AACTE to Launch Inaugural End-of-Year Giving Campaign on #GivingTuesday

For over 75 years, AACTE has led the nation’s thought leaders and practitioners in advancing teacher education. In addressing the ever-growing shortage of qualified educators, AACTE brings together educators, advocates, policymakers, and practitioners to move from theory to action. AACTE does this through advancing curriculum innovation, developing guidelines for teaching apprenticeships, diversifying faculties of colleges of education, and much more.

Now, for the first time, AACTE is adding another group to join us in advancing teacher education by inviting individual donors to be AACTE champions, investing in our work to elevate educator preparation and grow the educator workforce.

Beginning with #GivingTuesday on November 28, AACTE is launching its inaugural End-of-Year Individual Giving Campaign, “The Future of Teacher Education Starts Now.” As an AACTE supporter, you champion the work of an association that remains the leader in advancing a highly qualified and diverse group of educators for our PreK-12 and higher education communities.

Register Now – November 29 Lunch with Lynn

AACTE will host the November 29 virtual Lunch with Lynn, “The Holmes Program Today,” to showcase the history and work of the Holmes Program, which supports the graduate work of ethnically and racially diverse students at member institutions. AACTE President & CEO Lynn M. Gangone will be joined by Lisa F. Huffman and Gina Anderson from Texas Woman’s University where the program has grown and expanded despite statewide efforts to hamper DEI efforts. Weade James, AACTE’s vice president of advancement and Holmes Program alumna will also join the conversation to provide an update on recent program successes and expanded opportunities for participants.

Register today for the November 29 Lunch with Lynn.

Biden-Harris Administration Launches Initiative to Promote Multilingual Education for a Diverse Workforce

As part of its Raise the Bar: Create Pathways for Global Engagement, the Biden-Harris Administration launched “Being Bilingual is a Superpower,” an initiative by the U.S. Department of Education (Department) to promote multilingual education and bolster high-quality language programs and a diverse multilingual educator workforce across the country. 

“Being Bilingual is a Superpower” will promote and further the understanding of bilingualism and biliteracy as an educational and economic imperative for student success, global competitiveness, and engagement. The new initiative under the Department’s Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) seeks to promote research-based bilingual educational opportunities and language instruction in early learning education settings and beyond. 

“Make no mistake: multilingualism is a superpower. Knowing more than one language, acquiring a new language through school, or learning new languages later in life can provide tangible academic, cognitive, economic, and sociocultural advantages,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “As our nation continues to grow more diverse, and as our global economy becomes more interconnected, we cannot seize our nation’s full potential to compete and lead the world unless we Raise the Bar and provide all students with opportunities to become multilingual.”

Webinar Reflection: Leveraging Technology and Digital Advances to Develop Global Competencies in Teacher Educators and Candidates

This blog article is part of the Global Education Faculty PLC Professional Development Series, sponsored by the Longview Foundation. The writing series aims to elevate the perspectives of international scholars, including teacher educators, graduate students, and alike, to offer insights into how Educator Preparation Programs (EPPs) can integrate intercultural understanding within their programs. AACTE members interested in participating in the series should contact Brooke Evans at bevans@aacte.org.

On October 12, AACTE presented the webinar, Leveraging Technology and Digital Advances to Develop Global Competencies in Teacher Educators and Candidates. The moderator was Lin Wu (Western Oregon University), and the panelists were Michael Kopish (Ohio University), Iveta Silova (Arizona State University), and Yong Zhao (University of Kansas, University of Melbourne). Attendees learned ways technology can be used to develop global competencies for both teacher educators and their students.

In Scotland, we are in the process of reviewing our awarding of qualifications and assessments to improve educational outcomes. Interestingly, much of what was discussed by the three presenters in this webinar aligned with the Scottish (June 2023) report: “It’s Our Future — Independent Review of Qualifications & Assessment.”

Zhao spoke about the divisive nature of many education systems. His reference to the decline in reading age PISA scores is completely relevant and something that needs to be addressed. However, many educational systems can feel deflated by a decline in data, particularly when it is not tangible, not something seen in school at an interface-level when the socio-economic context (financial divide) is more visible and pertinent. Zhao takes cognizance of the divide, by indicating that we should be preparing children to “create our future” and “serve humanity.” He also refers to the wide spectrum of learners and abilities by stating that education systems have “limitations,” but we need to ensure that learners “achieve equally well but in different ways.” This perspective is outlined in the Scottish review under the chapter “Changing the Culture of Education in Scotland,” where the model of change supports that of integrity: Are we shaping our system to serve all stakeholders, or are we at a global competency level, not confident to acknowledge the systems and practices which require change? 

The University of Indianapolis Announces Gift to Establish Learning Resource Center

The University of Indianapolis (UIndy) is delighted to announce a significant gift in memory of Nanci Vargus. This generous gift was provided by Nanci’s daughter, Jilda Vargus-Adams who wanted to create a lasting legacy for her mother’s commitment and dedication to education and her remarkable impact on the University.

