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NY Teacher Educators Developing ‘Critical Consciousness to Affect Change’

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On October 14-16, the New York Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (NYACTE) partnered with the New York State Association of Teacher Educators (NYSATE) to host a joint fall conference in Saratoga Springs, NY. The conference theme, Developing a Critical Consciousness to Affect Change in Teacher Education, captured the exemplary work of our colleagues who concentrate their energies on shaping policy in educator preparation, nurturing and sustaining PK-12 partnerships, adapting to changes in accreditation, and focusing on best practices.

GACTE Plays Prominent Role in Statewide Partnership Work

Meaningful and purposeful collaboration among multiple agency heads is something that many states aspire to do. Georgia is among those that have been successful in forming such alliances, which provides a supportive environment for the work of the Georgia Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (GACTE).

The collaborative culture is well established in the Georgia Alliance of Education Agency Heads, which over the past decade has been successfully fulfilling its mission to collaborate, innovate, and achieve while addressing three strategic goals: (1) increase the percentage of students reading at grade level by completion of third grade; (2) increase the percentage of graduates from high school and postsecondary institutions prepared for the demands of college, workplace, a global economy, and responsible citizenship; and (3) increase the percentage of effective teachers and educational leaders. The alliance includes the state’s universities and technical colleges, the governor’s office, the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, and other education agencies.

Key State Policy Makers Complete Hunt-Kean Fellowship

Fifteen high-level state policy makers recently completed the inaugural class of the Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows program, a 9-month training for state policy makers on education policy issues. The Hunt Institute, a center based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, created the Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows program in 2014 and named it in honor of former governors Jim Hunt (D-NC) and Tom Kean (R-NJ).

In their program, the fellows discuss and develop political and policy strategies around state education topics including teachers, school leaders, data systems, and higher education. The fellows are influential state leaders including governors, lieutenant governors, attorney generals, and state legislators considered to be some of the nation’s top “education catalysts of change.”

Community Opportunities: USED Bus Tour Coming Sept. 14-18

Get ready to connect with your communities this month around the U.S. Department of Education’s 2015 “Ready for Success” bus tour, making stops in 10 cities September 14-18.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and other senior officials will hold events in schools, universities, and other education settings to celebrate efforts to improve educational access and opportunity. Each “bus stop” will spotlight a different topic, ranging from college access and affordability to teacher leadership, disability resources, and technology.

Member Voices: The Value and Rewards of Participating in a State AACTE Chapter

Early in my academic career as a faculty member, the Indiana Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (IACTE) was referred to as "the deans group." Its meetings were attended primarily by those holding administrative positions, which did not include me. Still, I got to work with IACTE during this time: I had been appointed by the governor to the Indiana Professional Standards Board (IPSB) for teacher education and licensure, which worked collaboratively with IACTE on developing new standards-based licensure and assessments. At a time when teacher education was truly valued in the state, our joint efforts placed Indiana as one of the front runners in best practices in teacher preparation and the use of performance-based assessments.

State Legislators Weigh Teacher Quality Reforms, Want Input From Teacher Educators

Last week, I attended the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Legislative Summit along with over 5,000 state legislators and their staff. Teacher quality was a key theme of several sessions ranging from teacher career ladders to school leader preparation.

One of the significant points I took from the conference was that state legislators are eager to hear from teacher preparation programs on current practices and innovations. Please contact your state legislators prior to the upcoming 2016 legislative session to share what is happening at programs in your state!

Georgia to Require edTPA for All New Teacher Licenses

Starting this fall, the state of Georgia is strengthening its standards for licensing new teachers by requiring them to pass edTPA, a performance assessment indicating they really are effective and ready for the classroom.

The new requirement, part of a broad overhaul of the state’s structure for evaluating performance of both existing and brand new teachers, will take effect September 1. At that point, teacher candidates emerging from student teaching will receive their initial "induction" certification only after meeting a qualifying score on edTPA. In addition, teachers enrolled in Georgia’s GaTAPP nontraditional preparation program must pass edTPA prior to completing the program.

If You Don’t Say It, Who Will? Improving Communications With PK-12 Communities

The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

It happens far too often: PK-12 schools and higher education blame each other for educational shortcomings rather than collaborating on solutions or celebrating each other’s successes.

