The AACTE national office team is thinking of everyone in our community during this uncertain time. While we also are experiencing the upheaval resulting from this pandemic, our primary goal is to continue to serve all of our members. To that end, AACTE is engaging in a number of efforts to support our members at this time.
To empower you to continue to access critical support and resources, AACTE is extending the membership renewal deadline to April 30, 2020. We want to ensure members remain informed as matters related to COVID-19 continue to develop.
At a time when the nation’s universities and colleges are moving to an online learning environment, AACTE is prepared to support the transition through webinars, resource sharing, and engagement. Next week, technology and online learning experts from the AACTE Innovation and Technology Committee are hosting a 90-minute webinar, Thursday, March 26 from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. The webinar is open to all AACTE members.
The How to Transition to an Online Learning Environment webinar will address transitioning to online instruction for 30 minutes, followed by a 60-minute Q&A session for members to ask questions of AACTE resident experts. Much like virtual office hours, AACTE members can access our Innovation and Technology Committee members with questions specific to their local context.
The webinar will be recorded and hosted on our resource page for members to access at any time.
AACTE Responds to COVID-19
As the United States responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, federal agencies connected to the education and care of our nation’s higher education and PK-12 students are releasing information and guidance for taking action, as well as flexibilities and waivers offered.
The U.S. Department of Education offered a phone call to K-12 stakeholder on Friday March 20, 2020, with officials from the Department, the CDC, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Department has posted a readout of the call, with links to resources on servicing students with disabilities, student loan relief, student privacy, and more.
Main Links for COVID-19 Information
U.S. Department of Education
U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service
Centers for Disease Control
AACTE Responds to COVID-19
Like most of you, I got the email from our president one afternoon last week expressing that our institution was transitioning to remote learning. Instantly, my heart dropped and a zillion thoughts started running through my head. How will I ensure my students get a good experience? What about all my interactive learning experiences? What if my student doesn’t have access to the internet? How am I going to do this?”
After a little reflection, I realized we tell our students not to panic when we assign them a task or assignment that to them seems unforeseeable (the first time they’ve written a 20-page paper or presented for 30 whole minutes). Moving to remote learning may seem unforeseeable to you. However, I urge you to take a breath. Instead of panicking or being irritated, consider an alternative perspective:
This is a chance to try something new. You can take advantage of this unique opportunity. There are dozens of online platforms that have generously offered services for free to support students and faculty during the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve been desperate to try these platforms but I have not had the time or the financial resources. Personally, I love instructional technology. The past few days I have been like a kid in a candy shop. I cannot wait to explore these pedagogical tools. Consider going back through your emails and pick one to try. Maybe it will rejuvenate you!
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.
The AACTE 2020 Annual Meeting Opening keynote speaker Robin DiAngelo, associate professor of education at the University of Washington, is widely recognized for her research in critical discourse analysis and whiteness studies. In her address, she explored how to implement strategic, intentional anti-racist actions to interrupt the system of racism in education. Her message aligns with AACTE’s core value of diversity, equity, and inclusion an integral part of AACTE’s strategic plan for 2020-23.
“The status quo of this society is racism; it is not an aberration, it’s the norm. All of our institutions effectively and efficiently reproduce racial inequality and schools are the bellies of the beast,” said DiAngelo. She noted that the concept examining the dominant culture is consistently left off the table in the conversation when discussing race issues. These discussions tend to focus on learning about other racial groups.
During her talk, she emphasized the need to decenter “whiteness” by naming it and exposing it, explaining that there is a white worldview, a white frame of reference that allowed her to move through the world from a white experience. DiAngelo shared, “Being white, I was not raised to see myself in racial terms” She reasoned that as a white person, “when we talk about race it’s about their race not mine.” She acknowledged the complexities of racism and the inability to understand every nuance. “But it’s on me to get that information, not on people of color to hand it to us.”
The national teacher shortage has required all stakeholders to take action. What do we know and what can we do? The Annual Meeting “Addressing the Teacher Shortage” Deeper Dive session brought together a panel of experts to discuss the alarming data on and present strategies to combat this epidemic. The panel consisted of AACTE consultants Jacqueline King and Jane West; Zeke Perez, policy analyst, Education Commission of the States; and AACTE board member Marquita Grenot-Scheyer from the Office of the Chancellor at the California State University System.
Jacqueline Rodriguez, vice president, program and professional learning at AACTE, served as the moderator. She began the session by providing a national overview as it relates to the teacher shortage by highlighting, “As a Nation, we have …
- A decline in enrollment in teacher preparation programs;
- Significant lack of diversity in our educators: race, ethnicity, gender, identity, disability;
- High poverty schools which experience disproportionate teacher shortages;
- Schools with high enrollment of students of color more likely to employ uncertified teachers; and
- Teacher turnover at a significant high financial cost.
AACTE Responds to COVID-19
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 is working to respond to the pandemic on multiple levels. To date seven members of Congress have announced that they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and are self-quarantining. A staff member of Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) has tested positive for the virus and Sen. Cantwell has closed her office. The U.S. Capitol has ceased public tours, both those member and staff led. The Capitol complex, including House and Senate office buildings, is restricted to official business only. Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) noted “We should encourage people to not travel here right now.” Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has declared the District a state of emergency and limited gatherings. Likewise, the Governors of Maryland and Virginia have declared states of emergency and limited gatherings.
An excerpt from this article appeared in District Administration on March 11.
Today, we live in a society where truth is decaying, falsehoods are readily shared across social media, and hatred and discrimination are on the rise. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center the number of hate groups operating in the United States hit a record high in 2018. Hate speech creates an environment in which biases and discrimination thrive and can have a detrimental impact on a school’s culture and climate. Teaching and learning about the roots of hate are important elements in fostering an inclusive classroom environment.
Teachers play an essential role in creating a more humane and tolerant world. They are stewards of culture and are in a position to protect history, promote facts and prevent inhumanity. However, to provide students with the most effective instruction, educators must have the tools to understand the nature of hate crimes and how they impact the culture and climate of schools where they teach. Additionally, they must know how to address issues of bias and discrimination in the classroom.
AACTE Responds to COVID-19
AACTE has been closely monitoring information on the coronavirus (COVID-19) and is deeply concerned about the safety and well-being of the faculty, staff, and students within Colleges of Education. AACTE stands ready to support the educator preparation community as we all cope with this global crisis.
We have received notifications that some universities are transitioning classes to an online platform while others have canceled all classes for the remaining semester to ensure the safety of their students. We realize that this will impact clinical practice requirements and other criteria teacher candidates must complete for graduation. This is indeed a challenging time.