• 2020 Washington Week

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  • AACTE 73rd Annual Meeting


Navigating an Unpredictable Pandemic

Mid adult man attending online math's lecture on laptop at homeIn early spring, when the coronavirus (COVID-19) shut the doors to classrooms, there was an optimistic belief that by fall the obstacles of the pandemic would disappear and in-class instruction would return to normal. However, as states began to lift emergency orders and school districts prepared to reopen schools, it became evident that education leaders would still be grappling with the unpredictable public health crisis this fall.

With COVID-19 spreading more rapidly in some regions of the United States, each state must assess whether they can safely open schools. Recently, some school districts that deemed it safe to reopen have reverted to remote learning when students and/or teachers have tested positive for the coronavirus. Certainly, navigating the current crisis is complicated, and it is having a profound effect on educator preparation programs (EPPs).

Due to PK-12 school closures in the spring, many teacher candidates were unable to complete their clinical and field experiences in a classroom setting—typically a prerequisite for licensure. Acknowledging that a lack of new teachers entering the field would adversely impact the current teacher shortage crisis, EPPs responded with alternative learning opportunities to ensure that teacher candidates are prepared and competent to enter their own classrooms. As a result, many states have implemented emergency policy changes to licensure, thus enabling recent graduates to teach this fall.

Congress Aims for the September 30 Finish Line

Sunset sky over the US Capitol building dome in Washington DC.

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.

Congress Looks to Avoid Government Shutdown after Failing to Move COVID Relief Bill

Remember your students who waited until the last minute to turn in their assignments? Well, they are all Members of Congress now! Congress will walk right up to the September 30 deadline before passing a short-term measure that will avoid a government shutdown and keep federal funding flowing.  Called a “Continuing Resolution”—or CR—the bill will be a “simple extension” to continue current levels of funding for the time being. The White House, Senate and House leadership agree that this must be passed by the deadline and a shutdown must be avoided. 

Two outstanding questions remain. The first is: What will the expiration date be for the CR?  The answer is anywhere between mid-December and March.  

The second outstanding question is what will and will not be attached to the CR? While all parties are agreeing on a “clean” CR—meaning no “poison pill” amendments—there are always what are known in Washington-speak as “anomalies.”  These are friendly changes to law, which are not supposed to be controversial. Of course, ensuring that all parties agree that something is not controversial can be a challenge. Given that passage of a COVID relief bill failed to make progress last week, there will be pressure to add COVID-related provisions to this bill.  Most anticipate that there will be no further action on a COVID relief bill until after the election in November. Stay tuned for some action on the CR next week.

Dreams Will Not Be Deferred: A Conversation with New Jersey Higher Education Chief Diversity Officers on DEI Gains

With the growing racial unrest in the country, higher education institutions are uniquely situated to promote anti-racism through education, create safe spaces for marginalized communities, engage in coalition building and ensure accountability in addressing bias, harassment and discrimination complaints. Colleges and universities across the country are responding to the current climate and the persistent issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion by appointing Chief Diversity Officers in record numbers.  In an upcoming panel session hosted by Rowan University, Chief Diversity Officers at New Jersey higher education institutions will discuss promising gains in reimagining campuses that center the voices of diverse communities and leading institutional change that results in positive outcomes for students, faculty, and staff.

The session, “Dreams Will Not Be Deferred: A Conversation with Chief Diversity Officers on the Status Of Diversity, Equity And Inclusion In New Jersey Higher Education Institutions,” will take place Friday, September 25, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. Join the conversation at GO.ROWAN.EDU/DEINJCDO.

Take Our Survey: Preparing Educators for Family Engagement

Family sitting at a table togetherThe National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement (NAFSCE) is delighted to join with AACTE and an array of partners—the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium (MAEC), and the National Education Association (NEA)—to expand our understanding of how educators are prepared for family engagement.  As part of this project, we are inviting department heads and chairs of colleges of teacher education to complete our National Survey of Educator Preparation in Family Engagement by October 31. The goal of the survey is to map how educator preparation programs are preparing education candidates for effective family engagement, identify promising practices, and learn and share innovative ideas.  

Preparing Educators for Family Engagement 

Engaging families and communities in learning has always been foundational to student success. Yet, as our nation sets a path forward for education this school year, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and the reinvigorated movement for racial justice, family and community engagement is more important than ever before. Many educators, however, are not well-prepared to engage families and communities meaningfully.

