This article originally appeared in University Business and is reprinted with permission.
Photo by Nikolas Noonan on Unsplash
At the onset of the 2020-21 academic year, the educational system is in a coronavirus maze, wherein the turns are constantly changing, and the end seems out of sight. While state education departments, school districts and educator preparation programs (EPPs) are prepared—whether in class, online, or a hybrid of both—the pandemic reminds us how unpredictable the road ahead may be. Recently, some schools in the United States that reopened for in-class instruction have reversed their plans due to COVID-19 outbreaks.
Board Maintains Commitment to Review, Improve Teacher Prep Standards on a Seven-Year Cycle
The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) is seeking input on proposed changes to the 2013 CAEP Standards for educator preparation. The CAEP Standards guide the nation’s top schools of education, those that are CAEP accredited, in preparing future K-12 teachers. CAEP is the only accreditor of educator preparation providers recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
“Our education preparation providers are committed to continuous improvement, and so are we. The 2013 CAEP Standards were developed to unify the profession under a single set of standards, with a commitment to ensure they remain rigorous. CAEP set the bar for programs that prepare future educators: They need to demonstrate their graduates are ready to teach on the first day they enter a classroom,” said CAEP President Christopher A. Koch. “Maintaining high quality standards, based on relevant research is costly and time-consuming. More than 30 states partner with us because we are able to tap volunteer experts in the field who committed to excellence and give their time and talents to ensure our standards are rigorous, relevant, and a model for successful teaching of our nation’s children and youth.”
In early spring, when the coronavirus (COVID-19) shut the doors to classrooms, there was an optimistic belief that by fall the obstacles of the pandemic would disappear and in-class instruction would return to normal. However, as states began to lift emergency orders and school districts prepared to reopen schools, it became evident that education leaders would still be grappling with the unpredictable public health crisis this fall.
With COVID-19 spreading more rapidly in some regions of the United States, each state must assess whether they can safely open schools. Recently, some school districts that deemed it safe to reopen have reverted to remote learning when students and/or teachers have tested positive for the coronavirus. Certainly, navigating the current crisis is complicated, and it is having a profound effect on educator preparation programs (EPPs).
Due to PK-12 school closures in the spring, many teacher candidates were unable to complete their clinical and field experiences in a classroom setting—typically a prerequisite for licensure. Acknowledging that a lack of new teachers entering the field would adversely impact the current teacher shortage crisis, EPPs responded with alternative learning opportunities to ensure that teacher candidates are prepared and competent to enter their own classrooms. As a result, many states have implemented emergency policy changes to licensure, thus enabling recent graduates to teach this fall.
Teamwork Team Collaboration Connection Togetherness Unity Concept
Today AACTE released its new report, Teaching in the Time of COVID-19: State Recommendations for Educator Preparation Programs and New Teachers. The 10 recommendations address critical state policy changes necessary to support innovative improvement in education during the global pandemic and beyond. Increased barriers to developing the educator workforce during the health crisis, coupled with the national teacher shortage, create demands for acute collaboration between educator preparation programs (EPPs), state education agencies, and PK-12 schools to reinvent systems for producing high-quality teachers to meet the growing needs of diverse learners.
AACTE reviewed and analyzed COVID-related state guidance to EPPs in pursuit of three goals: (1) to understand what states are doing to help prepare teachers for the classroom during this crisis, (2) to understand any extant trends in state guidance and (3), to identify recommendations for state leaders to enhance the support of new teachers impacted by program and policy disturbances stemming from the coronavirus crisis. From the analysis emerged recommendations that address changes to licensure and certification requirements, clinical experience pathways, and induction supports for novice teachers.
“Navigating the current crisis is complicated, to say the least, and the pandemic’s impact has a profound effect on many, including colleges of education and educator preparation programs,” said Lynn M. Gangone, Ed.D., AACTE president and CEO. “The circumstances of the pandemic open a window to think differently about our collective work. AACTE released this report at its State Leaders Institute today to provide our state chapter leaders with the latest research to inform their collaborations and conversations with state officials, PK-12 partners, and legislators.”
The report’s 10 recommendations are:
- In making licensure and certification waivers for teachers, states should make changes that are directly necessary because of the pandemic temporary, with a timeline for an ending that is clearly delineated, and transparent in that those who are granted certification as a result of waived requirements must be so classified, (e.g., “waiver-certification”).
- States should seek innovative opportunities to address ongoing challenges—such as lack of diversity in the profession and the need to modernize the processes of licensure and certification—as they consider licensure and certification revisions.
