“The three R’s alone don’t cut it anymore,” announces a report released August 28 on the 49th annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. In addition to solid academics, Americans want their schools to provide job training, more explicit focus on social-emotional skills, and “wraparound” services like health centers and afterschool programs. Respondents also want students to learn in diverse classrooms and are skeptical about vouchers and the value of standardized tests.
This year’s survey sought to learn more about last year’s discovery of a desire among the American public for schools to focus less on honors classes and more on career and technical education. The new data suggest that the public really wants both strong academics and job preparation, including classes focused on career skills, technology and engineering, and programs leading to a professional certificate or license. The less satisfied respondents are with their local schools, the more likely they are to say schools should offer more job/career skills classes.
A new policy brief from the Data Quality Campaign presents recommendations for states to support educator preparation through better sharing and use of information – not just for accountability but also for continuous improvement. The report, Using Data to Ensure That Teachers Are Learner Ready on Day One, calls attention to current data challenges faced by educator preparation providers (EPPs) and offers suggestions and examples for states to improve the situation.
“State education agencies already collect information about teachers, like their licenses, where they teach, and how much they improve student learning, but that information is not consistently shared with EPPs,” the brief states. “On the program side, EPPs are often frustrated by data collection and reporting requirements that do not help them answer important questions about their own program quality. And a lack of publicly available information on EPP outcomes means that EPPs and their stakeholders, from prospective teachers to K-12 principals, too often must spend their own limited time and resources to collect and synthesize information that could be provided by the state.”
The report, developed in partnership with AACTE and several other partner organizations, lists the following primary challenges to using data for EPP improvement:
Congratulations to Whitney Watkins, Holmes Scholar of the Month for June-July 2017! Watkins is a third-year doctoral candidate in the Higher Education and Policy Studies Ed.D. program at the University of Central Florida (UCF).
Watkins recently completed a 2-year tenure as president of the Holmes Scholars Council, marked by her heart and passion for equity and diversity. Putting forth all efforts into the Holmes Program expansion, she was excited to see the organization grow.
At UCF, Watkins teaches at least two classes a semester focusing on student leadership and development, often with a heavy focus on diversity initiatives. In addition, she serves as the adviser for two student organizations on her campus and mentors countless individual students from a variety of backgrounds, reflecting her incredible passion for college student development and leadership.
Last month, more than 150 educators and organizational leaders convened in Washington, DC, for a summit on strategies to recruit and retain a more diverse teaching workforce. Hosted by the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the “Grow Your Own: Teacher Diversity and Social Justice Summit” offered a series of presentations and panel discussions focused on efforts to recruit educators from local communities.
One panel focused on educator preparation programs and included faculty from several universities across the nation. They discussed the challenges and successes of their candidates and the particular approaches of successful grow-your-own (GYO) programs, from community-centered recruitment to unique financial incentives and other supports.
Earlier this spring, I had the privilege of attending an event at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, for the release of results from last year’s National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in music and visual arts (Nation’s Report Card – 2016 Arts). Speakers from around the country discussed results from the assessment, shared videos from various programs that incorporate art into academic study, and led a question and answer session on topics such as art’s impact on their students, skills teachers use to integrate art in other subjects, and community involvement.
The program opened with a video overview of the arts assessment, which is founded on the belief that the arts are essential to every child’s complete development, fostering growth and creativity, providing a strong foundation for a holistic education, and equipping students to navigate through work and life challenges. Overseen by the National Assessment Governing Board and based on an arts framework developed by a committee of artists, educators, and other experts, the NAEP Arts Assessment has been conducted just four times to date: in 1972 (music only) and 1975 (visual arts only), then together in 1997, 2008, and 2016. Rather than reporting on individual students’ performance, NAEP tracks performance by group – such as region, gender, race, and other categories.
As this spring’s graduates march across stages and celebrate their newly earned teaching licenses, 14 students in the College of Education at Rowan University (NJ) still have a few years of work before heading to their first teaching jobs. But as participants in Rowan’s Project Increasing Male Practitioners and Classroom Teachers (Project IMPACT), they are well on their way to not only graduating but also remedying the persistent shortage of male teachers of color.
Majoring in education fields from early childhood to music, math, science, and more, these young men from the South Jersey area receive an annual $4,000 scholarship, mentoring and study supports, and hands-on experiences in schools in exchange for their commitment to return as teachers for at least 3 years in high-need public schools. The program is designed to equip candidates with the skills and supports to persist in their high-attrition field while effectively enhancing student learning.
Today, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) released the second installment of its now-segmented Teacher Prep Review, this time grading undergraduate programs preparing secondary teachers based on a document review of their admission standards, content requirements, and field experiences.
Out of the 717 programs reviewed across the country, the new report says “adequate” content knowledge requirements are in place in approximately 81% of programs for candidates in the sciences and in 65% of social studies programs, while nearly all programs provide adequate preparation for English and math teachers. About three quarters of the evaluated programs require subject-specific methods courses, and less than half of those require student teaching in connection with that course work.
To understand more about attitudes toward professional ethics in preservice educator preparation, AACTE is collaborating with the National Council for the Advancement of Educator Ethics (NCAEE) to conduct a brief survey this spring. We invite you and your colleagues in both PK-12 and higher education to complete the survey by May 15, 2017.
This survey is intended to gather information regarding teacher educators’ beliefs about professional ethics as well as practices in educator ethics preparation across the nation. Responses will inform the future work of NCAEE, which was created following the 2015 release of the Model Code of Ethics for Educators (MCEE) by the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification.
Education Talk Radio, an online radio show airing PK-12 and higher education discussions for education professionals, hosted AACTE members last week for the first of several monthly segments that will highlight aspects of members’ teacher preparation work.
Diane Fogarty from Loyola Marymount University (CA), John Henning from Monmouth University (NJ), John Jacobson from Ball State University (IN), and AACTE’s Rod Lucero joined Larry Jacobs, host of Education Talk Radio, for the April 17 show.
The discussion centered on clinical practice models employed by these three institutions to provide teacher candidates not only strong classroom experience but also an understanding of the context of students’ local communities.
AACTE congratulates 2017 National Teacher of the Year Sydney Chaffee, who teaches 9th-grade humanities at Codman Academy Charter Public School in Boston, Massachusetts. (See AACTE’s press release issued today.)
Chaffee, who has been a teacher for a decade, earned her bachelor’s degree in women’s history and writing from Sarah Lawrence College (NY) and her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Lesley University (MA).