The University will establish the Nanci Vargus Learning Resource Center to remember Nanci’s legacy. Nanci was an educator at the university for over 20 years who used her expertise and kindness to guide elementary and college-age students alike in their journeys to literacy.

“As a child, Mom literally read every book in her local library’s children’s section. She loved books.  But more than that, she loved the joy that everyone can get from reading and she built her career with that goal in mind,” Vargus-Adams said. “Both as an elementary school teacher and as a professor of education, Mom endeavored to ensure that all children could have the gift of literacy.”

Special Education Teacher Advocates Invited to Second Meeting of AACTE, CEEDAR Collaboration

Championing Special Educators: Strategies for Recruitment & Retention in Educator Preparation, a Collaboration Between AACTE and CEEDAR

On November 30, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET, special education teacher advocates are invited to attend the second meeting of the new national affinity group, Championing Special Educators: Strategies for Recruitment & Retention in Educator Preparation. The second meeting, Making a Special Education Degree Affordable, will dive into two educator preparation programs that are using Teacher Quality Partnership Program (TQP) grants to financially enable students to pursue a special education degree.

American University’s Carolyn Parker and Sarah Irvine Belson will share information on their recent TQP-funded program, Residency for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (RETL), a master’s program that is being developed through a unique initiative that will leverage the resources and expertise of a partnership between American University’s School of Education, College of Arts and Sciences, and the Friendship Public Charter Schools (FPCS).

Come Early and Learn More at #AACTE24 Preconferences

The AACTE Annual Meeting is a cornerstone event for educators, researchers, and education leaders alike. While the main conference offers a wealth of insights and networking opportunities, there is an often-overlooked gem that deserves special attention — Preconference opportunities. Attending AACTE Preconference activities is an excellent way to invest your time and commitment to learning during the Annual Meeting. Check out the schedule and descriptions below to see what this year’s preconference has to offer.

PEN America Publishes New Report on 2023 Censorship Efforts in PK-12 and University Classrooms

PEN America’s new report, America’s Censored Classrooms 2023: Lawmakers Shift Strategies as Resistance Rises, written by program director Jeremy C. Young and research consultant Jeffrey Adam Sachs has now been published, highlighting the progress of educational gag orders as a result of state legislative sessions in 2023.

The report finds that, while the threat of gag orders has not diminished this year, the form and structure of such laws have changed dramatically. According to the report, more gag orders became law this year than in 2022, though fewer were introduced.

In PK-12, there was a major shift away from critical race theory (CRT) bans toward “Don’t Say Gay” bills, many of them as a result of Florida’s law last year. These bills attempted to censor any mention of gender, sexuality, or identity in the classroom, including extending some bans all the way through grade 12. In higher education, there was a shift away from classroom restrictions and toward limits on university governance processes that protect academic freedom. Diversity and inclusion bans, curricula, general education courses, accreditation agencies, and even university mission statements were censored, particularly in Florida, and Texas, and a bill still under consideration in Ohio.

Safe and Productive Field Experiences for LGBTQ+ Candidates Covered in Upcoming AACTE Webinar

Growing up in a small, conservative community, I learned early on to keep my true self hidden. My sexuality was a secret I guarded fiercely, aware that in the close-knit circles of my hometown, it wouldn’t be accepted. This knowledge cast a shadow over my youth, but it also ignited a flame within me — a determination to find a path that led beyond the confines of narrow-mindedness. Education was my beacon, my compass guiding me through the fog of fear and judgment.

I clung to the belief that if I could excel in school, make it to college, and become a teacher, I could escape the suffocating atmosphere of my hometown. This goal was my lifeline, pulling me forward through years of silent struggle. And eventually, I made it. I was accepted into a teacher education program, a tangible step toward the life I yearned for — one where I could be true to myself without fear.

But the journey was far from straightforward. In one of my final field experience placements I was assigned a cooperating teacher, Mrs. H, who was known for her expertise in classroom management and innovative teaching methods but who, I soon discovered, harbored strong negative opinions about the LGBTQ community. She often made dismissive comments, cloaked in humor but cutting deep, about “people choosing to be gay.”

SIU Researchers Explore Virtual Training to Foster Faster, Better Decisions in Sports and More

This article was originally published by Southern Illinois University.

Split-second decisions frequently determine the outcome of a game, a medical procedure, a military battle, or a law enforcement situation. Scott Boatright, a doctoral candidate at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, is conducting research to see if people can train with simulation and extended reality to make judgments more quickly and effectively. His work has already garnered national recognition along with a $10,000 scholarship from the National Training and Simulation Association (NTSA).

Boatright, of Tampa, Florida, has been working on the project in the School of Education’s Organizational Learning, Innovation and Development (OLID) program with Peter Fadde, OLID professor of learning systems design and technology.

“The goal is to systemize and speed up the training and learning experience,” Fadde said. “We asked ourselves, how we could take the seemingly intuitive decision-making process used by experts and capture their methodology and expertise and train others to use it faster and faster.”

Boatright said getting to work on this innovative research using video-occlusion technology, a form of virtual reality, with Fadde and other SIU faculty is what drew him to SIU.

