A Critical Dialogue on Educators’ Return to School: Prospects for Strengthening Professional Practice

Education has undergone significant transformations. This is evident when we consider the revisionist account of American history regarding slavery and the adjustments to the curriculum in Florida as an illustration. These changes motivated by ideological incoherence threaten to test educators’ professional fortitude regarding reactions to curricular challenges, book bans, and the discursive molding of parent engagement in education. For this reason, we focus our discussion on conceptualizations of remaining professionally vigilant. That is to say, although the field of education has been subjected to some of the most devastating assaults, we consider these dynamics for review: Asserting our unwavering determination to preeminence in the domain of education, questioning the harmful ideas about curriculum, and building the next generation of educational leaders.

Oklahoma Residents File Lawsuit to Block State-Funded Religious School

The “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.

On Monday, a group of Oklahoma residents filed a lawsuit in an effort to block the state from funding America’s first public religious charter school. The group of residents are comprised of parent and faith-based leaders who are backed by several organizations, including Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the American Civil Liberties Union, Education Law Center, and Freedom From Religion Foundation. The group is asking a state judge to block St. Isidore from operating as a charter school, stop a state charter school board from entering into or implementing any contracts with the school, and also halt the state from funding the school. The lawsuit names the school, members of the Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter Board, the Oklahoma State Education Department, and Superintendent Ryan Walters as defendants.

AACTE Joins Education, Labor Departments in Release of National Guideline Standards for Teaching Apprenticeships

AACTE President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone, Ed.D., CAE, represented the association alongside state and national leaders to unveil the National Guideline Standards (NGS) for K-12 Teaching Apprenticeships released today at a briefing hosted by the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Labor.

Federal, state, and local workforce and education leaders gathered to set a benchmark for high-quality teaching apprenticeship programs in August 2022. This initiative, launched by First Lady Dr. Jill Biden at the White House in collaboration with the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor, tasked leaders to develop comprehensive guidelines for high-quality educator apprenticeships. One year later, at today’s event, the Department of Labor announced the approval of the NGS, the culmination of an effort led by the Pathways Alliance through a working group co-chaired by Jacqueline King, Ph.D., of AACTE and representatives from Deans for Impact and National Center for Grow Your Own. These guidelines are a framework for states creating a registered apprenticeship program for K-12 teachers, outlining the requirements and responsibilities apprenticeship programs must fulfill.

Senate Appropriations Committee Approves Labor-HHS-Education Spending Bill

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.

By the time this update makes it to your inbox, Members of Congress will be on their way out of Washington, DC for August recess. The Senate leaves town having approved all 12 of their FY2024 appropriations bills on a bipartisan basis. The House Committee has approved 10 bills with only Republican support and has not yet considered its Labor-HHS-Education or Commerce-Justice-Science bills. When Congress returns in September, the House will only be in session for three weeks, while the Senate will be in session for four weeks before the end of the fiscal year. This will be a critical time for advocacy efforts as many suspect we may be heading towards either an October 1 government shut down or a full year continuing resolution.

College of Education to Use Grant Award to Offer Free Tuition for Career Changers Pursuing Teaching Degrees

This article was originally published by Clemson News.

The College of Education will use a grant award from the South Carolina Department of Education to cover all tuition and associated costs for 36 career changers pursuing a master’s degree in teaching from Clemson University. The College’s “Grow Your Own” program works with partner school districts to secure paid employment for students as educational assistants while they complete their degree entirely online.

The Department of Education’s South Carolina Grow Your Own (SC GYO) program addresses the need to increase the teacher workforce in communities throughout the state. The Department of Education created the program to partner colleges and universities with school districts to help aspiring teachers pursue degrees in education.

According to Michelle Cook, associate dean for undergraduate studies in the College of Education, the program will prioritize placing Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) students in programs that address the highest needs across the state, such as middle-level and secondary math and science teaching positions. She said hiring professionals already working as assistants in schools – or those from other industries with a strong desire to become teachers in home districts – naturally creates a motivated group of graduate students.

New Summer Academy Will Nurture the “Genius, Joy, and Love” of Future Black Educators

This article was originally published by the University of Pittsburgh College of Education.

