Rather Than Resisting Higher Expectations, Teachers Colleges Are Driving Them

The New York Times editorial “Help Teachers Before They Get to Class” (October 15) repeats outdated canards about teacher preparation that are as misguided as the new federal regulations celebrated in the editorial. Far from resisting higher expectations, teachers colleges are driving them.

Higher education institutions and states have raised program entry requirements in recent years, and the academic qualifications of admitted students have increased apace. By referencing an outdated and widely discredited report, the editorial misses this fact, reflected in publicly available federal datasets: today’s undergraduates preparing to be teachers have an average GPA of 3.2 on college work required for admission to the program.

Nov. 3 Webinar to Discuss Tools, Partnerships Supporting School Leader Development

Please join me November 3, 3:00-4:00 p.m.  EDT, for a free webinar, Effective Tools to Support School Leader Licensure and Professional Development: Mentoring, Modeling, and Support.

In several states, collaborative work among school districts, universities, and state agencies is supporting the development and deployment of new standards for school leaders’ preparation and practice. Hear from several participants in these partnerships about the instruments and other supports they’ve produced.

Registration Open for April Quality Support Workshop in Texas

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Registration is now open for AACTE’s first Quality Support Workshop, to be held April 24-26 in Fort Worth, Texas. Bring your team for 2 days of hands-on, expert-facilitated learning and planning around performance assessment, continuous improvement, and quality assurance.

The event is the first in a new series of regional workshops announced last month, offered through the AACTE Quality Support Center. A core component of AACTE’s mission is to support institutions’ continuous improvement efforts. With learning outcomes focused on topics of national or local interest, these workshops will provide accessible, targeted support for teams of faculty and staff.

Ball State Wins AASCU Award for Community-Based Program

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) has selected the “Schools Within the Context of Community” (SCC) program at Ball State University (IN) to receive the 2016 Christa McAuliffe Excellence in Teacher Education Award. The award will be presented October 30 at the AASCU Annual Meeting and recognized again at the AACTE Annual Meeting in March 2017.

Launched in 2009 as a partnership between Ball State University’s Department of Elementary Education and the Whitely neighborhood of Muncie, Indiana, the SCC program takes a unique approach to teacher education. It immerses preservice candidates in a low-income, African-American community where they are carefully matched with mentors who serve as cultural ambassadors and impart the strengths and values of the community.

Coalition Objects to Final Teacher Prep Regulations

On October 20, a coalition of higher education, PK-12, and state-level organizations released a statement citing concerns about the final teacher preparation program regulations released last week by the U.S. Department of Education. AACTE is one of nearly 30 organizations signing on to the statement.

Among these organizations’ concerns about the new rule are that it will decrease the likelihood of every student having access to a fully prepared teacher, disadvantage programs serving the communities that most need well-prepared teachers, and impede progress toward increasing the diversity of the teaching profession.

Member Voices: Listen to the Children

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This article originally appeared as Ena Shelley’s monthly “Transforming Education” column; it is reposted with permission. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

“While we try to teach our children all about life, they teach us what life is all about.” – Anonymous

You are likely reading this on the brink of our national election. There have been months of bickering, insult slinging, and behavior that would not be tolerated in most of our classrooms. Certainly there are adult issues that must be addressed, yet I sometimes wonder that if we remembered more often the voices and ears of children, we might find the margins of compromise that allow debates to become more about the “us” and less about the “them.” Children truly have wisdom and perspective that adults sometimes forget or lose in the busyness of life. I am sharing three links in this column that are the voices of younger children and adolescents. What if those running for political office, as well as those who already hold a policy-making position, and the media gave more time and attention to the wisdom they have to offer?

On the ‘Residency Era’ in Teacher Preparation

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

When John Dewey wrote of the need to create an “intimate union” between the university and the elementary school such that each is a laboratory for the other, he was speaking of a need that is still yet to be fully satiated. Today’s increasing prevalence of the residency model, however – supported by a growing body of research and application across diverse settings – is ushering in a new era that offers new promise toward achieving Dewey’s vision.

For Dewey, the intimate union would have the university contributing “to the evolution of valuable subject-matter and right method while the school in turn will be a laboratory in which the student of education sees theories and ideas demonstrated, tested, criticized, enforced, and the evolution of new truths” (Dewey, 1900/1990, p. 93). And although Dewey’s University of Chicago Laboratory Schools flourish as a living instantiation of his intimate union, in many practical ways the ideal has proven elusive.

Seven Universities to Take Part in New $47M Effort to Improve Principal Preparation

The Wallace Foundation has named seven universities to partner with their local school districts as part of a new $47 million initiative to improve principal preparation, particularly for high-need schools. We heartily congratulate the recipients – all AACTE member institutions – and their partners selected for the University Principal Preparation Initiative (the following descriptions are courtesy of The Wallace Foundation):

Clinical Practice Commission Convenes, Refines Work

Last week, AACTE’s Clinical Practice Commission (CPC) met to continue its consensus work regarding clinical experiences in teacher preparation. Colorado State University was a gracious host, and the high altitude was matched perfectly by the commission’s high expectations.

After our last meeting in June, commission members had been hard at work reviewing literature, considering exemplars, and drafting pieces of a large research document. Early on at this meeting, we affirmed our belief in the centrality of clinical practice and clinical partnerships for high-quality teacher education programs and practices. In hopes of maximizing the usefulness and traction of our work in the field, we decided to adjust our focus to producing a shorter white paper outlining bold claims and key supporting tenets for successful clinical partnerships and practices. The white paper will be accompanied by several additional pieces of scholarship aimed at different audiences and providing more details.

Sharon Robinson to Retire in July 2017

Press Release

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(October 18, 2016, Washington, DC) – The AACTE Board of Directors today announced the planned departure of President and Chief Executive Officer Sharon P. Robinson. After more than a decade at AACTE, Robinson will retire in July 2017.

“On behalf of the entire Board of Directors, I would like to thank Dr. Robinson for her many contributions to AACTE,” said AACTE Board of Directors Chair Jane Bray. “Since 2005, Dr. Robinson has led AACTE to achievements well beyond our expectations and has challenged our profession to aspire to great heights. AACTE is met with mixed feelings as Dr. Robinson deservingly transitions into retirement. We are happy for her next phase of life and grateful for her wonderful tenure, yet we realize she leaves a cavernous hole for us to fill.”

Award Application Deadline EXTENDED to Oct. 26

AACTE has extended the application deadline for the 2017 Best Practice and Professional Achievement Awards until October 26! Now you have an extra 2 weeks to submit an entry through AACTE’s online submission site or to finish an entry you have already started. For detailed submission information, please refer to the official Call for Entries.

Our Best Practice Awards recognize your institution’s exemplary and innovative work in one of three areas:

Gafford Named Oct. Holmes Scholar of the Month

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Congratulations to October Holmes Scholar of the Month Cara Gafford!

Gafford is a 4th-year doctoral student at Bowie State University (MD). She is also academy director (vice principal) of the Academy of Information Technology at Friendship Collegiate Academy, a college preparatory high school in Washington, DC.

Her research interests include science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and student achievement in STEM learning at high-poverty schools.

AACTE Urges Scrutiny of Final Federal Regulations for Teacher Prep. Programs

Press Statement

(October 12, 2016, Washington, DC) – Today, the U.S. Department of Education released its final rule on the regulations for each of our nation’s 26,000 teacher preparation programs. The official version will be published in the Federal Register by the end of the month, and the Department is expected to release guidance in the coming weeks as well. AACTE is carefully analyzing the new rule and urges members and stakeholders to do the same to determine its potential impact on the profession.