Looking Back and Moving Forward: Journey through AACTE’s History

This month, AACTE begins its 76th year by looking back and moving forward. In February 1948, AACTE held its founding meeting in Atlantic City, NJ, and adopted its constitution and bylaws. AACTE invites you to take a journey from then until now, with the “75 Years Leading a Profession” digital timeline.

Over the course of the last three-quarters of a century, the Association experienced “The Start of Something Big” and through the decades, it reshaped teacher preparation, became a driving influence in the field, navigated turbulence and shifts in the landscape, and so much more. These key moments —critical decisions, collaborations, and initiatives — are documented in the timeline with historical photos, notable quotes, significant publications, and important “did you know?” facts.

AACTE Celebrates Public Schools Week 2024 

AACTE is joining with the Learning First Alliance and partners nationwide to celebrate educators, students, and school communities during Public Schools Week 2024.  

This year’s week of events takes place from February 26 to March 1, 2024. Throughout the week — families, educators, and community members are encouraged to highlight the amazing things happening in their local public schools while expressing their support and advocacy for public education and all the benefits it provides children and families alike.  

“Public schools not only educate the minds of our future leaders but nurture the values of community, citizenship, and democracy that cultivate a society where every individual has the chance to thrive and contribute,” said AACTE President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone, Ed.D. “AACTE extends a happy Public Schools Week to our educator workforce that stands as pillars for the students who will one day become exemplary American citizens.” 

New Data Available in AACTE Research, Reports, and Briefs

Data Shows Positive Trends in Teacher Preparation

Since 2018, I have documented key trends in educator preparation in a series of reports for AACTE. Members can access these reports at aacte.org/resources/research-reports-and-briefs.

In these reports, I’ve shared a lot of negative information about declining participation in educator preparation during the 2010s.  So, when the U.S. Department released new data on the 2020-21 and 2021-22 academic years — the height of the COVID pandemic — I held my breath. 

I am so pleased to report that — in two new data updates released at the AACTE Annual Meeting last week — I have good news to share about several key indicators including the following: 

  • Enrollment in IHE-based teacher preparation programs leading to initial licensure 
  • Completions of these teacher preparation programs  
  • Degrees and certificates awarded in the field of education 

Mississippi Ed Department Releases 2023-24 Educator Shortage Survey Results 

Results from the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) 2023-24 Educator Shortage survey show there are 5,012 vacancies among teachers, administrators, and school support staff across the state, an increase of 24 compared to the 2022-23 school year. 

The survey was conducted by MDE’s Office of Teaching and Leading from August 4 – November 15, 2023 and had 100% voluntary participation from school districts. There were 5,503 vacancies reported in 2021-22 and 4,988 in 2022-23. 

Compared to last year, vacancies increased by 182 among teachers, by nine among K-12 licensed educators (library/media, counselors, and speech-language positions), and by 25 among administrators (principals and assistant principals). However, vacancies decreased by 192 among K-12 support staff such as teacher assistants, nurses, custodians, bus drivers, food service staff, and administrative assistants. 

U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights Releases New Resources on Students with Disabilities 

The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released four new resources today with information for students, parents and families, and schools addressing the civil rights of students with disabilities, as well as a data snapshot about education access for students with disabilities drawn from OCR’s 2020-21 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC). 

OCR issued these new resources to inform students with disabilities, and their families and schools, about their legal rights under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Section 504 prohibits discrimination against students with disabilities by institutions that accept federal financial assistance, which includes almost all public schools and public and private institutions of higher education. 

“We issued these new resources to give students, including those with asthma, diabetes, food allergies, and GERD, as well as their families and schools, important tools to understand when and how they are protected by federal disability rights laws,” said Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon. 

