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National Superintendent of the Year Is an AACTE Member Alumnus

Curtis CainCurtis Cain, superintendent of Wentzville School District, in Wentzville, Mo., has been named the 2022 AASA National Superintendent of the Year®. He is also an alumnus of two AACTE member institutions: He completed his B.S. degree at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and his M.S. and Ph.D. at Iowa State University.

Cain has served as superintendent of Wentzville Schools, a district with more than 17,300 students, since 2013. The school system’s performance on the state’s Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) is in the top 13% of the more than 520 school districts in the state. Prior to joining Wentzville Schools, he served as the associate superintendent for educational services in the Shawnee Mission (Kan.) School District. He has also served as the director of curriculum and professional development for the Park Hill (Mo.) School District. He’s about to seek a new adventure, having been named the next superintendent this summer of the Rockwood School District, also a St. Louis suburb.

Innovation Begins with Education: It’s Time We Make it a Priority

This article originally appeared in District Administration and is reprinted with permission.

happy multiracial university students graduationOur nation’s most significant innovations stem from education. From the founding of our nation to the moon landing in 1969, from the introduction of personal computers in 1971 to the advent of the internet in 1983, such accomplishments would not have occurred without education and an educated populace. Without educators we will not continue to innovate, create, and lead the world. We have ignored the dwindling number of people entering the field of education for decades. As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of teachers exiting classrooms only continues to increase.

AACTE Presents on Teacher Shortage for District HR Officers and State Licensure Agencies

Webinar screenshotIn February, Vice President for Research Policy & Advocacy Jacqueline Rodriguez and I presented at the National Teacher Shortage Summit. The Summit was hosted by the American Association of School Personnel Administrators and co-sponsored by numerous organizations, including AACTE.  Our presentation summarized findings from numerous AACTE studies on trends in educator preparation and featured initiatives by several AACTE members to address the shortage of teachers and other essential educators.

The National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) subsequently recorded a webinar with the two of us, summarizing our presentation, and has made it available free for AACTE members. The webinar also features other presenters from the Summit.

Free and Open Academic Inquiry and Debate on Our Campuses Is Essential to Our Democracy and National Well-Being

AACTE was one of 94 higher education associations and organizations to issue the following joint statement:

Colleges and universities exist to examine complex issues, challenges, and ideas, and to provide a forum in which issues and opinions can be explored and openly debated. In our intensely politicized and divided country, with social media and societal silos coarsening already heated conversations, this can be extraordinarily challenging. Yet, fostering a rigorous and civil exchange of ideas has never been more important. To best serve American society, higher education institutions are committed to transparent intellectual inquiry and academic excellence, free speech, and civil discourse. It is incumbent on our governmental institutions to share and support this commitment.

Efforts to suppress inquiry, curb discussion, and limit what can be studied violate the basic principles of free speech and an open exchange of ideas, and undermine the very purpose of higher education. Nonetheless, some elected officials have proposed measures foreclosing evaluation of complex and challenging ideas.

AACTE Celebrates Public Schools Week, February 21 – 25

Girl in mask heading into schoolAACTE joins the Learning First Alliance (LFA) in celebrating Public Schools Week 2022, February 21 – 25, a time for administrators, teachers, specialists, teacher educators, parents, and school board members to participate in events and discuss the importance of public education.

As a partnering organization, AACTE recognizes that teachers, principals, and staff who serve in U.S. public schools are key to helping students succeed, especially in these extraordinary times and circumstances. With a focus on what educators have learned and what they are currently experiencing to rethink teaching and learning, this year’s Public Schools Week honors a commitment to school safety, equity, and engagement. AACTE invites members to take part in the week’s activities.

Leveraging Principal Prep Programs and State Partnerships

UPPI Podcast logoThroughout AACTE Presents: The University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI) podcast, guests have talked at length about the district’s role in working with preparation programs to produce effective school leaders, but what is the state’s role?  Each of the seven programs in UPPI were given a state partner as well, and in the final episode of the podcast, AACTE talks to authors of two Wallace Foundation commissioned reports on state policy and principal prep about how UPPI programs should be leveraging their state partnerships.

Strengthening the Early Childhood Profession: A New Report by NAEYC

Preparing a Profession: Perspectives of Higher Education Leaders on the Future of the Early Childhood Education WorkforceThe growing interest by policymakers to provide early childhood education to learners across the country has been met with celebration by parents and families, and support from education organizations, including AACTE. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) recently released a groundbreaking report addressing the future of the early childhood profession, Preparing a Profession: Perspectives of Higher Education Leaders on the Future of the Early Childhood Education Workforce. The report synthesizes interviews with key education stakeholders, including AACTE President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone, focused on two key areas: What is the status of the early childhood profession? and What can education institutions be doing to strengthen the preparation of early childhood educators?

