The Education Task Force of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) met in Washington, DC, last month, considering two new model state bills: the “Student Achievement Backpack Act” and the “Course Choice Act.”
The “Student Achievement Backpack Act” creates a data “backpack” for each K-12 student in the state that would include an electronic learning profile as well as information on the student’s prior teachers, including teachers’ years of experience and licensure information. The act would also authorize parents and K-12 district employees to access these backpacks, which would be transferable between schools and districts. The bill does include provisions to safeguard students’ privacy.
Recent budget cuts at the federal, state, and local levels are affecting the delivery of special education services for students with disabilities, according to a new survey conducted by the National Coalition on Personnel Shortages in Special Education and Related Services (NCPSSERS), of which AACTE is a member.
The survey of more than 1,000 special education professionals from all 50 states, which was featured in Education Week, shows that the impact of federal, state, and local budget cuts on special education is most evident in an increase in caseload, class size, and reduced professional development opportunities.
Earlier this month, I participated in a workshop of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation’s State Alliance for Clinical Preparation and Partnerships in Louisville, Kentucky. The 11 states in the alliance (Alabama, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Oregon) have formed a network to improve the systemic infrastructure supporting high-quality clinical experiences for teacher candidates. Mark LaCelle-Peterson, senior vice president for Engagement, Research, and Development at CAEP, framed the discussions over the 3 days with the following quote: “We have a system of education, but we do not have a system of clinical preparation.”
This year, the Wisconsin Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (WACTE) received an AACTE State Chapter Support Grant to continue building its advocacy efforts and presence at the state level and to further develop its relationship with AACTE. In addition to utilizing funds to send its members to AACTE’s Annual Meeting and State Leaders Institute, WACTE will host its second Day on the Hill in Madison in conjunction with its 2014 spring conference, which will include an expanded symposium focusing on state and national education issues.
A groundbreaking policy guide released today provides state lawmakers and education advocates with a blueprint for practical changes to improve teaching quality in America. The guide recommends policies based on research and state models that have been highly effective in developing and sustaining talented and diverse teaching forces that prepare all students for college, career, and life.
The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.
Thanks to an AACTE State Chapter Support Grant, the Michigan Association for Colleges for Teacher Education (MACTE) brought together university leaders in educator preparation and the Michigan Department of Education for a 4-day retreat in June on the campus of Northern Michigan University (NMU). The Pine Tower Retreat was an invigorating experience for all of us and helped us create tangible outcomes for the academic year.
FACTE President Marci Greene with AACTE’s Jane E. West
On October 24, I had the great pleasure of joining the Florida Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (FACTE) for its fall conference. With 130 people in attendance and the announcement of a new executive director, FACTE is going strong.
After years of outstanding service, Bob Shockley (Florida Atlantic University) retired as executive director, and FACTE welcomed Terry Osborn (University of South Florida) as its new head. AACTE’s membership ambassador, former FACTE chair Jennifer Platt, shared with FACTE the many benefits of joining AACTE. And we all welcomed Flagler College into the AACTE family as a new member.
In October, I was excited to head south to participate in the fall convening of the Mississippi Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (MACTE).
Mississippi had received national attention last spring when its legislature passed a law raising entry requirements into teacher preparation programs. Over the last year, the chapter has been working on strengthening its advocacy efforts and ensuring its members a seat at the table when the state is deliberating on laws such as this one and other regulations that impact educator preparation.
Last month, I attended the North Carolina Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (NC-ACTE) Fall Forum, “Embracing the Future: Living and Learning in the Context of Globalization.” The conference had strands on technology, curriculum development, globalization, partnerships, and recruiting educators, as well as presentations from the state Department of Public Instruction and the North Carolina Teacher of the Year.
One of the highlights of the conference was a keynote presentation from Yong Zhao, who spoke about the importance of the educator preparation profession to our democracy and to our economy. Zhao urged teacher educators to think bigger than scores on standardized tests—to prepare teachers who do more than train their students on employable skills, but who embrace diversity, curiosity, passion, and creativity. In Zhao’s words, “Without interest, you can get good science test scores, but you can’t get great scientists.”