AACTE Responds to COVID-19
As a society, we have grappled with separation, tragedy, and trauma during the last few months at an increased volume. We are managing our challenges in isolation, which has exacerbated them in tangible and emotionally exhausting ways. Within educator preparation programs, your candidates have transitioned their coursework, their living circumstances, their peer relationships and learning communities. In addition, many of your candidates have continued to support their local school community in an online format to address the needs of their PK-12 students. Candidates have been asked to make these transitions and many have continued to engage with their classroom students while adjusting their expectations for their own future.
AACTE recognizes the immense effort required to advocate and care for the emotional and mental health of oneself during our current circumstances. To that end, we have added a new Mental Health section on our COVID-19 Resource Hub. This section is focused on EPP students—our future educators across the country. We have included free resources and tools to support mindfulness, meditation, peer support, and self-care. We hope these resources provide a supportive start to giving yourself grace, consideration, and gratitude for your contribution to the field of education.
Earlier this year, Colorado lawmakers proposed a bill that would task their state’s Department of Education and Department of Higher Education with devising strategies for recruiting more teachers of color. Almost half of Colorado students are students of color, while teachers of color comprise about 10 % of all teachers. This mismatch is even wider in Denver Public Schools, the largest district in the state, where 75 % of students are students of color but the share of teachers of color is a mere 27%.
Worse still, enrollment data from Colorado’s teacher preparation programs suggests these numbers are unlikely to inch up anytime soon: The state has not seen growth in the number of Black candidates enrolling in teacher programs in almost a decade, and its seen only a modest increase in the number of Latinx candidates. In the 2017–18 school year, only about 28 % of those enrolled in teacher preparation programs identified as people of color.
Research shows that teachers of color can boost the achievement of students of color—a needed skill in a state where these students face wide gaps in academic performance. However, it is increasingly clear that preparation programs will need to be more forward-thinking if they are going to usher more aspiring teachers of color into the profession.