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.
AACTE President Sharon P. Robinson speaks at the briefing
On November 8, AACTE marked the national launch of edTPA with a briefing in front of a standing-room-only audience at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. A report released at the briefing presents results of 2 years of field testing and recommends a passing score for edTPA, the first preservice performance-based assessment available to every educator preparation program across the country.
The briefing’s panelists—including a classroom teacher who completed edTPA in her preparation program, a teacher educator, state policy leaders, and edTPA partners—celebrated the new measure of teaching readiness as evidence that the teacher preparation profession is taking control of its future. Panelists said using edTPA as part of a multi-measure assessment system encourages continuous improvement by both candidates and programs, and it strengthens partnerships between the PK-12 community and teacher preparation programs. They also agreed that implementing the assessment with integrity will take time and the engagement of all stakeholders.
The election for the 2014 AACTE Board of Directors is now under way through December 2. Four seats will be decided via online voting: one representing the Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for Teacher Education (AILACTE) and three at-large seats.
The slate is as follows:
Today marks a proud accomplishment of the teacher preparation community and our partners as we celebrate the launch of the first nationally available, standards-based performance assessment for preservice teachers: edTPA.
edTPA was created for the profession by the profession and is already in use by nearly 500 teacher preparation providers in 32 states and the District of Columbia. With edTPA now fully operational, every preparation program in the country has access to a rigorous, reliable assessment that will give us confidence that aspiring teachers are ready to take charge of their classroom on Day One. This is truly a transformational moment in teacher preparation.
Please join AACTE in welcoming the following new appointees to its standing committees, effective March 1, 2014:
Committee on Global Diversity
Judit Szente, University of Central Florida
Committee on Government Relations and Advocacy
Suzann Girtz, Gonzaga University (WA)
Joen Larson, Ashford University (IA)
Committee on Innovation and Technology
Jeffrey Carpenter, Elon University (NC)
Christina Dehler, California State Polytechnic University Pomona
The annual edTPA Implementation Conference convened November 1-2 at the University of San Diego (CA) with the theme “Evidence of Learning and Practice: Teacher Performance Assessment by the Profession, for the Profession.” More than 400 higher education administrators, faculty, supervisors, and state education agency representatives were able to deepen their understanding of edTPA, ask important questions, and discuss strategies and best practices with their colleagues from across the country.
With edTPA now nationally available and being used by teacher preparation programs in 32 states plus the District of Columbia, this conference allowed teacher preparation professionals to share their trials and triumphs with edTPA implementation and plan for the future of their programs, institutions, and the teacher preparation field as a whole. The conference was cosponsored by the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity (SCALE) and AACTE and came just a week before a National Press Club briefing, to be held today in Washington, DC, to discuss the edTPA field test results and nationwide launch.
Did you miss the Early Bird registration deadline for AACTE’s 66th Annual Meeting? Don’t worry: We’re giving you one more chance to register at the lowest rate!
For the next 48 hours, you can register at the Early Bird rate (new registrations only!). Don’t delay—this deal expires at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Friday, November 8.