Competency-Based Education & Teacher Education: Next Steps

An #AACTE24 Session Recap and Reflection

Attending the AACTE 2024 Annual Meeting Featured Session, “Competency-Based Education & Teacher Education: Next Steps” provided invaluable insights into reimagining traditional higher education models. The presenters compellingly reasoned how competency-based programs can bolster equity and accessibility by offering flexible, personalized pathways for a diverse range of learners (Patrick, 2021). Key highlights included the backward design process for developing competency-based curricula and the significance of authentic, performance-based assessments.

The session underscored how competency-based education fundamentally shifts the focus to actual student learning and the application of knowledge. As discussed, students progress by demonstrating mastery of real-world teaching competencies, rather than by accumulating seat time or credits (Klein, 2013). This mastery-based approach accommodates individual pacing and learning needs, thereby making teacher licensure more attainable for non-traditional students.

Celebrating Milestones in Education: A Look into the Latest Edition of the Journal of Teacher Education

As the realm of education continues to evolve, it is essential to pause and reflect on the milestones that have shaped the landscape of teaching and learning. The newest edition of Journal of Teacher Education (JTE 75.1) offers a profound opportunity to do just that.

At the forefront of this edition is an editorial penned by AACTE President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone, Ed.D., and AACTE Dean in Residence Leslie T. Fenwick, Ph.D.

AACTE Launches Inspiring Brand Refresh at 2024 Annual Meeting

AACTE (American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education) unveiled a transformative brand refresh at its 2024 Annual Meeting in Aurora/Denver, Colo., on Feb. 16. The comprehensive update signifies a new era in educator preparation, and Phase I of AACTE’s rebranding. With a modernized logo and an inspiring tagline, AACTE reinforces its position as the leading voice in educator preparation and its charge to stay at the forefront of progressing the field.

The new logo stands as the centerpiece of AACTE’s brand refresh, a symbol of the organization’s vision for educator preparation and its role in shaping the future of education. Moving from the old logo to this new design, AACTE signifies a journey towards what’s possible — for the Association, for educator preparation, and importantly, for each student and educator in the nation’s—and world’s—classrooms.

Grenot-Scheyer of California State University Assumes Role as AACTE Board Chair

AACTE (American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education) welcomes Marquita Grenot-Scheyer, Ph.D., into her role as the 2024-25 chair of the AACTE Board of Directors.

For the next year, Grenot-Scheyer will serve alongside AACTE President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone, Ed.D., in supporting education advocacy and innovation, strategic priorities of AACTE.

“Accepting the role of chair of the board of directors at AACTE is not merely an honor; it is a commitment to championing excellence in educator preparation,” Grenot-Scheyer said. “My goal is to navigate the currents of change with grace, to amplify educator voices, and to support our work towards a future where every educator is empowered to support student success and be an agent for positive change in the lives of our nation’s PK-12 students.”

U.S. Department of Education Releases 2023 Update to Equity Action Plan, Outlines New Commitments to Advance Equity 

The U.S. Department of Education(Department) released its 2023 Update to its Equity Action Plan, in coordination with the Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government equity agenda. This Equity Action Plan is part of the Department’s efforts to implement the president’s executive order on “Further Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through The Federal Government,” which reaffirmed the Administration’s commitment to deliver equity and build an America in which all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential.   

The Department believes that our nation’s future is brighter when we provide every student and every community with equitable access to an academically rigorous, well-rounded education in a safe and inclusive school. We are answering President Biden’s call to prioritize equity across government by working intentionally to ensure our policies, grants, and programs address longstanding disparities in education still faced by underserved students, families, and communities. 

AACTE’s NY State Affiliate Spotlights Student Voices for a Diversified Teacher Workforce in Upcoming Webinar

The robust support from AACTE’s state affiliates bolsters our unified advocacy endeavors, fostering the exchange of invaluable experience and expertise. In addition, it opens doors to diverse professional development opportunities for our members. With great enthusiasm, we are delighted to announce an upcoming development opportunity, accessible to all, presented by our New York Chapter.

