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‘The Iceberg Effect’—Not Just About Asking Questions

Upon arriving at AACTE last month to begin our semester-long internship, we were whisked off to the National Press Club for a press briefing on The Iceberg Effect, based on the new studySchool Performance in Context: Indicators of School Inputs and Outputs in Nine Similar Nations. For three doctoral students who are dedicated to promoting social justice in and out of the classroom, this could not have been a more fitting introduction to our work at AACTE.

The report, released by the National Superintendents Roundtable and the Horace Mann Foundation, casts new light on U.S. students’ performance on international assessments, controlling for social and economic factors that have not been previously studied alongside student achievement on this scale. The results highlight the relatively strong academic achievement of America’s students in spite of our nation’s poor performance in providing supports to help offset the widespread social and economic effects of poverty.

Panel: Proposed Federal Regulations Could Have Negative Impact on Teacher Diversity

On Tuesday, January 27, the American Federation of Teachers and Howard University (DC) convened a panel at the National Press Club to discuss the potential impact of the proposed federal teacher preparation regulations on minority-serving institutions (MSIs) and their teacher pipelines. AACTE President/CEO Sharon P. Robinson was among the panelists who shared their concerns and urged the U.S. Department of Education to withdraw the regulations.

Implementation Conference Reflects Growth, Experience of edTPA Community

The third annual edTPA National Implementation Conference, held last month in Los Angeles, drew nearly 400 educators and policy leaders from 28 states and more than 100 universities.

Convened at the University of California Los Angeles to accommodate record attendance, this year’s conference featured 32 plenary and breakout sessions, including a panel on how to promote and sustain partnerships between teacher preparation programs and cooperating PK-12 schools.

Teacher-Quality Coalition Issues Policy Roadmap for Teacher, Principal Development

Recognizing the fact that students in many high-need schools continue to have disproportionately low access to great educators, on Tuesday the Coalition for Teaching Quality (CTQ) released Excellent Educators for Each and Every Child: A Policy Roadmap for Transforming the Teaching and Principal Professions. The Coalition also held House and Senate briefings on Capitol Hill with practitioners to help explain the importance of these strategies to address the inequity of opportunity.

In the policy roadmap, CTQ—which comprises more than 100 civil rights, disability, rural, youth, higher education, principal, and education advocacy organizations, including AACTE, dedicated to ensuring that every child has fully prepared and effective educators—presents a vision for a continuum of the teaching and principal professions to ensure every child has well-prepared and effective educators.

September Reading List

With the school year now in full swing, we know it’s a challenge to stay on top of your professional reading. Here are a few hot assignments you won’t want to miss:

1. Journal of Teacher Education

The latest issue of AACTE’s journal offers fascinating insights into the professional development and practice of teacher educators. Based on the premise that “while research on teaching informs research on teacher education, the latter needs a specialized knowledge base of its own” (see the issue’s editorial), articles address general and specific elements of that knowledge base, professional identity, core practices, and more.

Extra credit:Read the latest research to be published in future issues of the journal! It’s posted on a rolling basis in Sage’s Online First system.


Engaging in Successful Change: edTPA in New York State

On July 22, New York Commissioner of Education John King convened a task force to advise the state on its future use of edTPA, a performance assessment system for aspiring teachers that is now required for licensure in New York.

As the first state to fully implement policy requiring new teachers to pass edTPA for licensure, New York and its PK-12 educators and teacher educators have encountered a variety of operational challenges. Every state that follows New York, as well as our larger professional community, will benefit from New York’s initiative, experience, and solutions.

Consequential use of edTPA is just one of four assessment innovations rolled out in New York’s ambitious new licensing process. (Other required licensure assessments are the Educating All Students exam, Academic Literacy Skills test, and certificate-specific Content Specialty Tests.) While some of us have expressed concern about the rapid roll-out schedule, it is apparent that many candidates were indeed ready to meet the rigorous new requirements: The initial edTPA pass rate was 84%, which we find impressive and encouraging.

Lock Haven University Hosts Pennsylvania Core Summit

Last week, I participated in a summit at Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania on implementing and preparing for the Pennsylvania Core Standards. In attendance were the institution’s president and vice provost along with faculty, deans, and other administrators from throughout the university. Administrators and teachers from nearby PK-12 school districts as well as representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Education also joined us.

