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The Education Ecosystem Crisis

Blackboard with word crisis crossed out and opprtunity written below.

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AACTE President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone and Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association, authored this article that originally appeared in the District Administration and is reprinted with permission.

CEO Lynn M. Gangone and Daniel A. DomenecOur nation’s education ecosystem is complex and multifaceted. When one component of the ecosystem is impacted, it creates a ripple effect that is felt throughout the entire system. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic created a tidal wave of uncertainties, resulting in budget cuts, teacher shortages, and remote learning challenges.

An ongoing concern for school districts, teacher shortages have now become more severe. Teachers are leaving the profession at an accelerated rate, due primarily to health concerns and budget furloughs, and forcing superintendents to close schools not because of infection, but due to a lack of personnel to keep them open. The shortage also expands beyond teachers. It includes bus drivers, cafeteria workers, custodians, and essential support staff. Such reductions, caused by budget cuts resulting from the pandemic, are having a crippling effect upon school districts, and increased operational costs are eroding critical funds necessary to hire the staff desperately needed for in-school instruction.

AACTE Partners with National Science Foundation to Advance Science Educator Preparation

AACTE | NSF logo

The American Association of Colleges Teacher Education (AACTE) has launched a new initiative to advance the use of simulation in science educator preparation. AACTE recently received the National Science Foundation (NSF) Discovery Research PreK-12 convening grant to address the critical need for well-qualified science educators who can teach effectively in a variety of face-to-face and virtual school settings and meet the needs of diverse learners.

NCLD and Understood Develop Free Distance Learning Toolkit

Young woman sitting on couch working on laptop

At Understood and the National Center for Learning Disabilities, we have been working to understand the challenges that distance learning has presented to students who learn differently.

In response, we have developed a practical resource to help educators more effectively support students with learning differences, and in turn all learners, during distance learning. Today, we are eager to share that resource with you and the world at large in our new  “Distance learning toolkit: Key practices to support students who learn differently.”

GoReact Partners with AACTE to Expand Access to Video Assessment for Teacher Education programs

Collaboration benefits AACTE member institutions with complimentary access to GoReact’s platform through July and discounted access thereafter.

GoReact and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) today announced a joint venture to expand educator preparation programs’ access to video assessment tools. The partnership was announced during AACTE’s 73rd Annual Meeting, the premier event for teacher education.

Through the partnership, AACTE member institutions can receive complimentary access to GoReact’s video assessment platform for a limited time and an ongoing discount thereafter. New GoReact users will receive free access to the platform until July 31, 2021, while existing GoReact users will receive expanded usage rights during the same timeframe. All AACTE members will receive a minimum of 10% discounted pricing following the complimentary service period. More than 175 AACTE member institutions currently use GoReact within their educator preparation programs.

Exemplary Educators Named to “Speaking Up for Public Schools” Panel Discussion

Learning First Alliance

AACTE Board member Kimberly White-Smith, dean, LaFetra College of Education at University of La Verne, is among the featured education leaders presenting at the “Speaking Up for Public Schools” livestream discussion on Tuesday, February 23 at 2:00 p.m.

Each year Public Schools Week brings together Learning First Alliance members, educators, parents, business and community leaders, and many others across the country to show the strength—and potential—of our nation’s public schools and our students’ futures. Even now, public schools are making connections each day with their students, families and broader communities.

We will celebrate Public Schools Week 2021, Feb. 22-26, virtually. On Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 2 p.m. EST the Learning First Alliance and its members will host a discussion on what has been learned and how public schools can move forward from the Covid-19 pandemic. The event will spotlight social-emotional learning and how the educators are meeting student needs as well as future needs. The show can be viewed on LFA’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.

