In the States: Addressing Students with Disabilities Services and Educator Shortage

The new “In the States” feature by Kaitlyn Brennan is a weekly update to keep members informed on state-level activities impacting the education and educator preparation community.

Office of Civil Rights Comes to Agreement with Fairfax County Public Schools (VA) Over Students with Disabilities Receiving Services

On Wednesday, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) announced they have come to an agreement with Fairfax County Public Schools after the district failed to provide thousands of students with disabilities with the services required under law during the pandemic. “I am relieved that the more than 25,000 students with disabilities in Fairfax County will now receive services federal law promises to them, even during a pandemic, to ensure their equal access to education,” Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine Lhamon said in a statement.

The OCR investigation found that during the pandemic, Fairfax County Public Schools, the largest school district in Virginia, reduced its special education instruction and “inaccurately informed staff that the school division was not required to provide compensatory education to students with disabilities who did not receive a [free appropriate public education] during the COVID-19 pandemic because the school division was not at fault.”

Member Spotlight: Lin Wu

AACTE’s Member Spotlight features an individual from a member institution, highlighting how their work makes a difference in classrooms across the country. Nominate yourself or another member by providing a response to the following questions and sending to communications@aacte.org.

Get to know Dr. Lin Wu …

Congratulations and Best Wishes to Jacqueline Rodriguez

AACTE is incredibly grateful for Jacqueline Rodriguez’s leadership over the past four years at the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE). During her tenure, she has well-positioned AACTE and I am grateful for all her vigor, determination, and colleagueship. Jackie has accepted a position as CEO of the National Center for Learning Disabilities and will leave AACTE at this month’s end. While the National Office Team and I are saddened to bid her farewell, I want to make sure to take a moment to thank her for all her service to AACTE.

Jackie joined AACTE in 2018 as the Assistant Vice President and was promoted to Vice President for Research, Policy, and Advocacy in just over two years. In this role, she has led the strategy and content development for the association’s research, programs, professional learning, state and federal policy, and advocacy initiatives. She has also represented AACTE with integrity and grace for many media interviews, helping spread AACTE’s message for advocacy in education and education preparation across the country.

TEACH Grants: Helping to Make the Profession Affordable

Recently, the U.S. Department of Education issued a reminder that TEACH Grants are available to those who are interested in pursuing a career in education. 

The TEACH Grant Program, which was created approximately 15 years ago, provides grants of up to $4,000 a year to students who are completing or plan to complete course work needed to begin a career in teaching. A TEACH Grant-eligible program is a program of study that is designed to prepare you to teach as a highly qualified teacher in a high-need field and that leads to a bachelor’s or master’s degree or is a post-baccalaureate program. A two-year program that is acceptable for full credit toward a bachelor’s degree is considered a program that leads to a bachelor’s degree.

House Judiciary Committee Request Interview with Top Department of Education Advisors

This weekly Washington Update is intended to keep members informed on Capitol Hill activities impacting the educator preparation community. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

The countdown is on for Congress to pass a fiscal year (FY) 2023 package before the 117th Congress ends at the end of this month. As you will recall, the government is currently operating on a continuing resolution. Essentially what this means is the government is operating on last fiscal year’s funding levels through December 16. At that time, a budget or another continuing resolution must pass or the government will shut down. While its widely reported that the four corners have not yet agreed on top line numbers, many believe a budget will pass before the 118th Congress begins, even if that means working up to Christmas Eve. Stay tuned!

AACTE in the Headlines: Innovation in Teacher Preparation

During the month of November, AACTE made headlines that highlighted innovation in teacher preparation programs, strategies for addressing the teacher shortage, ways to diversify the teaching profession, and censorship in schools.

AACTE has been cited in media outlets ranging from K-12 Dive to the Star-Telegram and Forbes on issues that include teacher apprenticeships, teacher preparation programs and engagement in education.

New Data: AACTE Finds College and University-Based Alternative Teacher Preparation Programs More Effectively Address Educator Shortage than Alternative Programs Outside of Higher Ed

AACTE released a new analysis focusing on alternative preparation programs run by institutions of higher education (IHE-based alternative programs). The study shows that IHE- based alternative teacher preparation programs are bringing more educators to the strained workforce than alternative programs run by organizations other than colleges and universities.

