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Resources Available on Using AACTE Policy Tracker

Last week, I hosted a webinar demonstrating the AACTE State Policy Tracker, an online tool that provides an interactive and user-friendly way for member institutions and state chapters to be more informed on state legislation and regulations related to educator preparation.

The webinar’s video recording and presentation slides are now available here.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the online policy tracker, contact me at agoldstein@aacte.org or (202) 478-4504.

North Dakota Chapter Uses AACTE Grant to Implement Statewide Surveys

The North Dakota Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (NDACTE) received an AACTE State Chapter Support Grant last year to assist with the development and administration of a set of common assessments to be used by all North Dakota teacher preparation programs to improve the effectiveness of programs and quality of graduates.

During this school year, members of NDACTE have engaged in meetings and training workshops to learn how to effectively implement four common assessments: the Preservice Teacher Exit Survey, the Transition to Teaching Survey, the Supervisor Survey, and the Preservice Teacher Observational Assessment.

Recruiting More Teachers for Rural Schools: What South Carolina Is Doing Right

It is no secret that South Carolina has faced many challenges related to education. Most recently, a shortage of teachers has been severely affecting the most vulnerable regions of South Carolina: our rural and poverty-stricken regions. In a state where most students live below the poverty level, there are some unsung heroes doing their best with the lowest of means, but we desperately need to improve our recruitment and retention of professional educators.

One way the state is supporting this goal is through Proviso 1A.73, also known as the Rural Teacher Recruiting Incentive. The FY16 budget allows for $1.5 million to be spent on this plan. The Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement (CERRA) at Winthrop University along with the South Carolina Department of Education and the Education Oversight Committee has been charged with the responsibility to develop the initiative, and CERRA Executive Director Jane Turner submitted the plan for the first year in January 2016 with multiple components:

Collaboration Across State Lines Transforms Educator Preparation

In February, the Louisiana Department of Education hosted representatives from six states in the Council of Chief State School Officers’ Network for Transforming Educator Preparation (NTEP). Formed in 2013, this aligned action network brings together state chiefs and their education agency staff who are committed to activating key policy levers around licensure, program approval, and data as they transform educator preparation in their respective states. As a representative from the Missouri NTEP team, I joined colleagues from five states—Georgia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and Washington—on the visit to Baton Rouge to attend Louisiana’s Believe and Prepare Community Meeting and learn from the work of practitioners, programs, and districts across Louisiana leading efforts to improve educator preparation.

March 2016 State Policy Recap

Ed Prep Matters is pleased to bring you this special feature on policy and AACTE chapter activity in the states. For a summary of February’s state activity, see this article; January’s state activity is available here.

Overview of State Policy Activity

In March, at least 30 state legislatures met as part of their 2016 legislative sessions. At least 184 state bills were introduced related to educator preparation. Since the New Year, approximately 300 bills have been introduced, of which seven have been signed into law.

Nevada Teacher Shortages, Solutions Discussed at AACTE Press Briefing

In advance of the 68th Annual Meeting, AACTE held a press briefing last month at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, focused on educator preparation providers’ work to address the teacher shortages in Nevada. Panelists discussed the challenges they face and innovative solutions under way to meet the urgent demand for qualified teachers in the state’s two largest counties and in both rural and urban areas.

Presented by AACTE in partnership with member institutions in the state, the briefing featured an interactive panel discussion moderated by Mark LaCelle-Peterson, AACTE senior vice president for policy and programs, with the following panelists:

  • Kenneth Coll, Dean, College of Education, University of Nevada, Reno
  • Kim Metcalf, Dean, College of Education, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Dennis Potthoff, Dean, School of Education, Nevada State College
  • Thomas Reagan, Dean of Arts and Sciences, Great Basin College
  • Staci Vesneske, Former Chief Human Resources Officer, Clark County School District, on special assignment to the superintendent’s office

February 2016 State Policy Recap

Ed Prep Matters is pleased to bring you this special feature on policy and AACTE chapter activity in the states. For a summary of January’s state activity, see this article, or to see a year-end recap for 2015, see this article.

Overview of State Policy Activity

In February, 40 state legislatures convened for their 2016 legislative sessions. At least 160 bills were introduced in 30 states that could have an impact on educator preparation programs.