That’s why it was so encouraging to hear leaders from AACTE’s state chapters identify improved communication with PK-12 counterparts as a priority during last month’s State Leaders Institute. In the session I led on communications strategies, many teacher educators offered examples of how they are already building and strengthening these important relationships.  

Building a ‘New Nevada’ With the Help of Successful Advocacy

Last week, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed into law Senate Bill 511, which establishes the Teach Nevada scholarship for students interested in completing PK-12 educator preparation programs throughout the state. Sponsored by Governor Sandoval and passed by the State Assembly on the last day of the 2015 session of the Nevada legislature, this bill devotes $2.5 million to student scholarships in each year of the coming biennium. An additional appropriation of $5 million per fiscal year provides funding for Nevada districts to provide financial incentives for new teacher hires.

Member Voices: Lessons From the State Leaders Institute

AACTE just hosted another great Washington Week! This was my third year attending the State Leaders Institute (SLI), and I’m always amazed at how much I learn about what is happening at the federal level and in other states, how other state associations are supporting teacher and leader preparation that will positively affect student learning, and how they are facing and addressing the challenges that are impacting our profession.

All regions of the country were represented during the June 9-10 institute, and as stories were shared, I believe we came to deeper understanding about the uniqueness of our respective states—and, perhaps more importantly, about the ways we are similar and how those similarities can help us frame a common message.

AACTE Awards Grants to 8 State Chapters

Eight state affiliates of AACTE will share $60,000 in funding from the 2015 State Chapter Support Grant competition. The awards were announced June 9 during a reception in Washington, DC, where members of AACTE’s Advisory Council of State Representatives (ACSR) had convened for the annual State Leaders Institute.

A Barber Needs 1,000 Hours of Training in Wisconsin, But Some Teachers Need None

To quote Valerie Strauss in the May 28 edition of The Washington Post, “What the heck is going on with Wisconsin public education?” Efforts in the Wisconsin State Legislature to reform education without the transparency of public debate, or the consultation of educators, resulted in proposed legislation that may erode the basic foundation of Wisconsin’s public school system. Do politicians realize they are proposing a licensure policy that, if approved, would require barbers (yes, you read that right) to have more training at their craft than teachers?

Seriously, what the heck IS going on?

California Chapter Uses AACTE Grant to Boost Research

Last spring, the California Council on Teacher Education (CCTE) received an AACTE State Chapter Support Grant to fund a “Quest for Research on Teacher Education” to engage local scholars and broaden the knowledge base in California and nationally. I am delighted to report that the Quest program is achieving its goals, as well as unanticipated benefits, which will pay dividends for years to come.

Before the Quest program, CCTE’s commitment to encourage and support research on teacher education already took many forms. We sponsor two high-quality scholarly journals devoted to publication of quantitative and qualitative studies; hold semiannual conferences that include numerous concurrent research presentations and poster sessions; offer support programs for new faculty and graduate students, which include participation in the research and poster sessions at our conferences; and collaborate with Division K of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) on a national committee focusing on research in teacher education policy, which schedules a special open session on research topics at the annual AERA meetings.

AACTE Grant Supports Strong Chapter Work in Michigan

Last year, an AACTE State Chapter Support Grant enabled members of the Michigan Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (MACTE) to build more collaborative relationships with PK-12 schools and the Michigan Department of Education in order to facilitate more meaningful and relevant discussion on the preparation of excellent beginning teachers. This work supported the chapter’s goal of “promoting, within Michigan, the learning of all PK-12 students through the promotion of high-quality preparation and continuing education for all school personnel.”

Many thanks to AACTE, we were able to host a summer workshop at Ferris State University, the primary accomplishment of which was the review and revision of the MACTE Strategic Plan that had been developed the previous year. Based on input from the workshop, the group decided to tailor the annual conference to provide a forum for examining and highlighting the increasingly pressing issue of beginning teacher evaluation and distinctive efforts to improve educator preparation.

New Resource for AACTE Members – State Policy Maker Contact Lists

A new resource is now available to help AACTE members and state affiliates connect with education officials in their states.

AACTE staff have compiled lists of contact information (member login required) for each state’s governor, chief school officer, relevant legislature committees, and education agency staff. In addition, the lists include a resource from the Sunlight Foundation’s Open States web site that can be used to find your state legislators.

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