Although formal data are not yet available, we should anticipate that many students with disabilities have regressed considerably since the transition to distance learning. Data from NAEP assessments show that, for the past several years, students with disabilities have lagged behind their peers in reading, writing, and math. These gaps have likely widened further during distance learning, where students with disabilities have likely not received the additional instructional time they need to make progress. In a May 2020 survey conducted by Parents Together, 40% of parents of students with disabilities reported receiving no services at all since the transition to remote learning, and only 20% reported receiving the services they were entitled to.
By Ji Soo Song
The undersigned members of the COVID-19 Education Coalition offer the following statement on the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act:
We are deeply concerned with provisions of the HEALS Act, which proposes $70 billion to support K-12 schools in navigating the fallout from the COVID-19 global pandemic, two-thirds of which is tied to the physical reopening of school buildings. With many districts unable to safely reopen at this time because of high community transmission rates, many schools stand to lose out on a substantial portion of the HEALS Act’s promised resources, which they desperately need to ensure high-quality teaching and learning continues for the 2020-2021 school year. Additionally, the $70 billion allocated to K-12 schools is far short of the funding that national experts estimate will be necessary to fully support educators, students, and families at this time, especially those from marginalized groups disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Many of our organizations believe that K-12 schools need between $175 billion and $200 billion.
By Jane E. West
This blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide updated information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.
COVID Relief Package Progress Stalled
The Congress is scheduled to go into recess in two weeks. The election is about 100 days away. The nation is in crisis. Yet this week brought us a back and forth between the White House and Senate Republican leadership that yielded leaks of morsels about a proposed COVID relief package followed by retractions, clarifications and proclamations by individual Republican Senators that they have not seen any proposals nor been able to weigh in. Democrats are growing antsy—with two proposals on the table—HEROES Act in the House and the Coronavirus Childcare and Education Relief Act in the Senate. they are ready to negotiate. But no one is at the table yet.
A Senate Republican leadership bill was promised this week. A sketch of a proposal was leaked with the caveat that nothing had been finalized or agreed to. With Monday and Tuesday focused on honoring Rep. John Lewis in the Capitol, the business week will be short. The promise of that August recess is looking dim. With the federal unemployment checks scheduled to end at the end of the month and 1 in 5 workers now collecting unemployment benefits, much is at stake. Educators in both higher education and K-12 are struggling to make decisions now about school openings with little clear guidance and no sure knowledge of when or if there will be additional federal support.
By Sara Skretta
Andrew Carnegie once described teamwork as, “… the ability to work together toward a common vision and the ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives … It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” Carnegie was describing the challenges and opportunities that often arose in the business world of the early twentieth century, but the quote has a particular resonance today as the people of the world come together to defeat a global pandemic.
Teamwork is also how Nebraskans have chosen to face the many challenges related to the Coronavirus in our state—challenges that have expanded beyond healthcare to the economy and to education. And teamwork is at the heart of our efforts to ensure that teacher preparation continues on schedule. To that end, Nebraska education officials and state educational institutions are working together to put in place the program, licensure, and other modifications necessary to keep our student teachers on track.
By Stephen Canipe
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, many teachers, students, and parents rushed to navigate online learning. Some schools may reopen with social distancing guidelines in place, while others may incorporate a virtual component. To limit COVID-19 exposure while maintaining the quality of education for students, educators will need to embrace online instruction.
Navigating new technology can be a big hurdle for veteran teachers. As many school districts are announcing plans to incorporate virtual learning for the upcoming school year, there will be little time for teachers to prepare. Seasoned educators will need a lot of training to master remote instruction and help their students succeed.
Teacher candidates enrolled in online programs can help bridge the gap. These candidates have developed technology skills and experienced asynchronous learning, which puts them in a great position to pivot to remote teaching. With 50 years of experience in distance education and online learning, Walden University faculty are prepared to provide teacher candidates with the knowledge and experience needed for online instruction in PreK-12 schools. Walden even helps teacher candidates develop and practice their skills for the classroom through virtual reality training simulations.
By Jane E. West
This blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide updated information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.
Action Expected in July on Next COVID Relief Bill: Education in the Crosshairs
Beginning next week, we expect to see the Senate take up the next COVID relief bill. The House has passed their version of the bill and Senate Democrats have introduced their version of the bill, so the next move is up Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). His bill may be unveiled next week.
Education has become a high profile and contentious matter for this bill, as the president has determined that the economy cannot move forward unless schools are fully open in person so that parents and college employees (and workers in related businesses) can return to work in person. Multiple agendas are woven through this debate, which will become even more prominent as decisions are made about whether to apply conditions to any further COVID relief funding for education.
By Alexander Cuenca
The following article is Part 1 of an article by AACTE member Alexander Cuenca in which he highlights the tensions involved in continuing student teaching in the fall and shares a guidepost for educator preparation programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this post, I explore how the unexamined inertia of “experience” in teacher education contributes to the hesitation of teacher education decision-makers to cancel field experiences and student teaching in the fall. Canceling field experiences and student teaching in the fall is the most responsible decision. Primarily, because even a basic understanding of the germ theory of disease during a pandemic should be enough of a rationale. However, because higher education is ensconced in the same neoliberal rationales that led to the premature opening of private and public enterprise over the last few months, teacher education programs must navigate public policy on their own. Of course, with all of the uncertainty that has been created by the response in the United States to COVID-19, I don’t pretend to know what is best for every single teacher education program. Field experiences are entangled in state licensure and certification regulations, institutional scheduling issues, and school and university partnership agreements. However, operating from the position that COVID-19 continues to pose a substantial risk to the health and well-being of students, teachers, school staff, and student teachers, I hope to provide pause for those who believe that field experiences and the student teaching experience must go on.
By Ji Soo Song
The undersigned members of the COVID-19 Education Coalition offer the following statement on the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act (CCCERA) and FY21 federal education appropriations:
As states and districts continue preparing for the upcoming school year, national data reveal the critical need to support educators’ capacity to deliver effective and equitable online learning experiences. For example, a recent survey revealed discrepancies in the quality of instruction available to students from higher-income versus low-income families. Although the CARES Act provided some federal dollars to support educator professional development, experts agree that the current education stabilization funds are inadequate to fully support schools, students, educators, and families through the COVID-19 global pandemic.