CoSN Releases Driving K-12 Innovation Reports

COSN logoCoSN, the national association of school district technology leaders, recently released two reports, Driving K-12 Innovation: 2021 Hurdles + Accelerators and Driving K-12 Innovation: 2021 Tech Enablers. The Driving K-12 Innovation reports capture the top nine topics (challenges, mega-trends, and tools), according to an advisory board of approximately 100 school leaders, technologists, educators, and changemakers. AACTE was proud to serve on the advisory board that supported the development of the report for the second year in a row.

Through the Driving K-12 Innovation series, CoSN continues its commitment to sharing high-quality trend reports that support the use of emerging technology in K-12 education to transform learning. In this initiative, a global advisory board of K-12 leaders, practitioners, and changemakers engages in discourse about the major themes driving, hindering, and enabling teaching and learning innovation at schools. Their work is divided into three steps: an initial survey to select the topics for discussion; discussion; and a concluding survey to capture the final thoughts from advisory board members and discern the top topics to feature in each publication. (Learn more at cosn.org/k12innovation.)

ISTE Report Guides States in Re-envisioning the Future of Learning with Technology

From Crisis Management to Sustained Change: States Leading the Future of Learning With the ISTE StandardsISTE has released its newest policy report, “From Crisis Management to Sustained Change: States Leading the Future of Learning With the ISTE Standards.”

Fueled by the rapid transition to online and blended instruction in response to COVID-19 and continued need to equitably improve student outcomes, educators, and leaders across the country have faced an unprecedented challenge to design, implement, and scale learning strategies made possible through technology. This challenge also presents a new opportunity, as systems and strategies used to address COVID-19 can also propel our schools forward towards the future of learning and better meet students’ and educators’ needs.

Districts Advancing Racial Equity (DARE) Tool

Districts Addressing Racial Equity

This article originally appeared on the Learning Policy Institute website an is reprinted with permission. The article was written by Maria E. Hyler, Desiree Carver-ThomasMarjorie Wechsler, and Larkin Willis.

Decades of reforms have proven insufficient to address persistent racial disparities in educational opportunities. In school systems across the United States, meaningful efforts to ensure access to strong educational opportunities require a bold and significant shift. Policies and practice must not only prevent discrimination; they must move beyond simple notions of equality—in which every student gets the same—to equity—in which all students get what they need to develop academically, socially, emotionally, and physically.

School leaders who have been committed to racial equity understand the historical legacy of structural racism that reaches to our present context and that results in the educational opportunity gaps that students still experience. District staff who have focused on racial equity recognize that students’ individualized experiences, opportunities, and successes in school are deeply contextualized in the social reality of institutionalized racism across the United States. They seek to educate the individuals and ameliorate the systems that perpetuate inequitable opportunities and resulting outcomes for students.

Complete 2020-2021 Educator Supply and Demand Survey

AAEEThe American Association for Employment in Education (AAEE) is requesting AACTE members’ participation in the 2020-2021 Educator Supply and Demand Survey, conducted in conjunction with the Center for Marketing & Opinion Research, LLC (CMOR). Both AAEE members and non-members are invited and encouraged to participate.

With data and perceptions gathered from colleges, universities, and school systems over several decades, the report generated will provide you and your institution with valuable regional and national insights and trends in PK-12 educator supply and demand. An electronic version of this report will be provided to all respondents in Spring 2021 at no cost.

Completion of the survey should take about 15 minutes and all responses will remain confidential. 

Preview questions (in PDF format) prior to survey completion.

College or University? Complete this survey.

School District? Complete this survey.

AACTE Announces 2020 Technology Implementation Grant Recipients

Applications Now Accepted for AACTE’s Video Observation Technology Implementation Grant banner

AACTE is pleased to announce the 2020 recipients of the new AACTE Video Observation Technology Implementation Grant. AACTE offered the grant in partnership with Edthena to help educator preparation programs enhance training for future teachers in methods courses, field observations, skill building, and group learning via advanced technology.

“Both AACTE and Edthena understand that video observation technology has the potential to positively impact candidates during and after the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lynn M. Gangone, AACTE president and CEO. “AACTE is proud to collaborate with partners like Edthena to promote technology growth in schools and colleges of education.”