- Ensure candidates continue gaining experience teaching in a clinical setting with a mentor teacher, university supervisor, and continuous feedback.
- Encourage flexibility and collaboration between EPPs and school districts that ensure teacher candidates participate in clinical experiences online or in distance settings if PK-12 schools are not physically back in brick and mortar buildings.
- Encourage innovative approaches to clinical experiences including distributed learning models that employ team teaching in PK-12 settings, simulated classroom environments that allow candidates to approximate teaching, and financially supporting candidates through employment with the local school.
- Assess the needs of new teachers impacted by COVID-19 and identify areas for additional support.
- Require an induction action plan for new teachers describing the activities that must be completed or acquired for successful induction.
- Establish a mentorship program to equip new teachers with strategies to deliver high-quality instruction to diverse learners.
- Implement co-teaching for new teachers whose clinical experiences were fully or partially waived and teachers who have not passed exams for licensure and certification due to COVID-19.
- Partner with EPPs to provide professional development to ensure that new teachers possess the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to teach diverse students.
View the full report at AACTE’s website.
AACTE Responds to COVID-19
AACTE is proud to partner with The CEEDAR Center to bring you two 30-minute “lunch and learn” webinars on
- licensure and certification requirements
- EPP and district partnerships
We know your time is coveted, so these sessions are tailored to focus on strategies and models of best practice to solve immediate challenges.
The first Lunch and Learn will be hosted on April 17 at 1:00 p.m. ET. Registration is open to the public. AACTE, the CEEDAR Center, and partners from the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NSADTEC) will share national and state-level information and strategies in response to the current demand. Panelists include the following:
This blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide update information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.
Congress is headed out of town today for the week-long July 4 recess next week. Check your local July 4 parades and picnics—Members of Congress often show up there and it is a great time to connect with them!
What Can we Expect When Congress Returns July 8?
- Congressional Schedule
The Congress returns July 8 for about four weeks. Then they head into the August recess. They will be back for about four weeks in September. This equals about 27 legislative days left before the October 1 beginning of the FY 2020 fiscal year. Conventional wisdom holds that the closer we get to being all consumed by the next election, the less Congress will get done. Time is short, but there are always surprises!
Once again, we may be facing a government shutdown in October. Before that time all 12 appropriations bills must be completed, and some action on the debt ceiling must be taken. (The debt ceiling is when the government is about to exceed its borrowing authority and thus, must increase the amount it can borrow, in order for the government to continue to function.) This is a tall order with only 27 legislative days.
- Higher Education Act
The Senate HELP Committee has been working for months on a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. Yet the long-awaited draft has yet to materialize. The big hold up appears to be how colleges and universities should respond to allegations of sexual assault on campus—a provision housed in Title IX of federal civil rights law. In fact, HELP Committee Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and ranking member Patty Murray (D-WA) asked a bipartisan group of six senators to meet to try to resolve this issue.
What Should We be Watching in the Federal Agencies?
This blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide update information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.
I started last week in NYC visiting a fabulous early childhood program called Beekman House in the south Bronx. They have a partnership with Bank Street College. I was once again rendered speechless (hard to do) by the incredible teaching I saw. It made me want a do-over for pre-k! This is part of EdPrepLab— a new initiative by Learning Policy Institute. Check out the Ed Prep Matters blog article to learn more. Shout out to AACTE for giving me this opportunity!
- House Completes Portion of Massive Spending Bill … To Be Continued Next Week
Members of the House hightailed it out of town Thursday leaving a portion of the $982 billion spending bill completed—but more to come next week. The portion of the bill completed is the Labor/HHS/Education part of which includes $75.9 billion for the Department of Education. The House was in session all night Wednesday, finally adjourning at 4:00 a.m. on Thursday only to return again later Thursday morning.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) wins the prize for no sleep, as she was there shepherding her bill through every minute of the process and the over 100 amendments offered. She reported getting only an hour of sleep noting “You know, you’re so wired!”
During the AACTE 2019 Annual Meeting, panelists for the Deeper Dive session, “Innovations to Address Today’s Workforce Needs” examined inclusive education preparation and strategies to address the national teacher shortage. The session highlighted AACTE’s partnership with the Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform (CEEDAR) Center at the University of Florida and its federal supporters.
AACTE Consultant Jane West, who leads the Association’s work with CEEDAR, moderated a discussion with panelists Mary Murphy and Mark Seals (Bowling Green State University) and Marvin Lynn (Portland State University) on best practices at Bowling Green’s undergraduate teaching program and Portland State’s master’s program.