“I developed a keen interest in applying my classroom knowledge to the real world. Specifically, the application of innovative training methods and technologies, such as extended reality, to improve human performance in dynamic, high-pressure environments,” Boatright said.

In Hawaii: Teaching Kids To Read Is Going Back To Basics

This article was originally published on October 29, 2023, with Honolulu Civic Beat.

At Makakilo Elementary, Christine Carder posed a question to her first graders. “What letters make the sound ‘ea’ as in tea?” The class eagerly scrambled to write down the correct letter combination in their notebooks.

This exercise helps to build students’ phonemic awareness, instructional coach Karen Yogi explained to the group of parents invited to observe Makakilo’s reading lessons for the morning. Older students will later advance to activities such as reading in pairs and assessing each other’s fluency and vocabulary skills, Yogi added.

“This is why my son says he’s famished at dinner, instead of hungry,” said parent Donna Sinclair, noting the improvement she’s seen in her fifth-grader’s vocabulary this year.

Makakilo Elementary is one of about 80 schools in the state to receive funding from a roughly $50 million federal grant awarded in 2019 to improve literacy among the country’s youngest readers.

Kern Family Foundation’s Master of Arts in Character Education Scholarship Opportunity

The Kern Family Foundation is pleased to announce an exciting opportunity. The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues at the University of Birmingham located in Edgbaston, U.K. delivers a Master of Arts (MA) in Character Education. The MA program is a part-time degree that is taught online over three years giving students the flexibility to complete the program alongside full-time employment. The 2024 cohort begins in September 2024.

The university will offer scholarships covering the full tuition expense for a select number of U.S. citizens, who live and work in the United States. This scholarship is known as the Kern Award. As a valued partner of the foundation, we invite you or one of your esteemed colleagues to apply for the program.

At 11:00 a.m. CST on December 14, 2023, Paul Watts, Ph.D., program lead for the MA in Character Education, will be presenting an information session about the program via Zoom.

Department of Education and Partners Launch PSA Campaign – Teachers: Leaders Shaping Lives

On November 9, the U.S. Department of Education, TEACH.org, and the One Million Teachers of Color (1MToC) Campaign announced their partnership for a new public service announcement (PSA), Teachers: Leaders Shaping Lives.

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and the Biden Administration are prioritizing teachers and the shortage crisis by investing in strong teacher pipelines that focus on diversifying the profession. AACTE was consulted on this project and on the development of the PSA.

By demonstrating the value and impact of teaching, the PSA looks to elevate the profession, shift perceptions, ignite respect, celebrate teachers, and inspire more talented people — especially Black and Latino talent — to become teachers.  In a LinkedIn Live event that accompanied the PSA launch, Secretary Cardona dived into teacher diversity and shortages, stating that the teacher shortage is a symptom of a teacher respect issue.

Promoting AI Safety in Education

InnovateEDU is reviving the EdSAFE AI Alliance to promote the responsible use of AI in education on a global scale. As a founding steering committee member, AACTE joins the EdSAFE AI Alliance alongside fellow education and learning partners to foster AI policy, collaboration, and best practices for PK-12 education.

Originally convened in 2020 and operative through September 2023,  the newly revived alliance will continue its mission based on its core philosophy, the SAFE Framework:

  • Safety: data privacy and security and a “do no harm” approach;
  • Accountability: clear stakeholder responsibilities;
  • Fairness: bias-free equity and ethics; and
  • Efficacy: demonstrable learning outcomes from the use of AI technology.

The working goals of the EdSAFE AI Alliance’s mission include guiding responsible policy development, crafting initiatives to bring such policy to fruition, publishing white papers, supporting district and state policy labs, and creating special fellowship programs.

More information is available at EdSAFE’s new website.

Department of Education Provides New Raise the Bar Brief and Map Data

The U.S. Department of Education has published a new Raise the Bar Policy Brief, Eliminating Educator Shortages through Increasing Educator Diversity and Addressing High-need Shortage Areas. The brief highlights key Department efforts to support and advance educator diversity and address high-need shortage areas, as well as national and state data on teacher diversity and areas in which states have particular shortages. It includes visualizations spotlighting state and national data on educator diversity, including in a range of roles and the diversity of students enrolled in educator preparation programs, as well as data on states’ projected shortage areas for 2023-24.

The Department is committed to a comprehensive policy agenda to recruit, prepare, and retain a racially, culturally, and linguistically diverse and well-prepared educator workforce. This includes promoting educator diversity while recruiting, preparing, retaining, and supporting teachers, administrators, and other educators and ensuring that education is a profession that people from all backgrounds can pursue. Developing and supporting a diverse educator workforce is critical to strengthening student success. Additionally, addressing high-need shortage areas ensures all students have access to a high-quality, well-rounded education. Through Raise the Bar: Lead the World, the Department is working in partnership with states, tribes, local educational agencies (LEAs), and educator preparation programs (EPPs), including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs), Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), to eliminate educator shortages in our nation’s schools and to strengthen and diversify the education profession.