This op-ed article originally appeared in The State and is reprinted with permission.
I was wasting time on Twitter when I came across a post that stopped me mid-scroll. The original post posed a question: How many black male educators did you have in kindergarten through 12th grade.
One of my former students chimed in with a shocking number: 1…Coach Thorne.
That’s me; that’s who I was. I taught social studies at Blythewood High School for 11 years and was an assistant football coach.
At first glance, the number 1 seems to be an indictment and a referendum on what we in education circles have known forever—we need more black men in the classroom. But upon further inspection, with a little critical analysis, I believe there is power in one.
Statistics tell us that having just one African American teacher in elementary school reduces drop-out rates among black boys by nearly 40% and increases their recognition as gifted students.
But stats don’t tell the story.
The need to diversify the teaching workforce is well documented (Darling-Hammond, 2010). Student demographics across the United States have significantly changed in the last 20 years, with particular increases in bilingual and Hispanic student populations (Aud, Hussar, Kena, Bianco, Frohlich, Kemp, &Tahan, 2011). However, the teaching workforce has not reflected the shift in student demographics, and a growing gap has emerged between the racial and ethnic backgrounds of students and teachers. Because community colleges serve a high percentage of diverse students, a community college pathway into teaching represents a promising approach for increasing the diversity of the teaching workforce.
The University of Northern Colorado (UNC) holds a long-standing tradition of developing its future teachers as leaders in the community. Since 1889, the school has taken pride in its commitment to teacher excellence. However, never content to settle, the faculty and staff that constitute UNC’s School of Teacher Education (STE) continue to encourage the next generation of teachers to blaze their own trails and inspire change in their communities.
In addition to delivering the widest array of licensure programs in Colorado to meet the state and national needs, STE at UNC offers specialized licensure and endorsement opportunities within its diversity framework. Programs such as the Cumbres Teacher Preparation Program—an inclusive learning community that has served students at UNC since 1997—and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) endorsements urge teachers to utilize culturally responsive curriculum in the classroom.
Aldo Romero, the director of Cumbres, says the Cumbres program “is a co-curricular, student support services and scholarship program. Over the last two decades, Cumbres has evolved to become a comprehensive program designed to support education majors who want to be English as a Second Language teachers (ESL). The program is grounded in four high impact educational practices: living community, learning community, mentorship, and leadership development.” He also says that Cumbres educators are constantly “acquiring new knowledge and skills to support their development to become not only excellent teachers but also exceptional leaders in K-12 settings.”
During the month of October, AACTE has addressed the importance of school safety in its recent Thought Leadership series. AACTE Dean in Residence Leslie T. Fenwick took time to share in this video how she led a new approach at Howard University to prepare teacher candidates for ensuring safe learning environments in classrooms. In 2010, Howard’s College of Education innovated its undergraduate elementary education program by focusing on ways to better meet the safety needs of local students in its Washington D.C. community.
To evaluate the impact of the new program, “Teacher Talks” were convened with faculty members and novice teachers who were recent graduates of Howard’s College of Education. The graduates shared case studies about their students during the meetings and stories about how many of their children were exposed to violence either in their home or community, oftentimes with a relative being shot. The graduates also reported that their training in human development, with an asset lens, and the knowledge base they received from courses outside of the college of education helped them to reach their students individually as a teacher or connect them to resources in their community.
AACTE is excited to partner with the Educator Preparation Laboratory (EdPrepLab), an initiative of the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) and Bank Street College of Education, to bring a series of webinars to members. Educator preparation programs across the country can access AACTE and EdPrepLab resources to support their teaching, research, and policy in higher education.
In this series of webinars, our members will hear from member institutions, stakeholders, scholars, practitioners, and policymakers as presenters dive into topics that will include addressing social emotional learning, cultural competence, creating inclusive classroom and school environments, and teacher residency models.
We hope you will register for our first webinar on Social and Emotional Learning, Cultural Competence, and Equity in Teacher Preparation that will take place on November 14 at 3:00 p.m ET. The panel of experts include:
This blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide update information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.