Submit a Proposal for SITE Interactive Online Conference

SITEIn April, The Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE) did what many organizations had to do. We transitioned our annual conference to an online format, and we discovered we were still able to have rich conversations with our SITE members around the world. Spurred on by this success, we have been planning a new fall event we are calling the SITE Interactive Online Conference, which will take place October 26-28.

 We hope this will be a way of connecting our SITE community in-between the annual spring conferences and allow us to have an event with more practitioner and conversation-oriented sessions. While there will still be opportunities to present research papers as we do at our annual spring research conference, we have added new presentation categories (such as birds of a feather, best practices/demo teaching, and practitioner panels) to provide space for conversations around the important issues facing teacher education today. With a conference rate of $150 and a special rate of $55 for students, we especially hope to see many graduate students and early-career faculty join us.

Proposals are due Friday, September 25 on our website. I hope to see you at SITE Interactive October 26-28!

Elizabeth Langran serves as president of the SITE Executive Board.

 

 

Overcoming Racial Battle Fatigue Through Education Reform

Young teacher pointing at notes in his pupil copybookThe horrific image of George Floyd taking his last breath is seared into our hearts and minds. Since that tragic event, we continue to bear witness to racial violence, police brutality, and incidents of discrimination that are played repeatedly in the news and via social media. The cumulative effect of these stressful reports can be traumatizing, and they are having a profound impact on our educators and students of color.

Racial battle fatigue (RBF), a term coined by critical race theorist William Smith, reflects the cumulative results of race-related stress. It emerges not only due to macroaggressions, but also from daily microaggressions, such as dismissive and demeaning comments directed at Black and Brown individuals. Basically, RBF is a wearing down based upon one’s racial identity. Some of the symptoms include depression, anger, frustration, and an overwhelming feeling of helplessness that a person of color is unable to contribute to positive change.

RBF is persistent and pervasive, and it manifests in different ways dependent upon who the person of color is and what he or she has experienced in the past. And while RBF impacts every aspect of our society, in higher education and K-12 environments, we predominantly see it’s imprint through hateful, divisive speech on social media, racial profiling in our society and our schools, and discipline policies that differ for students of color.

Clinically Rich Programs in New York: Western New York Teacher Residency at Canisius College Rich

Prepared to TeachThis article is part of a series on clinically rich teacher preparation in New York State, coordinated by Prepared To Teach at Bank Street College. The text is adapted from their latest report, Making Teacher Preparation Policy Work: Lessons From and For New York, and shared by the featured institution.

In the fall of 2018, Canisius College developed the Western New York Teacher Residency Program (WNYTR).  The two-year, graduate level program is designed to prepare skilled teachers who are committed to teaching in Buffalo schools, especially schools with high poverty rates and few resources.

In the planning phase of WNYTR, representatives from five partner schools, seeking a pipeline of well-prepared, diverse teachers, met regularly with College administrators and faculty to discuss the design of the program and align the curriculum to eight Canisius Resident Practices, including, for example, eliciting and interpreting student thinking; supporting students across their social, emotional, and academic needs; and designing/adapting appropriate student lessons and assessments.

After spending a year planning for this program’s launch, there was deep and mutual commitment to the goals and objectives of the program moving into the resident selection process.

AACTE Seeks Social Media Engagement Intern

Desk with Social Media and Connection ConceptAre you looking to enhance your professional skills in advocating for national education policies that advance teacher preparation? AACTE is seeking a social media engagement intern to join its marketing and communications team starting this fall semester. If you enjoy keeping up with current trends, storytelling, and gathering data on member engagement and education issues, then consider applying for the remote position.

The ideal applicant for the social media engagement intern position will possess strong knowledge of the digital media landscape, including various social media sites and tools. The successful candidate will be responsible for contributing to website projects, monitoring and engaging with various blogs and social networks, engaging members in social media activities, and participating in online outreach and promotions. Those looking to gain valuable, online media experience with an established organization are encouraged to apply.

Explore New Resources at AACTE

As the fall 2020 semester begins like none other, AACTE would like to remind you of a few new additions to the member resources roster that may be of service to you as the new academic years begins in a COVID-19 world.

  • COVID-19 Resource Hub – Here you can connect with peers and access various webinars, tools, and the latest research about online and distance learning.  
  • COVID-19 Educator Preparation Policy Tracker Map – View the latest policy changes affecting your program and receive guidance on how to make any programmatic changes necessary. 
  • Virtual Reality Classrooms – Need to provide your candidates with virtual simulations to complete clinical practice requirements? Through your AACTE membership, you receive special rates to Mursion Virtual Reality Classrooms.

Additional resources that you will find useful include the following:

AACTE Tools

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