As part of a three-part Answering the Call to Action: Culturally Affirming Webinar Series, member institution Howard University College of Education will present its third session: “How Educators can use their Sphere of Influence to Decolonize the Classroom” on Wednesday, August 5, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m.
In addition to an overview on decolonization, the webinar offers three breakout sessions, which registrants will select in advance:
- Break Out Session 1: Anti-racist Education Through People’s History (A mini-lesson)
Deborah Menkart, Teaching for Change
- Break Out Session 2: Conducting Equity Audits
Karmen Rouland, MAEC
- Break Out Session 3: Building a coalition through Black Lives Matter Week of Action in Schools
Denisha Jones, Sarah Lawrence College
The Answering the Call to Action series also included Session 1: “Using Your Leadership in Being the Change That You Want to See,” designed for Educational Leaders and session 2: “Strengthening Mental Health Outcomes by Decolonizing Practices,” designed for School Psychologists and School Counselors.
This article by Nathan Jones, associate professor of special education at Boston University, is Part 1 of a two-part series.
Questions of health and safety of students and school personnel have dominated summer debates about how to open schools this fall. The collective focus on safety is certainly appropriate, considering concerns voiced by parents and educators. In most all cases, states have asked school districts to prepare for multiple possible scenarios, ranging from fully in-person to fully virtual. To plan well for any of these scenarios would take a tremendous amount of collective will and resources. To plan for all options simultaneously means that schools have simply not had the opportunity to wrestle with the deep teaching and learning challenges in front of them. If we were to wave a magic wand, and all schools were able to operate fully in person with no threat to students or staff this fall, schools would still face an uphill battle to address the learning losses that have been disproportionately felt by critical student sub-populations. Nowhere is this issue clearer than in the education of students with disabilities.
Although formal data are not yet available, we should anticipate that many students with disabilities have regressed considerably since the transition to distance learning. Data from NAEP assessments show that, for the past several years, students with disabilities have lagged behind their peers in reading, writing, and math. These gaps have likely widened further during distance learning, where students with disabilities have likely not received the additional instructional time they need to make progress. In a May 2020 survey conducted by Parents Together, 40% of parents of students with disabilities reported receiving no services at all since the transition to remote learning, and only 20% reported receiving the services they were entitled to.
The undersigned members of the COVID-19 Education Coalition offer the following statement on the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act:
We are deeply concerned with provisions of the HEALS Act, which proposes $70 billion to support K-12 schools in navigating the fallout from the COVID-19 global pandemic, two-thirds of which is tied to the physical reopening of school buildings. With many districts unable to safely reopen at this time because of high community transmission rates, many schools stand to lose out on a substantial portion of the HEALS Act’s promised resources, which they desperately need to ensure high-quality teaching and learning continues for the 2020-2021 school year. Additionally, the $70 billion allocated to K-12 schools is far short of the funding that national experts estimate will be necessary to fully support educators, students, and families at this time, especially those from marginalized groups disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Many of our organizations believe that K-12 schools need between $175 billion and $200 billion.
This moment in time is anything but typical. As the beginning of the school year nears and the pandemic surges, we are left wondering, what will our classrooms look like this fall? Preparing to return to school will look different for parents, students, and educators alike. And if the Trump administration has its way, all schools and universities will be forced to reopen with in-person education.
Determined to open schools despite the surge in COVID-19 cases, President Trump threatens to withhold federal funds as a means to force schools and universities into on campus, in-person education. His statement in early July was issued when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had yet to release updated guidance on how to safely reopen schools. In fact, the revised guidelines weren’t released until July 23—leaving schools only weeks to prepare for what will undoubtably be a monumental challenge.
Federal funds must not be used as leverage to force schools and universities to provide in-person classes amidst the current surge of the coronavirus. Instead, federal funds should be allocated to aid colleges and universities in their recovery from the significant, financial challenges caused by the pandemic, to equip institutions with the proper tools to reduce the spread of coronavirus on their campuses, and to provide liability protection.