Desperate Circumstances Prompt a Desperate Call on Congress

COVID-19 outbreak impact This month, AACTE joined like-minded institutions in writing a letter to congressional leaders in updating their earlier findings regarding four key COVID-19-related economic indicators that are placing significant financial burdens on higher educational institutions. The emergence of more detailed data regarding these four categories (enrollment, student financial need, auxiliary revenues, and new expenditures) revealed the troubling truth that our prior estimates about the impact of COVID-19 on the economic health of educational institutions was significantly underestimated and that the challenges students and schools are facing are far more severe than initially thought.  

As a consequence of these updated findings, AACTE signed on to a new letter urging Congress and the Administration to finalize negotiations as quickly as possible on a supplemental spending bill of sufficient size to provide at least $120 billion in needed support to students and campuses across the country. The detailed new findings described in the letter, while suggesting a potentially long, painful economic road ahead for some higher ed, provides a detailed and illuminating accounting of the many ways COVID-19 is burdening enrollment, student aid, and revenues at institutions of higher learning around the country.

Register for Webinar Focused on the Role of Deans in Leading Teacher Preparation Reform

AACTE and CEEDAR (Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform) Center are partnering together to present a webinar centered on a special issue brief, Leading and Engaging Faculty in Teacher Preparation Reform: The Role of Deans. The issue brief summarizes the experiences in leadership of six current and former deans who have been identified as engaging in successful collaborative reform efforts within their colleges.

During the one-hour event, Mary Brownwell will talk with Marquita Grenot-Scheyer and Kandi Hill-Clarke about the issue brief and their experiences of cultivating collaboration and supporting innovation among general and special education faculty who share responsibility to support students in diverse and inclusive classrooms. Since few resources exist to support deans in their efforts to work with faculty to engage in this work, AACTE and CEEDAR believe the experiences of these leaders will be useful to other deans as they work toward similar outcomes.

Register for the webinar, which will take place December 16 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. (ET). Learn more about the panelists:

Mark the Date: Public Schools Week 2021

Public Schools Week 2021 logoAACTE is joining its partner Learning First Alliance in celebrating Public Schools Week, February 22-26, 2021, to bring attention to the great accomplishments and great needs of public education. While schools are a place for nurture and learning, the global pandemic has created massive challenges for public schools. Still, public schools across the country have kept 50.7 million schoolchildren, 3.2 million teachers, and many other school staff and parents safe.

According to Learning First Alliance, public schools are emphasizing new goals this year:

  • Keep children healthy by creating new educational practices, including cleaning, maintaining social distance, and screening those who need to be treated;
  • Feed millions of students outside of school;
  • Expand internet connectivity of students;
  • Teach more effectively online by adapting existing curriculums; and,
  • Increase awareness of racial justice and mental health and seek ways to connect to students who are grieving or traumatized.

LFA Urges CDC Committee on Vaccine Priorities to Consider School Staff

In partnership with Learning First Alliance, AACTE supports a letter sent to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) committee on vaccine priorities requesting that school personnel are a priority group once the administration of a COVID-19 vaccine begins. Below is a reprint from our partner organization, AASA: The School Superintendent Association, outlining the request.

LFA Board to CDC Committee on Vaccine Priorities

As part of our work with the Learning First Alliance, this week, AASA sent a letter to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) committee on vaccine priorities requesting that school personnel – including teachers, specialized instructional support personnel, aides, food service and custodial workers, and principals – are a priority group once the administration of a COVID-19 vaccine begins. Specifically, the letter highlights the profound impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy and indicates that prioritizing school personnel for the initial distribution is critical for building public trust and reaching the vaccine target immunity goal.

The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, American Federation of Teachers, American School Counselor Association, Consortium for School Networking, Learning Forward, National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Education Association, National PTA, National School Boards Association, and National School Public Relations Association joined AASA in this effort. If you want to check out the full letter, then click here!

 

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