Resource to Prepare, Retain High Quality Special and General Educators

A Framework for Change: Investing ESSER Funds to Prepare and Support Teachers of Students With Disabilities. AACTE joined the Educating All Learners Alliance (EALA) in 2020 as the pandemic gave rise to the growing challenges to teaching students with learning differences online. The Alliance steadfastly supports PK-20 students through resource development, including the newest resource: A Framework for Change: Investing ESSER Funds to Prepare and Support Teachers of Students With Disabilities

This resource was developed by EALA partners to give an overview of strategies for preparing and developing highly qualified general and special education teachers. It will show how states and districts can invest Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds to address the current and growing need for educators to support students with disabilities and their peers. It shares data and research on both current challenges and recommended strategies and outlines recommended actions for states, districts, and educator preparation programs.

AACTE Partners with LPI in the Teacher Licensure Collaborative Kickoff

Learning Policy Institute logoAACTE recently launched its year-long collaboration with the Teacher Licensure Collaborative (TLC), a partnership with the Learning Policy Institute, Education Commission of the States, and additional national partners. TLC is a gathering of national organizations and interested state education institutions working to advance revisions of state licensure and certification standards in order to incorporate whole child practices and to ensure alignment with the science of learning and development.

The partnership meeting began with a welcome from Linda Darling-Hammond, Ed.D., who explained the various motivations that inspired the creation of TLC.   The kickoff was an opportunity for all of the state team members to gather and learn about the collaborative’s goals and structure.  A few AACTE affiliate members were among the states participating in the TLC including Ohio, Massachusetts, and North Dakota.

New AACTE Podcast Episode Provides Insights into Education Leadership Program Redesign

The third episode of AACTE’s new University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI) Podcast series chronicling this Wallace Foundation multi-year principal program redesign initiative is now available. In the last episode, AACTE identified the gaps between “learning” and “doing.” In this episode, guests dive into a case study of the UPPI program at University of Connecticut (UConn ) and what they have learned from their program redesign. Episode 3 features Richard Gonzalez, who oversees the principalship and superintendency program at UConn and serves as the director of UConn’s UPPI initiative project. Gonzalez and current program candidate Symone James, explain the core assessments, how they were tied to clinical practice and what that structure accomplished in closing the “learning” and “doing” gap of principal preparation.

You’re Invited: Join Community Focused on Innovative Use Educational Technology

Various graphs and connectivity points  against boy using a virtual reality deviceThe Center for Innovation, Design, and Digital Learning (CIDDL) is inviting you to join a community of higher education faculty members focused on sharing tips and tricks, research-based practices, and strategies for innovative use of educational technology in educator or leadership preparation programs. CIDDL’s mission is to influence change that supports the appropriate use of educational technology in all early intervention/early childhood special education (EI/ECSE), related services, and K-12 learning environments to improve outcomes for all students, especially those with disabilities.

New Podcast Explores Gaps in the Journey to Becoming a Principal

While the role of the principal remains essential, it has evolved over time. Throughout its evolvement, preparation programs, districts, and state policy makers have worked in silos, creating gaps between the skills learned in an educator leadership program and what a principal actually does on the job. In the second episode of AACTE’s new University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI) Podcast series chronicling this Wallace Foundation multi-year principal program redesign initiative, listeners will learn what the research says about what the gaps between “learning” and “doing” and how to address them.

In the “Gaps in the Journey to Becoming a Principal” podcast segment, listeners will hear how those findings are seen and implemented through the eyes of one of the UPPI’s Project Directors, Tim Drake.

Fifty Percent of Teachers say, ‘Salary is Not Enough to Sustain Them Long-Term’

Nearly 1 in 5 teachers have to work second jobs.

The Teacher Salary Project surveyed 1100+ teachers nationally, with an oversample of recognized teachers (e.g., State Teachers of the Year -STOYs, Nationally Board Certified Teachers – NBCTs, Teach Plus Fellows, and others) and found:

  • Nearly half of the surveyed teachers say their salary was not sufficient to sustain them in teaching for the medium-to-long term (two-thirds when teachers who weren’t sure if they could continue teaching on their salary are included). 

NAEd Releases AACTE Commissioned Report Evaluating and Improving Teacher Preparation Programs

Landscape Analysis Report CoverLandscape Analysis Report

A Tale of Two Cities: State Evaluation Systems of Teacher Preparation Programs

The National Academy of Education (NAEd) steering committee for Evaluating and Improving Teacher Preparation Programs commissioned the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) to produce a teacher evaluation system landscape analysis, including a state-by-state summary of the evaluation system components and an analysis of similarities and differences between and among states. Authored by AACTE Dean in Residence Leslie T. Fenwick, this landscape analysis report presents information and data about state evaluation standards for teacher preparation programs and providers.

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