“This new analysis confirms that colleges and universities serve a critical role in preparing qualified future educators for the profession,” says AACTE President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone, Ed.D. “These IHE-based alternative-based programs are doing the critical work of addressing the teacher shortage by providing those who have already earned a bachelor’s degree with a streamlined path to becoming fully licensed teachers.”

SUNY-ESF Graduates Launch Their Science Teaching Careers Together at the School of Education

This article was originally published by Syracuse University News

Syracuse University’s relationship with its close neighbor, the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, has been a long and fruitful one. After all, SUNY-ESF was founded as a unit of SU in 1911, and today the two universities share resources, their professors collaborate, and students mingle across the two campuses, take classes together, join cross-campus organizations, and—sometimes—graduate from one college and into the other.

That last scenario is certainly the case for six SUNY-ESF graduates who, in summer 2022, enrolled in the School of Education’s (SOE) 13-month master’s degree program in science education (Grades 7-12).

Biden-Harris Administration Extends Student Loan Repayment Pause

In light of a District Court’s ruling in early November that President Biden overstepped his authority in creating a student debt relief program without congressional approval, the Administration recently announced that it would extend the repayment pause on federal student loans potentially through June 30, 2023 (the exact timing depends on any court rulings). The Biden Administration argued that this will allow the Supreme Court time to provide clarity to borrowers.

Educators as Soldiers on the Global Education Battlefield

Professional organizations with membership across the globe are serving as conduits to support and continue education for students in Ukraine during the war. Not all Ukrainian students will leave their country to find a safe haven to continue their education. With the world digital divide narrowing, a brutal pandemic forcing us globally to rethink and embrace virtual learning, and a need for creating community across the globe, we soon realized the urgency of attending to students’ needs.

AERA Releases the Handbook of Research on Teachers of Color and Indigenous Teachers

The American Educational Research Association (AERA) has released the Handbook of Research on Teachers of Color and Indigenous Teachers, edited by Conra D. Gist and Travis J. Bristol.

A first of its kind, the Handbook of Research on Teachers of Color and Indigenous Teachers addresses key issues and obstacles in ethnoracial diversity across the life course of teachers’ careers, such as recruitment and retention, professional development, and the role of minority-serving institutions.

Substitute Teaching as a Developmental Opportunity: Fellowship Program Pilot

Substitute teacher pools are a rich — and often overlooked — source of teacher candidates. In a recent survey of over 4,000 substitute teachers, nearly 30% reported that they are aspiring to become credentialed teachers. Substitute teaching is a great, low-stakes way to check out teaching. As one sub explained:

“It is a great way to get your foot into the world of teaching. You get to see how different each school is and gain great learning experience from it. It is also a nice way for you to build professional relationships with the teachers as well as students.”

Where Do the 118th Congress and Student Debt Relief Stand?

This weekly Washington Update is intended to keep members informed on Capitol Hill activities impacting the educator preparation community. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

It has been a busy week in Washington with Members returning after the mid-term elections and the new freshman class of Members arriving on the Hill for orientation. Speaker Pelosi made the momentous decision to step down from Democratic leadership. Speaker Pelosi is a historic figure, having become, at the time, the most powerful elected woman in U.S. history when she assumed the Speakership in 2007. The decision to step back from leadership paves the way for a new generation of Democrats to rise in the ranks; Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) and Caucus Vice Chairman Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) are viewed as the heirs apparent to the “big three” — House Democratic Leader, House Democratic Whip, and Democratic Caucus Chair. In remarks to her colleagues on the House floor, Speaker Pelosi recalled the first time she saw the Capitol, saying “I will never forget the first time I saw the Capitol.[…]The Capitol is a temple of our Democracy, of our Constitution, of our highest ideals[…] Indeed, American Democracy is majestic — but it is fragile.” Thank you Madam Speaker, for your years of dedicated service to the Republic.

In the States: Halting the ‘Stope-Woke’ Act, Striking for Increased Academic Pay

The new “In the States” feature by Kaitlyn Brennan is a weekly update to keep members informed on state-level activities impacting the education and educator preparation community.

Florida Judge Blocks “Stop-WOKE” Act for Colleges

A federal judge on Thursday halted a key piece of the “Stop-WOKE” Act, blocking state officials from enforcing what U.S Chief District Judge Mark Walker called a “positively dystopian” policy that restricts how lessons on race and gender can be taught in colleges and universities.

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