Students from Pittsburgh Public Schools will benefit from the new initiative

The University of Pittsburgh School of Education is launching a paid summer academy for high school seniors as part of a new initiative to bring more Black teachers to Pittsburgh Public Schools. The academy will complement The Pittsburgh Promise’s Advancing Educators of Color (AEC) Scholarship, which seeks to add 35 Black educators to the district over seven years. 

“The importance of Black educators cannot be overstated,” says Valerie Kinloch, Professor and Renée and Richard Goldman Endowed Dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Education. “However, statewide, Black educators comprise less than 4% of the teacher population in K-12 public and charter schools. Our new summer academy program will ensure that our students not only get to college but are supported along the way.”

Florida Organizations Oppose State’s Efforts to Rewrite History of the Black Experience

The “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.

Last week, education officials in Florida approved new standards for teaching African American history. The standards are being considered by many as an effort to “purposefully omit or rewrite key historical facts about the Black experience.” Embedded within the standards is instruction on “how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit” and lessons that touch on acts of violence perpetrated “against and by” African Americans. Additionally, Black history lessons for younger students require students to only recognize Black investors and artists. A Florida teacher who expressed concerns surrounding students only having to recognize such individuals saying, “As a teacher, we focus on the verb in the standards, and these are the lowest level of cognitive rigor.”

The Florida Education Association submitted a letter in opposition of the standards to the Florida Board of Education, saying in part:

“Today — in the year 2023, we stand as a diverse coalition demanding you adhere to the law and adopt standards that require the instruction of history, culture, experiences, and contributions of African Americans in the state’s K-12 curriculum as directed in FS 1003.42. We owe the next generation of scholars the opportunity to know the full unvarnished history of this state and country and all who contributed to it — good and bad.”

The new standards are backed unanimously by the state Board of Education and encompass the “anti-woke” policies touted by Republican Governor and Presidential Candidate Ron Desantis.

Submit an Annual Meeting Proposal by August 4

As the deadline for 2024 Annual Meeting proposals approaches, AACTE invites diverse voices from both the higher education and PK-12 communities to submit a proposal for consideration in the 2024 Annual Meeting program. AACTE strongly encourages doctoral students pursuing an Ed.D. or Ph.D. to share their perspective on addressing current issues and providing innovative ways to approach that which has yet to be considered in educator preparation.

Individuals from all educational fields are invited to bring their research and practice to the Annual Meeting that aligns with this year’s theme: Ascending New Height: Propelling the Profession into the Future. 

Holmes Program Receives Funding to Support Future Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education Faculty and Leaders

AACTE is excited to announce a new partnership with the Early Childhood Intervention Personnel Center on Equity (ECIPCE), a national center federally funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs to assist states in building comprehensive systems of personnel development to improve outcomes for infants and young children with disabilities and their families. ECIPCE has awarded AACTE a 5-year sub-award to support a cohort of 12 Holmes Scholars pursuing doctorates in early childhood and early childhood special education.

More early childhood leaders and practitioners with the requisite skills and knowledge are required to meet the needs of children aged birth – 5 years old.  This partnership will directly address this issue, in part, by providing targeted mentorship, professional development, and financial support to doctoral students of color pursuing a Ph.D. or an Ed.D. in early childhood and early childhood special education.

Democrats Oppose the FY2024 Labor HHS-Education Bill

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.

There is a flurry of activity on Capitol Hill as Members race towards the August recess. This week, Democrats in the House pushed back on the House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee’s proposed draconian cuts to education funding. Your voices and advocacy efforts are needed more now perhaps than ever before.

Democrats Hold a Virtual Press Conference Opposing the FY2024 Labor HHS- Education Bill

On Friday, Democrats issued a press release and held a virtual press conference opposing the FY2024 Labor HHS- Education Bill. As you will recall, the bill puts forth an overall cut to the Department of Education of $22.1 billion or a 28% decrease compared to the current FY2023 enacted levels. The bill also seeks to use policy riders as a means to block a number of Biden Administration proposals surrounding education and student debt relief.

Kaine and Collins Introduce Bill to Address Teacher and Principal Shortages

U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Susan Collins (R-ME), members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, reintroduced the Preparing and Retaining Education Professionals (PREP) Act, bipartisan legislation to address teacher and principal shortages, particularly in rural communities, and increase teacher diversity. This legislation would help ensure that there are enough teachers and principals with the right skills and tools to prepare students for the future.

