A double narrative dominates contemporary discussions of teacher quality, leading to often-contradictory policies that stymie reform efforts. First is the democratic imperative to provide equitable access to a quality education to all students, which calls for broadening the diversity of the teaching force to better reflect student demographics. Second is the push for tightening quality controls such as GPA and testing requirements in teacher preparation programs, which results in a considerably less diverse teaching pool. AACTE Holmes Scholars learned about this paradox firsthand earlier this month during Washington Week as they explored the themes of diversity, equity, access, and accountability with a variety of guest speakers from national organizations.
The U.S. Department of Education invites applications for Skills for Success grants to support local education agencies and their partners, including colleges and universities, in developing the noncognitive skills of middle-grades students.
According to the Department’s web site, up to $2 million is available to fund “the implementation, evaluation, and refinement of existing tools and approaches (e.g., digital games, growth mindset classroom activities, experiential learning opportunities) that integrate the development of students’ noncognitive skills into classroom-level activities and existing strategies designed to improve schools.”
During AACTE’s 2015 Washington Week, we were among a dozen AACTE Holmes Scholars® attending a 3-day Summer Policy Institute that promoted mentorship and support while introducing participants to the national education policy scene. In addition to meeting with policy makers and leaders of various educational organizations, Scholars engaged in a site visit June 9 to the U.S. Department of Education.
Does your teacher preparation program have any international alumni who might like to be interviewed for an article in a study-abroad magazine?
Elaina Loveland, editor-in-chief of NAFSA’s International Educator magazine, is looking to profile some international teacher education students who received degrees in the United States but went back home to teach or start schools in their home countries. International Educator is a bimonthly publication about global education and exchange, published by NAFSA: Association of International Educators.
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.
U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee Marks Up Bill for Education Appropriations – Includes Provision on Proposed Teacher Prep Regulations
The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health & Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies marked up its draft bill on Wednesday, June 17. The bill passed on party lines with a vote of 9-5, including both the chair and ranking member of the full committee. All amendments offered by the Democratic members of the subcommittee were voted down. The bill now moves to the full committee next week.
A healthy organization works to articulate its mission and meet the needs of its members, and that’s just what AACTE did during this year’s Washington Week. We recently returned home from AACTE’s State Leaders Institute (SLI), where we collaborated with chapter leaders and members from various states, June 9-10, followed by advocacy activities at Day on the Hill, June 10-11.
The SLI agenda included updates on the national and regional landscapes of teacher education, accreditation, and capacity building. AACTE President/CEO Sharon P. Robinson provided her perspective about the state of the organization and introduced AACTE’s new online professional seminars related to assessment and use of data for improvement. SLI was a great opportunity for us to engage in conversations about regulations, state chapter issues, and increasing the level of engagement in order to enhance teacher preparation.
Now in its 20th year, AACTE’s awards program recognizes member institutions’ exemplary programs as well as individuals who have made noteworthy contributions to education preparation.
AACTE’s Washington Week kicked off with diverse perspectives, enlightening anecdotes, and compelling conversations at the special conference “Progress and Factors That Contribute to Closing the STEM Achievement Gap,” sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Five presenters joined AACTE leaders on two panels discussing ways to improve learning outcomes of underrepresented populations in the STEM fields.
The conference began with presenters Armando Sanchez-Martinez, manager of Editorial Santillana in Mexico, and Vasanta Akondy, co-manager of the Verizon Innovative Learning Program (VILP), who together provided a global perspective on innovative solutions to increase access to STEM education in Mexico and India.
Sanchez-Martinez presented a comprehensive look into Mexico’s educational landscape, including a detailed explanation of sociocultural factors that contribute to local achievement gaps and of the current educational movements and solutions to closing the gap. Akondy highlighted the importance of VILP and its efforts to recruit more girls in India into the STEM fields. The aim of this program is to provide a community network of support while focusing on student engagement and providing technological resources to underfunded schools.
More than 100 teacher educators, students, and partners convened in Washington, DC, last week for AACTE’s Day on the Hill, bringing the voice of the profession to members of Congress. The event was held June 10-11 as part of AACTE’s Washington Week.
Day on the Hill began with a half-day orientation that explored participants’ role in advocating and advancing the profession. To prepare attendees for engaging with members of Congress and their staff, the afternoon started with an update on education-related activity on Capitol Hill from Deborah Koolbeck, AACTE’s director of government relations. Koolbeck also reviewed talking points provided by AACTE and discussed strategies for choosing the most effective talking points to use in various meetings with policy makers.