This blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide updated information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.
Educators Step Up for Racial Justice
Educators are responding to the killing of George Floyd and the racism it highlights by stepping up with a variety of initiatives and a renewed sense of urgency. Both the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Public Schools have cut their ties with the Minneapolis Police Department.
The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is urging school leaders to address racial disparities in discipline policies and the use of resource officers in response to the George Floyd killing and subsequent events.
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and 400 other organizations, including both teachers’ unions, issued a letter calling on Congress to pass police reform legislation. They urge changes in areas including the use of force, policy accountability, racial profiling, militarization, data collection, and training.
The following article is an excerpt from the Rowan University Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion blog and is reprinted with permission.
For the past 2 months our country has been in the grips of a pandemic that has challenged us in unimaginable ways and revealed our strength and courage in the face of fear. Unfortunately, during a time when we should be united against a common enemy, COVID-19, racism and xenophobia has become the cure for some who are inflicted with an irrational hatred and fear of people of color. Let’s not forget we were introduced to this pandemic as the “Chinese Virus” and the result was an onslaught of hate speech directed towards Asians and Asian Americans. We are not ok.
It is difficult for Black Americans to forget the legacy of the enslavement of Black bodies for economic consumption, Jim Crow, the civil rights movement and mass incarceration lives on. How does one talk about systemic racism and the oppression of people of color without acknowledging and understanding the current conditions that ensure our country remains divided by race. The election of a Black president was believed to be an indication of how far we’ve come as a country and we even heard that we were living in a post-racial country. Yet, the stories of police brutality, racial violence, and discrimination directed at Black Americans continued. We are not ok.
On behalf of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) Board of Directors, Chair Ann Larson issued the following statement today on race matters in America:
“AACTE leaders are compelled to voice our dissent of the recent, tragic events that have resulted in the horrendous murders of Black Americans. The unjust deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and many others represent incendiary racism that has deep, historic roots in our society. This profound moment in time has brought despair not only to the Black American community, but also to innumerable individuals, families, and communities representing legions of cultures and ethnicities throughout the country and the world. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.’
It is imperative that educators embrace their responsibility as front line workers in dismantling structural racism within the American education system. Schools play a critical role in educating students about citizenship and societal values, which have long perpetuated the cycle of racial injustice. Educators must be change agents for reversing the miseducation of white people about black and brown people, and for promoting racial equity. There is a critical need for well-prepared, culturally responsive teachers who can educate and guide learners to value the lives of all human beings and hold others accountable in practicing justice, ensuring equitable access, promoting and assuring diversity, fostering inclusive policies and practices in all aspects of our society, and offering hope and optimism to all children.
AACTE is happy to announce the newest additions to its staff: Jacqueline Cantow, program coordinator, programs and professional learning; Katrina Norfleet, content strategist; Nicole Dunn, assistant director, programs and professional learning; and Weade James, director of development and research.
Jackie Cantow is an experienced program coordinator with a demonstrated history of working in education and fundraising. Prior to joining AACTE, she worked with The AnBryce Foundation and Brandeis University. She holds a degree in political science and sociology from the George Washington University.
Cantow’s vision for AACTE is to advance the core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. She will assist the Black and Hispanic/Latino Male Teachers Initiative Networked Improvement Community to increase the presence of these individuals within the field of education. One of her goals is to highlight the innovative work of this demographic and help promote best practices for recruiting and retaining these diverse teachers in the education community. She will also assist with the Special Education Networked Improvement Community to advance its research goals. Cantow joined AACTE in May 2020.
On behalf of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone issued the following statement today responding to the killing of George Floyd and systemic racism:
“AACTE acknowledges an insidious threat to the foundation of American democracy—institutional and structural racism. The construct of racism in our country is rooted in the historical, systemic abuse of power, based upon white supremist ideologies, and resulting in white privilege. Racism has long been entrenched in American institutions and policies that reinforce an unjust and disparate allocation of rights and resources to white people, while disallowing them to Black and other people of color—including our institutions of learning.
AACTE is outraged over the recent videos of Amy Cooper weaponizing the police against Chris Cooper in New York City’s Central Park, George Floyd’s murder by a Minneapolis police officer, and the hunting and killing of Ahmaud Aubery by men with ties to their local Georgia police department, as well as the murder of Breonna Taylor by police while sleeping in her home. The latter events represent only a few of the string of killings of Black citizens at the hands of white perpetrators and law enforcement. In each case, the victims were unarmed. In each case, the Black community was forced to mobilize, call out the racist crime, and demand justice that has yet to be realized.