The U.S. Department of Education (Department) is moving forward with negotiated rulemaking around a large number of issues dealing with federal student financial aid in the Higher Education Act, commonly known as “Title IV,” and AACTE will be at the table. Last fall, the Department put out a call for nominations for negotiators to be part of a full committee and three subcommittees, and this week announced the list of negotiators, which includes 18 AACTE member institutions.
The full committee will cover issues around accreditation and innovation, and the subcommittees will advise the full committee on the following issues: faith-based entities, distance learning, and TEACH grants. The first committee and subcommittees sessions will take place next week, January 14–18.
In addition to AACTE member participation, I will be representing the Association and its members on the TEACH grant subcommittee. Negotiators also include a number of AACTE partners. To see the full list of negotiators for the full committee and each of the subcommittees, along with the supporting materials, visit the U.S. Department of Education website.
Would you like to learn more about the law that establishes the processes around negotiated rulemaking? Review the Negotiated Rulemaking Act of 1990, or read a five-page summary of the negotiated rulemaking process.
These letters to the editor, Don’t Blame Admissions Standards and Ed. Colleges Provide Value first appeared in Education Week on November 13, 2018. Reprinted with permission from the authors.
Don’t Blame Admissions Standards
To the Editor:
Marc Tucker has helped us better understand education systems around the world. Unfortunately, in his recent opinion blog post (“Teachers Colleges: The Weakest Link,” November 1, 2018), he demonstrates less understanding of America’s teacher-preparation programs than he has about programs abroad.
Ohio recently proved that collaboration across education stakeholders can increase communication and partnerships, as well as shape state legislation.
In fall 2017, a superintendent group representing the Western Ohio Advocacy Network (WOAN) worked with Ohio Senator Matthew Huffman to craft the Ohio School Deregulation Act (SB216), intended to increase local control of education. The initial bill proposed reverting back to having only two general education licensure bands: Grades 1-8 and 7-12, a radical departure from Ohio’s existing licensure bands: PK- 3, 4-9, and 7-12. SB 216 also proposed moving teacher licensure bands from Ohio’s Administrative Code (controlled by the Ohio Department of Education) to Ohio’s Revised Code (with legislative oversight), which meant that any future changes would require legislative action.
AACTE has awarded five state chapters the 2018-19 AACTE State Chapter Support Grant. The recipients are as follows:
- New Jersey
Each year, AACTE and the Advisory Council of State Representatives (ACSR) Executive Committee select recipients of the State Chapter Support Grants to help strengthen the capacity of the chapters on various levels, including advocacy and statewide collaboration to meet key challenges, as well as strengthen AACTE’s relationship with state chapters.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has released the first public draft of its position statement on “Professional Standards and Competencies for Early Childhood Educators.” Feedback from AACTE members—schools, colleges, and departments of education that house many early childhood degree programs—about the content and clarity of the statement is critical! We encourage you to provide feedback through this survey.
This statement is a revision of the 2009 position statement on “NAEYC Standards for Early Childhood Professional Preparation,” which is a cornerstone of the early childhood profession. It serves as the standards for NAEYC’s higher education accreditation system, as well as the standards for the NAEYC SPA recognition system through the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). It also influences states’ early childhood competencies and professional development systems and informs the program content and design of most early childhood degree programs (preparing an early childhood workforce that serves young children, birth through age eight).
Our educator preparation community lost one of its strongest advocates for teacher quality on Friday, September 14, when Frank B. Murray passed away after a sudden illness. He was 79.
Frank played a vital role in advancing national accreditation in educator preparation. He was the founding president of the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) and served as chair of its board of directors and for the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). He also worked closely with AACTE as editor of The Teacher Educator’s Handbook and a leader of the Holmes Partnership. He served in various capacities on the editorial boards of several journals in developmental and educational psychology and was a fellow in the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Society, and the American Educational Research Association.
This event is cancelled until further notice.
When I decided to attend the AACTE Quality Support Workshop last summer, I was a faculty member and assessment coordinator in a college of education. Armed with an already solid understanding of the principles and practices of assessment, I was not sure how much I would get out of attending the workshop, but as the sole representative from my institution, I registered anyway and made the trip to Minnesota. Over the next 3 days, my expectations were shattered, in a very good way!
The workshop was well organized and provided the opportunity to learn from engaging plenary session speakers and included multiple sessions covering a variety of topics related to assessment and accreditation. There was time and planned activities that allowed for ample opportunity to engage in dialogue and collaborate with others who share similar responsibilities at their institutions. It was through these opportunities that I found like-minded people who were tackling the same kind of work for educator preparation providers (EPPs) around the country.