Your voice is needed at the AACTE 2020 Washington Week! Convene virtually with policy leaders, education partners, and colleagues from across the country during interactive sessions addressing current issues facing the profession. With a focus on activism and advocacy, AACTE will elevate the innovative diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategies of its members. You can participate in the call for member strategies to address DEI by August 14.
This year’s schedule of events covers provocative topics you won’t want to miss!
Holmes Advanced Policy Course: September 2-3
Experienced Holmes Scholars will explore advocacy strategies and current policies that focus on diversity, equity and inclusion in education. This course is limited to 20 participants. Complete the course application to request your spot by August 14.
While many educator preparation providers are transitioning to virtual instruction, it’s no surprise that some individuals may feel isolated and “out of the loop.” Connecting with colleagues can be hard enough under normal circumstances, but the coronavirus pandemic has taken it to a new level. If you are looking to network with your peers, stay up-to-date on the latest research and trends, and participate in the ongoing conversation, the AACTE Topical Action Groups (TAGs) are here to help!
TAGs are member-driven working groups that provide a forum in which individuals from member institutions can exchange information on issues related to education and collaborate with each other on a variety of topics.
More than ever, AACTE members are focused on disrupting inequities and advancing racial justice. AACTE is offering two great new opportunities for members to engage in this work with colleagues from across the country. The AACTE Board of Directors recently created two new committee:
- Advisory Committee on Educator Diversity
- Holmes Program Advisory Committee
These committees will advise AACTE on how it can best help members attract and retain diverse future teachers and other educators and on AACTE’s signature program for future scholars and leaders of color, the Holmes Program.
If you are interested in serving on one of these important new committee—or if you would like to nominate a colleague—please act now! Nominations close on August 7. Learn more and submit your nomination.
Education leaders’ outlook for the 2020-21 academic year anticipates a widening gap in the supply of new teachers, according to a recent survey of nearly 200 responses from individuals in leadership roles at colleges of education. The survey, conducted by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) on how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting educator preparation programs, reveals that nearly half of respondents indicated that field placements (student teaching) have been discontinued for at least some of their students.
Teacher preparation is multidimensional, and clinical experience is an essential aspect in becoming a successful educator. However, due to the outbreak of COVID-19, teacher candidates’ face-to-face classroom training has come to a halt, causing them to miss out on the opportunity to hone their in-class, instructional skills before they are in front of their own students.
“Our survey examines the critical demands in teacher preparation as we continue to navigate the global health pandemic and prepare for the academic year beginning in the fall,” said Lynn M. Gangone, AACTE president and CEO. “With critical shortages already in the teacher pipeline, it is more important than ever to use technology innovation to move field placements forward.”
AACTE’s annual Washington Week is going virtual and we are excited to expand the advocacy campaign from a week to a month! This September will be filled with advocacy events that are sure to engage Members of Congress and their staff. Given the national climate, AACTE would like to elevate your invaluable work in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the midst of the many challenges we are all facing in 2020.
At this year’s Day on the Hill event, we will provide our Members of Congress with a “handbook” comprised of collected strategies by our members, describing their successes at their educator preparation programs (EPPs) in pursuit of diversity, equity and inclusion.
As a nation, we are facing racially and ethnically grounded injustices, which disproportionately impact our BIPOC students and educators. In a recent letter to Holmes students, AACTE President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone noted “that generations of citizens are molded by their educators, and so the work of fighting for racial equity begins in our member institutions—on your campuses.”
Sadly, the nation’s P-20 educators have never reflected the rich diversity of the students they serve. Gangone notes that while “the work that needs to be done to sow seeds of racial justice in our curriculum and in our teaching practices should not and cannot be solely completed by our students and faculty of color, the invaluable teaching and scholarship contributions of our diverse educators and candidates are the underpinning for system of education each student in our country deserves.