Check out a recent JTE Insider podcast by the Journal of Teacher Education (JTE) editorial team. This blog is available to the public, and AACTE members have free access to the articles in the JTE online archives—just log in with your AACTE profile.
In this edition of JTE Insider, we are joined by Loraine McKay and Heather Manning from Griffith University (Australia). They are the authors of the article entitled “Do I Belong in the Profession? The Cost of Fitting In As a Preservice Teacher With a Passion for Social Justice” The article is published in the September/October 2019 issue of JTE.
Loraine McKay is a senior lecturer at Griffith University. She teaches into the Bachelor of Education program. She is currently first year coordinator in the Bachelor of Education program and professional experience individual case coordinator. McKay’s research interests align strongly with her passion for teaching. She was a classroom teacher for over 20 years in the primary education sector before leaving teaching to complete her doctoral studies. Her current research centers on developing teacher identity, efficacy, and resilience in preservice teachers. Loraine is particularly interested in preparing teachers to work in inclusive classrooms. She uses collage and photo elicitation to explore the affective dimension of teaching and engagement in learning.
AACTE DEI Video: A Focus on Gender Equity in Education
Ed Prep Matters features the “Revolutionizing Education” column to spotlight the many ways AACTE, member institutions, and partners are pioneering leading-edge research, models, strategies and programs that focus on the three core values outlined in the current AACTE strategic plan: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Quality and Impact; and Inquiry and Innovation.
In this segment of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion video series, AACTE members celebrate differences among individuals and promote gender and sexuality diversity as important aspects in preparing teachers to educate diverse student populations. Education research has found that societal stereotypes and biases of male and female roles are often reinforced in our schools and classrooms. The video participants encourage educators to address gender disparities in curriculum, teaching practices, and student engagement.
The U.S. Department of Education (Department) released its Notice of Intent to Apply (NIA) for the Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) Grant Program through the Federal Register. (Please note that the full details of the application are included in the NIA.) For Fiscal Year 2020, the TQP grant program received a $7 million dollar increase from the Congress, raising the program to a $50.1 million funding level. (Thank you to all who advocate with AACTE in support of this program and increasing its funding!)
The TQP program is the only federal initiative dedicated to strengthening and transforming educator preparation at institutions of higher education while meeting the workforce needs of partner high-need schools and school districts. Designed for either undergraduate or graduate programs, teacher candidates will be prepared to teach in high-need fields and serve in high-need schools. For the graduate level TQP programs, grantees develop teacher residency programs. Grantees are required to provide at least 2 years of induction for program graduates and provide professional development to faculty and staff at the schools where the graduates are teaching.
Sixty-six years have passed since Brown v. Board of Education. The Brown decision came down in 1954; however, in the 16 dual system states, white resistance stalled school desegregation until the late1960s and early1970s. Since Brown, state and federal courts have steadily engaged litigation about education access, school funding, education equity, and opportunity to learn. In recent years, litigation has challenged school reform schemes such as vouchers, charters, the definition of highly qualified teachers, and the practice of disproportionately placing uncertified teachers-in-training as teachers-of-record in schools and classrooms serving urban poor students of color. These schemes—which are often viewed as new and innovative—have old roots in resistance to Brown.
Nearly 70 years of litigation about education access, school funding, education equity, and opportunity to learn has yielded two findings: Money matters. And judicial involvement is critical for ensuring that school funding is equitable. In fact, research has shown that court ordered school finance reform tends to increase state spending in lower-income school districts and decrease expenditure gaps between low and high income districts. A National Bureau of Economic Research study (2015) found:
For children from low income families, increasing per-pupil spending yields large improvements in educational attainment, wages, family income, and reductions in the annual incidence of adult poverty. All of these effects are statistically significant … (p.39).
AACTE congratulates 2020 National Teacher of the Year Tabatha Rosproy and AACTE member institution Fort Hays State University for preparing her for a distinguished teaching career. Rosproy, a 10-year veteran Kansas teacher, is the first early childhood educator to be named National Teacher of the Year by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).
Rosproy teaches preschool at Winfield Early Learning Center in Winfield, Kansas, which is housed in a local retirement community and nursing home. Her classroom is an inclusive inter-generational program that provides preschoolers and residents with multiple daily interactions and serves special education and typically developing preschoolers in a full-day setting. As the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of school buildings across the country, Rosproy served as a co-chair of the educator task force that helped compile Kansas’s continuous learning guidance.