January 2016 State Policy Recap

Over the past month, 35 state legislatures have convened for their 2016 legislative session—and it’s already been a productive year. Since January 1, nearly as many state bills related to educator preparation have been introduced as in all of 2015. In 2015, about 150 such bills were introduced; during January 2016, there were 133, introduced in 33 state legislatures. The states with the most bills proposed so far are New Jersey, Oklahoma, Iowa, Florida, and Michigan. Some of the common topics addressed in the bills include modifying teacher certification/licensure standards as related to teacher shortages and alternative routes to certification, investing in scholarships and loan forgiveness for teachers, and mandating training for teachers to support students with dyslexia as a requirement for licensure.

In addition, since the New Year, 34 state regulations have been proposed in 17 states related to educator preparation. The vast majority of the proposed state regulations relate to streamlining or clarifying teacher certification standards.

Tennessee EPPs Optimistic About Changes to State Report Card

On December 2, 2015, the members of the Tennessee Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (TACTE) held their collective breath as the Tennessee State Board of Education released the 2015 Report Card on the Effectiveness of Teacher Training Programs. After 5 years of publicity nightmares as programs’ ratings and rankings received widespread media attention, would this year’s report be any better?

Back in 2007, the Tennessee General Assembly passed legislation requiring the publication of a report on the effectiveness of educator preparation programs (EPPs) throughout the state. The report was to provide the following information on program graduates: placement and retention rates, Praxis II scores, and teacher effect data based on the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS). Meghan Curran, director of Tennessee’s First to the Top programs, noted, “It is our intent that the report cards will help institutions identify both what they do well and where there is room for growth based on the outputs of their graduates.”

Oklahoma Teacher Shortage Task Force Offers Recommendations

Over 940 emergency credentials have been issued this year by the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) as a result of the statewide teacher shortage. A preliminary report issued December 10 by a state task force offers recommendations that aim to tackle the problem on multiple fronts.

The task force, formed by the OSDE to identify and recommend strategies for reducing the shortage, includes more than 60 legislators, OSDE staff, educators, business leaders, teacher organizations, education advocacy groups, and other community-based stakeholders. I represent teacher preparation programs on the task force, particularly through my role as president of the Oklahoma Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (OACTE), a state affiliate of AACTE.

Telling Our Story: Political Advocacy in Massachusetts

Political advocacy was the focus of much work this fall for the Massachusetts Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (MACTE). The national attention to teacher preparation policy, from the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to the proposed teacher preparation program regulations, inspired our state chapter to respond in a big way. We were—and are—determined to tell our story.

As a first step, the MACTE Executive Board created a “take home document” to educate our elected officials, highlighting some of the current work of member institutions. We pointed out initiatives and programs that were specifically developed to meet the greatest needs of our PK-12 partners and, ultimately, the needs of the students in the commonwealth. To compile this document, we put a call out to all of our member institutions to tell us what they were doing across five main focus areas:

A Year in Review: Recapping 2015 State Policy Trends

As 2015 comes to an end, we want to take a moment to reflect on what was a very active year for state policy makers and AACTE state chapters.  

In 2015, state legislators proposed more than 150 bills related to educator preparation. Of these proposed bills, 18 were enacted into law. Some of the highlights of these new state laws are the creation of a new teacher leader endorsement in New Jersey; establishing the Teach Nevada Scholarship Program to incentivize students to pursue teaching degrees in Nevada; prohibiting video recording of classroom teachers in New Hampshire; and modifying teacher licensure standards in Delaware, Illinois, Maine, and Michigan.

NCTQ Releases 2015 State Teacher Policy Yearbook

On December 8, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) released its 2015 State Teacher Policy Yearbook, offering the council’s annual assessment of various state policies related to teacher quality. While the report’s focus and conclusions might not be surprising, they offer what might be a preview of what to expect from NCTQ’s upcoming 2016 Teacher Prep Review.

One of the areas of focus in the yearbook, for example, is “delivering well-prepared teachers.” NCTQ outlines 13 goal topics in this area and assigns a letter grade to each state. An overview chart (see below) summarizes the results.

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