Following my keynote presentation discussing the fundamental instructional shifts of the Pennsylvania Core, all vested stakeholder groups took part in a conversations addressing the impact of the standards on their programs and the supplemental changes necessary to enact to support implementation. Among the suggested changes were strengthening ties with the PK-12 districts to provide necessary clinical experiences for candidates and deepening core content knowledge of both in-service and preservice teachers. One great idea was for the university to host academies throughout the summer to provide training for PK-12 teachers and administrators.

Symposium to Mark 60th Anniversary of Brown Decision

Next month marks the 60th anniversary of the historic Brown v. Board of Education decision that put an end to legalized segregation of U.S. public schools. To commemorate the occasion, George Mason University (VA) is hosting a film screening and symposium on Monday, April 28. (AACTE is a promotional partner for the event.)

The free symposium, titled “Unspoken Histories of Unequal Education,” will kick off with an hors d’oeuvres reception at 6:00 p.m., followed by a screening of the film Stolen Education. After the movie, join the filmmaker (Professor Enrique Alemán, Jr., of the University of Utah) and other esteemed panelists to discuss the film and the impact and relevancy of Brown today.

Spring CAEP Conference Draws a Crowd

Last week’s conference of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) drew some 1,100 educators to Nashville, Tennessee, to learn more about the new accreditation system.

Offering workshops for the various accreditation pathways, a mixture of keynote presentations, panel and plenary sessions, networking events, and group work, the conference brought together educator preparation providers, member associations, researchers, and practitioners from across the country.

Senate Hearing on Teacher Prep Examines Data Collection, TQP Grants

On March 25, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) convened the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) to consider changes to Title II of the Higher Education Act (HEA), the portion of the law that addresses teacher preparation. This was the seventh hearing in a series in the Senate on HEA reauthorization.

The predominant theme of the hearing was concern that the Title II data reporting requirements for teacher preparation programs are out of date, onerous, and not useful for program improvement. All five witnesses agreed on this point and offered recommendations for change.

U.S. House Hearing Scrutinizes Teacher Preparation

On February 27, the U.S. House subcommittee on elementary and secondary education and the subcommittee on higher education held a hearing titled “Exploring Efforts to Strengthen the Teaching Profession.”

Witnesses included Marcy Singer-Gabella, professor of the Practice of Education at Vanderbilt University (TN), along with two officials from state departments of education and the director of an alternative-route program.

Toward an Ever More Data-Literate Future

Data literacy is not a new concept in education. Teachers and school leaders are constantly processing data—on student behavior, attendance, performance on assessments, district- and state-level data, etc.—and utilizing it to improve student and school outcomes. What is new, though, is the burgeoning amount of data now generated by district- and state-wide data systems, think tanks, research and policy organizations, and multiple other sources including schools themselves. The Data Quality Campaign (DQC) has been leading the push for equitable access to this information—and the push to develop educators who can filter out the “white noise” and home in on the data that are relevant to their classrooms and schools.

Career Advancement for Teachers Targeted in New Report

On December 12, the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) and Pearson’s Center for Educator Effectiveness released a research report at an interactive launch event at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

At the event, a panel of several former teachers of the year joined American Enterprise Institute Resident Scholar Frederick Hess to discuss the conditions necessary to develop sustainable career pathways that might make teaching a more attractive career option for a new generation of educators. The panel also discussed the benefits of teacher preparation resources such as edTPA and the role of educator preparation programs in enhancing teacher leadership roles.

U.S. Senate Hearing on Accreditation Shines a Light on CAEP

On December 12, I attended a hearing in the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) billed as “Accreditation as Quality Assurance: Meeting the Needs of 21st Century Learning.” This was one of a series of 13 hearings the Committee is holding in preparation for the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) chaired the hearing, and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) sat as ranking Republican on the Committee. Other members in attendance were Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Al Franken (D-MN), and Christopher Murphy (D-CT). A full recording of the hearing along with written remarks from speakers can be found here. (You will note my presence in the audience!)

Article: How to Choose an Effective Teacher Preparation Program

The editors of Go Teach magazine recently turned to AACTE to help prospective teacher candidates navigate the proliferation of conflicting visions of what constitutes effective teacher preparation. In response, my colleague Saroja Barnes and I coauthored an article for the magazine that ran in the November/December issue as the cover story, “How to Choose an Effective Teacher Preparation Program.”  

Based on relevant research on teacher preparation, the article points to several key components of high-quality programs that potential teacher candidates should consider. Structured by seven key questions, the article guides prospective candidates to think through the following issues when exploring teacher preparation pathways:

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