“Our nation’s educators are critical to ensuring students’ success, which is why I’m committed to finding solutions to address teacher and principal shortages in Virginia and across the country,” said Kaine. “I’m proud to reintroduce this bipartisan bill to expand teacher training programs and help boost diversity among the teacher workforce.”

“Teacher and principal shortages at schools across the country, particularly in rural areas in the State of Maine, impede our students’ ability to reach their full potential,” said Collins. “This bipartisan bill would increase access to high-quality teacher and leader training programs and extend federal support for recruiting well-prepared educators for areas affected by teacher shortages.”

Georgia Power Foundation Grant to UNG Boosts Teacher Prep

The Georgia Power Foundation Inc. has awarded UNG a $100,000 grant for its partnerships with the Hall County and Gainesville school systems to grow and diversify the teacher pipeline. Glennis Barnes, Gainesville area manager for Georgia Power, presented the check to Lauren Johnson, assistant dean of UNG’s College of Education; Sheri Hardee, dean of the College of Education; Steven Smith, vice president of regional campuses; and some of UNG’s College of Education students.

The University of North Georgia’s (UNG) Grow-Your-Own partnerships with Hall County Schools and Gainesville City Schools to expand and diversify the teacher pipeline have received a sizable infusion of funding to support these future educators.

The grant was funded by the Georgia Power Foundation’s Teachers for Georgia signature program — a program established to recruit and retain more male educators of color throughout Georgia.

“Georgia Power Foundation’s investment will ensure that students will have the necessary tools at their disposal to successfully complete their degree in education through the Grow-Your-Own program,” Glennis Barnes, Gainesville area manager for Georgia Power, said. “Since the launch of Teachers for Georgia in 2020, the Foundation has invested over $1 million to support programs and educational institutions working toward this cause here in North Georgia and across the state.”

The Realizing Inspiring and Successful Educators Undergraduate Program (RISE UP) launched in Fall 2017 with Hall County Schools supports heritage Spanish-speaking graduates of Hall high schools through UNG’s teacher education programs. The school district covers students’ tuition, fees, and assessment costs while UNG provides participants targeted advising and opportunities for peer support. Students serve as paraprofessionals within the school district while they are students at UNG and have a teaching job upon graduation.

AACTE Provides Washington Week Attendees with Resources to Stay Engaged with Policymakers

On behalf of AACTE, I wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude to those who attended the recent policy and advocacy event in Washington, D.C. Your presence and active participation made it a resounding success, and I’m thrilled that we had the opportunity to discuss and advocate for programs that strengthen and expand the education workforce.  Additionally, please take a moment to watch the brief video from AACTE’s President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone. She encourages us to stay connected so that we can remain active and engaged in the work of advocating for educator preparation.

AACTE Co-Hosts Congressional Briefing on Educator Preparation

TheStrengthening Educator Preparation: Addressing Needs and Exploring Innovative Solutions” congressional briefing organized by AACTE, University of Northern Iowa (UNI), and American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), took place today, Tuesday, July 18, on Capitol Hill. The briefing brought together a group of university presidents and deans, all AACTE members, from around the country for a candid conversation on issues impacting educator preparation and innovative solutions. 

The issue summary provided to briefing participants stated, “the educational profession is in crisis.” The summary outlined the following four legislative actions necessary to address the crisis:

  1. Removing financial barriers to entering the education profession
  2. Updating and expanding the Teacher Quality Partnership Grant Program
  3. Reauthorizing the Augustus F. Hawkins Centers of Excellence Program
  4. Increasing Capacity of Educator Preparation Programs

Last Call: Apply to Become a Reviewer by July 21

AACTE invites you to step into a more influential role and help shape the content at the 2024 Annual Meeting. The deadline is fast approaching. Apply to be a reviewer by July 21. 

By becoming a reviewer of Annual Meeting proposals in this highly selective process, your service to the field will be celebrated and shared with peers and educational leaders.

  • Sharpen your skills: Stay at the forefront of educational innovation and enhance the quality of your writing, teaching, and research.
  • Bolster your portfolio: Acquire service to enhance your assessment for tenure and promotion by demonstrating your commitment to advancing the field.
  • Increase your influence: Receive a certificate of appreciation, highlighting your expertise and dedication to the field.

Service as a reviewer of Annual Meeting proposals is open to doctoral students and faculty.  And don’t forget, you can still submit an Annual Meeting proposal, even while serving as a reviewer.

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