Funding Bills Move in the Senate, but Not for Education
November 21, less than a month away, is the date the government runs out of money. The ball is in the Senate court, as they have yet to pass any appropriations bills on the floor. Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) has teed up passage of the first package of funding bills, which Democrats have said they will support. But that package does not include education spending, which is in the Labor/HHS/Education appropriations bill.
Registration is open for the AACTE member exclusive October 2019 Federal Update webinars. AACTE offers these webinars to you on two different days of the week and at two different times to accommodate members’ teaching schedules and time zones.
Even though one might expect activities to slow down in Washington as the year begins to wind down, plenty is happening that impacts the profession. On October 15, Chairman Scott (D-VA) of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor revealed his proposal for reauthorizing the Higher Education Act. What does it look like for educator preparation? Will Chairman Alexander (R-TN) move his bill through the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions? And not to be forgotten is the appropriations process—as the Congress heads toward a November 21 deadline for funding the federal government, what is the outlook? Will there be another short-term Continuing Resolution (CR), or could we see even a year-long CR? Could a government shutdown happen? This webinar will cover these topics, as well as the advocacy steps that you can take to engage in the process, and there will be a Q & A session for you to get your answers to your questions. Register today!
Tuesday, October 29, 2019, 5:00-6:00 p.m. EDT: Register now.
Wednesday, October 30, 2019 11:00 am-12:00 noon EDT: Register now
Join AACTE for a webinar, Teacher to Principal: Educational Leadership Tracking Systems, which will take a closer look at the leader tracking systems created as part of the Wallace Foundation’s Principal Pipeline Initiative. Nicholas Pelzer, program officer from the Wallace Foundation will provide an overview on how the leader tracking systems were developed. Leslie Anderson, managing director of Policy Studies Associates and Tricia McManus, assistant superintendent of leadership, professional development, and school transformation, Hillsborough County Public Schools, will share their perspectives and experiences on how data-driven decision making can inform the recruitment, preparation, and placement of principals.
Please register and attend this webinar on November 6 at 1:00 p.m. to consider how leader tracking systems can strengthen both teacher and leadership pipelines through partnerships with local school districts.
The U.S. Department of Education has awarded the Southern Regional Education Board a $5.3 million, 5-year Teacher Quality Partnership grant to create a residency-based teacher preparation program with Georgia College & State University.
The Georgia Residency for Educating Amazing Teachers will recruit undergraduate STEM majors who aspire to become middle grades math and science teachers. They will complete an online Master of Arts in Teaching during a year-long residency—practice teaching supervised by a mentor-teacher— in a high-needs middle grades classroom.
Rural school districts served by the Oconee Regional Education Service Agency in central Georgia will be the primary partners for hosting the residents in classrooms. SREB and Georgia College will support mentor-teachers and residents with coaching and specialized training on topics like project-based learning.
Over the course of the grant, 60 students will become fully certified to teach middle grades math or science in Georgia; some will also complete a computer science endorsement.
The newly certified teachers will then teach in a local school for two years with support from mentor-teachers and SREB instructional coaches. Participants agree to teach in their assigned schools for one year beyond this two-year induction period.
This article and photo originally appeared Teachers College, Columbia University website and are reprinted with permission.
Teachers College, Columbia University has won a third round of federal funding for TR@TC, its 18-month teaching residency program. The College has received a Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grant of $468,438 from the U.S. Department of Education for the coming year, with a projected total grant of $5,985,870 over the next five years contingent on continued federal funding and the ongoing success of the program.
The grant will fund 15 new residents this coming year, and 20 new residents annually for each of the next three years. Under the terms of the grant, Teachers College also will match the TQP funding.
The newest iteration of the program, TR@TC3 exponentially strengthens an already cutting-edge emphasis on simultaneously preparing teachers in specific content areas and to serve special education students and those who are English language learners.