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.
The National Association of Holmes Scholars Alumni (NAHSA) invites early-career faculty in education-related fields, particularly AACTE Holmes Scholars® starting their careers and early-career NAHSA members, to participate in a Tenure Academy this spring.
The academy will be held April 2-3 as a preconference event prior to the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The AERA conference runs April 3-7.
A major forum at AACTE’s 2014 Annual Meeting will highlight lessons for transforming education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and for bridging the STEM achievement gap. To advance STEM education in PK-12 and improve access for disadvantaged students, educator preparation programs will have to produce career-ready teachers who have deep content knowledge in mathematics and science and pedagogical skills to teach to the differing needs of students to improve their achievement.
At the forum, a panel of education researchers, teacher educators, and practitioners will identify social and cultural barriers that contribute to persistent education inequities. Additionally, they will discuss effective education policies and innovative initiatives that promote progress in narrowing educational disparities in STEM.
The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.
The latest release of international test results has once again stirred the controversy of whether or not American students can successfully compete academically in a global context. Before we condemn our educational system, however, we must first understand exactly what the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) reveals about student performance and whether a fair comparison can be made between American 15-year-olds and those in other countries.
AACTE’s 2014 Speaker Spotlight Session will feature Kris Gutiérrez, professor of literacy and learning sciences at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Gutiérrez uses her expertise to improve the educational condition of immigrant and other underserved students, in both school-based and community settings, and to design effective models for teacher preparation. For more than 15 years, Gutiérrez served as the principal investigator and director of an after-school computer learning club for low-income and immigrant children. She also spent over a decade directing the UCLA Migrant Scholars Leadership Program, a residential summer academic program for high school students from migrant-farmworker backgrounds.
The 2014 AACTE Professional Education Data System (PEDS) data collection will open February 3 and close at the end of April. The 2014 survey incorporates recommendations made by an ad-hoc task force convened by AACTE in 2013 to help identify changes needed and to improve the quality and usefulness of the data.
The following changes have been made throughout all forms in Parts A and B:
- Changed wording to align with terms used by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) or other current usage, or to better define items.
- Added new pop-ups and glossary items with refined or added definitions.
- Added Other as an option in multiple-choice items as needed.
Other changes to Part A include the following:
A new report from the Wallace Foundation’s Principal Pipeline Initiative highlights practices for the preparation and support of new principals. Cultivating Talent Through a Principal Pipeline is the second in a series of evaluations of the initiative, prepared by Policy Studies Associates. It describes results from the initiative’s first 2 years as participating districts worked to beef up their principal corps through training and ongoing support.
As part of its Principal Pipeline Initiative, the Wallace Foundation last week convened its National Provider and Graduate Principal Professional Learning Community (National Provider PLC). I attended the meeting on behalf of AACTE, which is a communications partner for the initiative.
The National Provider PLC, launched in April, offers an opportunity for the initiative’s principal preparation providers, program alumni, and district administrators to collaborate in determining the most effective and efficient way to identify, develop, and support effective school leaders. Each district in the Principal Pipeline Initiative—Charlotte-Mecklenburg (NC), Denver (CO), Gwinnett County (GA), Hillsborough County (FL), New York City (NY), and Prince George’s County (MD)—also participates in a local PLC. In all, 20 principal preparation programs and 20 graduate principals are involved in this change-driving work, and, of the programs, half are AACTE member institutions.
A major forum at AACTE’s 2014 Annual Meeting will feature efforts to redesign elementary preparation programs so that they are aligned with current PK-12 school expectations, provide deeper content engagement, and offer pedagogical practices with a greater impact.
Preparing elementary school teachers can be challenging, as they need to be well-versed in many subject areas and particularly attuned to the developmental needs of young learners. Indeed, many preparation programs have struggled to produce coherent curriculum to effectively prepare teacher candidates for the early grades.
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.
On December 17, the U.S. Department of Education issued a formal Request for Information (RFI) about the development of its new system for rating institutions of higher education, officially known as the Postsecondary Institution Ratings System (PIRS). (Note: This system aims to rate institutions as a whole, not their various divisions, although educator preparation programs would be a part of their institutions’ rating.)
The Department is urging higher education faculty, students, parents, researchers, data experts, advocacy groups, organizations with expertise in developing rating systems, and others to provide information about what should be included in this rating system. The deadline for submission is January 31.
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.”
AACTE invites member institutions to apply to join a new initiative, Changing the Demographic Makeup of the Teaching Workforce, which will help 10 institutions increase the number of Black and Hispanic men receiving initial teaching certification through their programs.
The initiative will be AACTE’s first “networked improvement community” (NIC). NICs use the principles of improvement science to analyze a problem and design innovations. They leverage the community of participants to test and refine those interventions in a variety of contexts and to distribute those interventions broadly. AACTE’s NIC will focus on areas for intervention such as recruitment strategies, equity-based admissions policies, incentives to pursue a career in teaching, and others identified by NIC members.
A major forum at AACTE’s 2014 Annual Meeting will examine current efforts to redesign secondary mathematics teacher preparation programs so that they correspond to the pedagogical shifts demanded by the Common Core State Standards.
As states and districts across the country are transitioning to the Common Core, understanding the distinct pedagogical and content-specific shifts is a critical element to implementation and teaching practices—which holds significant implications for educator preparation programs. The Common Core math standards, for example, call for significant deep focus in the early grades and eliminate the vast majority of topics covered in current state standards. The secondary grades are restructured in grade bands rather than in content-specific subjects, requiring secondary math courses to be completely redesigned.
On December 5, the world lost one of the more important leaders of all time, Nelson Mandela.
Mandela epitomized what many in U.S. educator preparation programs hope to instill in our education leaders and teachers—a strong understanding of and commitment to social justice. Unfortunately, although we believe that all children and youth should receive a high-quality education and be treated with dignity and respect in the classroom, this ideal is in sharp contrast to reality.
Far too many of our children and youth, especially those in urban communities, are in classrooms with teachers who are underprepared or simply not equipped to teach those they perceive as different. Even as many of our preparation programs are implementing practices that limit “admission” to the field of teaching to those most ready to enter the classroom after rigorous study and strong clinical practice, the different pathways to the profession that some states have put into place may lead to an increase rather than a decrease in the achievement gap that currently exists between children and youth of different classes and races.