The New York Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (NYACTE) will host a webinar on February 28, 2024, to highlight student perspectives regarding the current status of education and the racial diversity gap among teachers in New York. Students enrolled in educator preparation programs in New York, as well as those associated with the My Brother’s Keeper Teacher Opportunity Corps (TOC II) and AACTE Holmes Masters programs, will impart their perspectives and personal experiences with the current state of education. You will also develop an awareness and admiration for the importance of programs like TOC II and Holmes in helping to eliminate obstacles to workforce diversity.

Register for this webinar online.

 

 

Empowering Nevada Educators: The Impact of the Nevada STEM Co-Lab Project 

As more Nevada teachers join the workforce to shape and educate the youth in the state, and as technology continues to advance, it is important to build confidence in educators who teach STEM. Enter the Nevada STEM Co-Lab Project. 

A collaborative partnership between the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) College of Education and Center for Mathematics, Science, and Engineering; the Desert Research Institute (DRI); and the National Institute for the Advancement of Education — the Nevada STEM Co-Lab project aims to bridge formal and informal education in Nevada communities by providing access to curriculum-centered STEM activities and training for educators. 

“This project has been a nice collaboration between UNLV and DRI. It was a successful partnership and is paving the way for additional proposals and ongoing collaboration,” said Hasan Deniz, a science education professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning. 

The project comes from a congressionally directed STEM grant with three important parts. “The overall grant was to support the development of the STEM Co-Lab, or the technology learning space in our Las Vegas DRI campus, as well as the development of 16 new Green Boxes covering kindergarten through fifth grade,” said Emily McDonald-Williams, STEM Education program manager for DRI.  

Pre- and In-service Teacher and Administrator AI Survey

Amidst the growing interest in artificial intelligence (AI) tools like ChatGPT, it is essential to understand how P-12 and post-secondary students, teachers, and school administrators perceive and utilize these technologies (ISTE, 2023). A July 2023 survey indicated that a majority of students, parents, and teachers viewed AI tools favorably (Impact Research, 2023b). However, the specific ways in which students engage with AI tools and their perceptions remain underexplored. 

To address this gap, Saginaw Valley State University has developed surveys to collect undergraduate pre-service teachers, graduate in-service teachers, and school administrators’ perceptions and experiences with AI tools. The surveys were modeled after and will be compared to a similar survey of students in grades 10 through 12 (Schiel, Bobek, & Schnieders, 2023). The surveys delve into various aspects of AI in education, including usage patterns, the impact of AI tools on creativity and academic performance, and attitudes toward their integration into the school environment. By gathering insights directly from educator preparation program (EPP) students, we aim to better support their educational journey and inform educational practices.

U.S. Department of Education Deploys Federal Personnel, Funding, and Resources to Support Colleges, Students, and Families with Better FAFSA®

The U.S. Department of Education (Department) today released a FAFSA College Support Strategy to provide additional personnel, funding, resources, and technology to help schools and students complete the better FAFSA form and to help colleges prepare to process student records as quickly and accurately as possible. The Department’s top priority is to ensure students can access the maximum financial aid possible to help them pursue their higher education goals and bring college within reach for more Americans. Since the new 2024–25 FAFSA form became available on December 30, more than 3.6 million forms have been successfully submitted. 

The Department’s FAFSA College Support Strategy includes the following: 

  • Deploying federal personnel and expertise to help colleges prepare and process financial aid forms 
  • Directing funding for technical assistance and support for under-resourced colleges 
  • Releasing tools to help colleges prepare to quickly and accurately process student records and deliver financial aid packages 

Unveiling the Power of ATLAS at #AACTE24

Get ready to embark on a journey that will transform how you approach teacher preparation. The upcoming AACTE 2024 Annual Meeting is set to feature a hands-on exploration of ATLAS, an online video library by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. In this AACTE Learning Lab, participants will uncover the multitude of ways ATLAS is being utilized by educator preparation programs (EPPs) to enhance teacher candidates’ exposure to effective teaching and cultivate their reflective abilities.