“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela
Today, we join the world in mourning the death and celebrating the life of Nelson Mandela. Mandela was one of the world’s greatest leaders, teachers, and champions for justice – dedicating his life to educating and advocating for freedom. Not only did he accept the insurmountable challenges he often encountered, but he also embraced them with patience and strength.
On December 10, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) will release a report on how well educator preparation programs prepare teachers to effectively manage classrooms. The report will include an analysis of 122 programs, judging them based on what NCTQ has identified as the five most important classroom management strategies:
- “Rules: Establish and teach classroom rules to communicate expectations for behavior.
- Routines: Build structure and establish routines to help guide students in a wide variety of situations.
- Praise: Reinforce positive behavior, using praise and other means.
- Misbehavior: Consistently impose consequences for misbehavior.
- Engagement: Foster and maintain student engagement by teaching interesting lessons that include opportunities for active student participation.”
AACTE has no further information about the report at this time, but we’ll keep you posted as we learn more. Information on past NCTQ reviews is available here.
Today, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released results from the 2012 administration of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), a worldwide study of 15-year-old students’ performance on mathematics, science, and reading. American students’ performance remained largely unchanged from the previous PISA administration in 2009, although the U.S. ranking declined relative to other countries that improved over the past 3 years.
AACTE signed on to a statement of the Learning First Alliance about the results and also issued its own call for policy makers to look closely at the test’s lessons, along with the recommendations made by the OECD in its report Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education: Lessons From PISA 2012 for the United States as well as in the 2011 edition of the report, which focuses more on teacher preparation.
On December 17 at 2:00 p.m. EST, AACTE will offer a free webinar, Assessing Principal Preparation Program Quality: Lessons From the Field.
Over the summer, AACTE surveyed its members with principal preparation programs to better understand the characteristics of such programs and to identify areas in which members would like assistance. Program evaluation was one such area—which is not surprising, because evaluating preparation program quality is necessarily complex. It can be challenging to identify indicators of program quality, develop needed resources (including data and personnel), and navigate the political terrain that is often associated with program evaluation.
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.
On November 20, an interactive webinar sponsored by the Midwest Regional Educational Laboratory at American Institutes for Research addressed the preparation of preservice teachers to educate PK-12 students in online, hybrid, and blended environments. Mary Herring, associate dean of the College of Education at the University of Iowa and chair of AACTE’s Committee on Innovation and Technology, and Bryan Zugelder, executive director for undergraduate affairs and partnerships at the University of Central Florida’s College of Education and Human Performance, discussed the preservice teaching landscape as it relates to online learning; the implications of virtual education on preservice teacher preparation programs; and the skills that current research and theory suggest preservice teachers should have to be successful in online and blended learning programs.
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.
Last summer in its 2013 Teacher Prep Review, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) set forth recommendations for state and local policy makers who want to see the ratings increase for educator preparation programs in their jurisdictions. One of these recommendations was to “revamp current inspections of teacher preparation programs, performed as a condition of program approval.” Positing that neither state program approval site visits nor national accreditor site visits have proven to be meaningful, NCTQ recommended that states employ independent inspectors, along the lines of the British inspectorate model for preparation programs, to conduct program evaluation site visits and program evaluations.
Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending a meeting of the Wallace Foundation’s Principal Pipeline Initiative. The foundation regularly convenes the initiative’s participants to provide time and space for them to assess their efforts to transform the way they recruit, prepare, and support principals and to plan for further work.
In early 2013, the Wallace Foundation awarded AACTE a grant to serve as one of its communications partners engaged in disseminating research about education leadership as well as the practices and research emerging from the foundation’s Principal Pipeline Initiative.
Good news: A new study shows that transferring highly effective teachers to low-performing elementary schools improves the achievement of students in those schools. The impact of the transferred teachers in this study was greater than the impact of Teach For America (TFA) teachers found in studies with similar student populations.
Mathematica conducted the multisite experimental study, in which highly effective teachers were offered $20,000 over 2 years to transfer into and remain in elementary and middle schools that had low average test scores.
Note: This post also appears on the AACTE Annual Meeting site.
March will be here before we know it. The latest evidence of its rapid approach? The full AACTE Annual Meeting schedule is now available to you in the brand new Event Planner tool.
Accessible to everyone with an AACTE login (and anyone with an institutional e-mail address can set up an AACTE login), the Event Planner contains all the information we will be printing in the program book—but with search and scheduling functions that paper can’t match.
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.
Several early childhood education bills were introduced recently in Congress.
A bipartisan bill, the Strong Start for America’s Children Act (H.R. 3461/S. 1697), was introduced November 13 in the House and Senate that would expand access to and quality of early learning programs for children. The bill was introduced in the Senate by Tom Harkin (D-IA), chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, and in the House by Representatives George Miller (D-CA), ranking member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, and Richard Hanna (R-NY). Hanna’s endorsement makes the bill bipartisan, although no Republicans in the Senate support the legislation.
A great new AACTE program has hit the ground running, as many of your colleagues are already putting it to good use by creating “topical action groups” (TAGs).
The TAG program, which replaces the Association’s former “special study groups,” allows members to initiate or join action-oriented forums around a professional topic of importance, with funding and other support from AACTE.
Here are two examples of newly established TAGs and how they are using AACTE funding and support to further a topic of professional interest:
You all know about the significance of “telling your story.” As an advocacy and public-relations strategy, teacher educators should regularly communicate with media outlets and policy makers to promote their programs’ strengths such as innovative practices, state-of-the art technologies employed by faculty, the qualities of matriculating candidates, and the impact program completers are making in PK-12 schools.
Indeed, AACTE has long encouraged members—collectively, through state chapters, and individually—to build outreach efforts through advocacy and communication strategies. Today I want to remind you of the importance of also engaging members of your local community in these efforts. I’m not talking about your service work here; this is about strengthening the relevance and perceived value of your institution and program within the community.