I am honored to assume the role of chair of AACTE’s Board of Directors at such an exciting time for the organization and the profession as a whole. Nine weeks into my yearlong term, I’m eager to share my excitement with you about the work we’re doing together.
Most visible so far is our focus on accreditation, particularly our efforts to initiate a collaborative dialogue with the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). This dialogue aims to address concerns expressed by many AACTE members while continuing our support for CAEP as the field’s unified accrediting body.
Although important—in fact, critical—for our field, our work with CAEP is but one of a large portfolio of topics on AACTE’s agenda.
Renée Middleton and I recently (April 14) wrote a blog post updating readers on AACTE’s work related to a resolution passed in February by the AACTE Board of Directors in regard to the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). This resolution reaffirmed our association’s commitment to CAEP and also cited concerns that have been raised by many AACTE members. Our blog provided a context for the work that AACTE seeks to undertake in collaboration with the leadership of CAEP, which AACTE supports as a single unified accrediting system for our field.
AACTE has long supported the role of accreditation in the field and continues to uphold the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) as the profession’s single accreditor. This commitment was reaffirmed by the AACTE Board of Directors at its meeting February 26, 2015. Along with offering this affirmation of support, the resolution passed by the Board also sought to open a conversation with CAEP around persistent concerns raised by the field with respect to CAEP’s standards, process, capacity, and representativeness in its governance structure.
Public education lost one of its most powerful voices on Saturday, November 29, when John Goodlad passed away.
He had worked in educational institutions at all levels, teaching in a one-room school in Canada, as dean of the Graduate school of Education at UCLA, and as founder of the Center for Education Renewal (http://www.ieiseattle.org/CER.htm ) and the Institute for Educational Inquiry (http://www.ieiseattle.org ).
As a board member and officer of AACTE, I have grown to appreciate the complexity of the organization. A remarkable variety of institutions opt to unite around common interests under this “big tent” association.
Of course, you may think about AACTE membership from your own institutional perspective. Members of the Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for Teacher Education (AILACTE) may view AACTE as their organization, just as members of the Council of Academic Deans from Research Education Institutions (CADREI) may view us from their perspective. Certainly, members of the Teacher Education Council of State Colleges and Universities (TECSCU), where the largest number of new educators are taught, think of AACTE from their perspective. In fact, the Board of Directors is designed to reflect the various institutional types within AACTE, with designated seats for AILACTE, CADREI, and TECSCU representatives as well as for the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and historically Black institutions. In reality, AACTE represents the entire array of U.S. teacher preparation institutions.
Accountability is a core value of AACTE and its membership. Although the current trend toward measuring teacher preparation programs’ outcomes rather than inputs is a clear step in the right direction, it is often difficult to produce meaningful evidence of program impact amid the wide-ranging ideas of what such evidence might be. Still, our profession is ahead of the game in dealing with the performance expectations and reporting demands that now face higher education in general.
American teachers touch the American future every day. They do so by producing good citizens, good employers, good workers, and good people. As teacher educators, we prepare these leaders.
In today’s political climate, too many people take a simplistic approach to teaching and learning. It’s not hard to find someone who will argue that to teach, all you need are good intentions. Nearly everyone has been in school, so many people believe this makes them expert on how to teach and even on how to train teachers. Similar logic would lead us to conclude that since everyone has been born, we could all be obstetricians and medical educators. Teaching and teacher training are not simple tasks.
On December 5, the world lost one of the more important leaders of all time, Nelson Mandela.
Mandela epitomized what many in U.S. educator preparation programs hope to instill in our education leaders and teachers—a strong understanding of and commitment to social justice. Unfortunately, although we believe that all children and youth should receive a high-quality education and be treated with dignity and respect in the classroom, this ideal is in sharp contrast to reality.
Far too many of our children and youth, especially those in urban communities, are in classrooms with teachers who are underprepared or simply not equipped to teach those they perceive as different. Even as many of our preparation programs are implementing practices that limit “admission” to the field of teaching to those most ready to enter the classroom after rigorous study and strong clinical practice, the different pathways to the profession that some states have put into place may lead to an increase rather than a decrease in the achievement gap that currently exists between children and youth of different classes and races.
Note: This op-ed was submitted to The New York Times but was not published.
A recent column by Bill Keller in The New York Times, “An Industry of Mediocrity,” highlighted a 2005 report by the well-respected Arthur Levine that concluded that the programs that prepare our nation’s educators “range from inadequate to appalling” and set the premise that the profession is a “contended cartel” of low-quality programs that should “feel threatened.” As leaders of AACTE, we view Mr. Keller’s column not as a threat but as an opportunity to do what we do best: educate.
As I witnessed this summer’s commemorative 50th anniversary celebrations of major U.S. civil rights events, I was reminded of my personal experiences from those times—and thought in particular of my high school English teacher, Mrs. Ruby Archie.
My city, Danville (VA), was one of the last in the country to fully desegregate its elementary and secondary schools. Before its desegregation, Danville had one high school for White students and another one for Black students. My first day at the consolidated high school is one that I will never forget. My Black classmates and I were met at the entrance of the school by police officers, belts off and buckles down and at the ready, holding dogs tethered to a leash. As our first day progressed and tension remained high, all Black students were sent to the gym and the doors closed behind us. Mrs. Archie forced her way into the gym and made it clear that none of us would remain in that gym without her, our teacher, present. She cared and was willing to risk her employment to protect us.