Advocating in education policy can seem a daunting endeavor. From federal engagement to statehouse meetings to local councils and school boards, the field can look overwhelming and individual impact feel scattered. At the heart, though, education and educator preparation are state issues. Engaging at the state and local level is the best way to have a direct impact on behalf of students and the profession.
The Committee on Government Relations and Advocacy, one of AACTE’s standing committees, is offering a preconference at the AACTE Annual Meeting focused directly on helping you develop your advocacy skills for state and local engagement. Your Levers of Civic Power: Moving the Gears of Democracy is half-day interactive session designed to provide information and practice in three important areas of state and local advocacy: participating in town halls, speaking before a committee or commission, and engaging candidates during a debate.
If you have been involved with AACTE for any length of time, you know how important it is to advocate on behalf of educator preparation. The Committee on Government Relations and Advocacy, one of AACTE’s standing committees, is offering a preconference at the AACTE 2020 Annual Meeting to help you improve your advocacy skills. Your Levers of Civic Power: Moving the Gears of Democracy is half-day interactive session designed to provide information and practice in three important areas of advocacy: participating in town halls, speaking before a committee or commission, and engaging candidates during a debate.
Town halls provide a forum to interact with your elected officials and candidates for office on a variety of topics that may or may not be announced in advance. Committees or commissions might also convene around your state or at the state capitol or legislative buildings. Debates, like town halls, can happen around the state, and give you an opportunity to engage with candidates on issues important to the profession.
As the Congress rapidly approaches the December 20 deadline for the Continuing Resolution (maintaining federal spending at the Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) levels while the next year’s levels are negotiated), agreement was reached, and the two bills were released on December 16, 2019.
The Bipartisan Budget Agreement of 2019 raised the non-defense and defense discretionary caps for FY20 and FY21, and was signed in early August as recess began. Given that the U.S. Senate had taken a stance not to move any bills without the aforementioned agreement in place, their work began in earnest in September. However, the bills were not completed by the end of the fiscal year (September 30), so Congress passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) through November 21, 2019. With consternation around key issues, including funding for the border wall, another CR was put in place through December 20, 2019. It was unclear if the divisions between both parties and both bodies could be resolved by the new cutoff date, but it appears that the Congress is on target to meet its deadline.
To show support and help advocate for public schools in the United States, AACTE is inviting members to add your voice to the thousands of others vowing to stand up for students and schools. The Learning First Alliance (LFA) has launched the Pledge for Public Schools in preparation for Public Schools Week 2020, a national celebration for educators and parents to spotlight the successes of their students and local schools in communities across the nation, and to bring attention to the critical issues facing schools, students, and educators.
LFA reports that U.S. public schools educate 50.8 million students (nine of 10), regardless of ability, race, wealth, language, religion or country of origin. During Public Schools Week 2020, to be held February 24-28, 2020, advocates will take the thousands of pledges to Capitol Hill and state capitals across the country to illustrate to lawmakers how many people are supporting America’s public schools.
Once you take the pledge, LFA asks that you share on social media using the hashtag #PublicSchoolProud. More updates and events leading up to Public Schools Week will be announced at learningfirst.org/publicschoolsweek.
To learn more about LFA, visit learningfirst.org.
Why are schools still segregated in 2019? The answer to this question is a complicated one. One with roots deep in the history of our educational system. The surface answer has to do with the fact that racist curricula and prejudice within our society still exist. Where you live determines where you go to school. Many times, the poorer, minority students live in lower income neighborhoods. And as children become racially isolated, it then trickles into our schools, resulting in segregation.
In fact, segregation is even evident in schools that are racially diverse. You’ll notice that most students in advanced placement classes are Caucasian or Asian. Who do we see in remedial classes? We see African American students, particularly African American males. Even with a diverse student population, the evidence of systemic segregation is scarily rampant. The deep vestiges of racism and segregation subtly permeate through our schools and it sets dangerous precedents.
Registration is open for the AACTE member exclusive October 2019 Federal Update webinars. AACTE offers these webinars to you on two different days of the week and at two different times to accommodate members’ teaching schedules and time zones.
Even though one might expect activities to slow down in Washington as the year begins to wind down, plenty is happening that impacts the profession. On October 15, Chairman Scott (D-VA) of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor revealed his proposal for reauthorizing the Higher Education Act. What does it look like for educator preparation? Will Chairman Alexander (R-TN) move his bill through the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions? And not to be forgotten is the appropriations process—as the Congress heads toward a November 21 deadline for funding the federal government, what is the outlook? Will there be another short-term Continuing Resolution (CR), or could we see even a year-long CR? Could a government shutdown happen? This webinar will cover these topics, as well as the advocacy steps that you can take to engage in the process, and there will be a Q & A session for you to get your answers to your questions. Register today!
Tuesday, October 29, 2019, 5:00-6:00 p.m. EDT: Register now.
Wednesday, October 30, 2019 11:00 am-12:00 noon EDT: Register now
As educators, protecting and nurturing the health and well-being of our nation’s most precious investment—our youth—is always top of mind. Safeguarding their welfare and creating supportive learning ecosystems should be national priorities. Unfortunately, no one piece of legislation, no one initiative, no one activist, or caring teacher can bring that umbrella of safety to every student, everywhere, all the time. What we need to be talking about openly and often across the nation is prevention: training, learning, and preparing. This begins at the federal level with funding to equip our state and local leaders with the tools necessary to create and foster a safe and balanced learning environment for all students.
There are classrooms and schools in this country where teachers are armed with weapons. It is a dark reality, and one that AACTE does not support. Federal funds should not be used to arm teachers. Funds should instead be used to incentivize building learning communities through supportive training in social and emotional learning, and to prepare profession-ready teachers. Federal money
Around the country, regulators and legislators are demonstrating that they understand the urgent need to promote school safety. The 2019 state legislative session was an active one on the subject. Hundreds of bills were introduced covering every aspect of the matter from prevention to response. Join me as I present a wide-ranging overview and analysis of some of the most noteworthy school safety bills introduced over the year, with a particular focus on legislation impacting student and teacher mental health, in an upcoming State of the States webinar.
We encourage you to register in advance for the member-exclusive State of the States webinar, which will take place Thursday, October 31 from 11 a.m. to noon ET.
There will be time at the end of the webinar for questions and answers. The webinar will be recorded and posted on the website for future viewing.
For questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) celebrates its 20 member institutions that received the 2019 Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grants from the U.S. Department of Education announced last week. With grants totaling more than $20 million, the TQP is the only federal initiative dedicated to strengthening educator preparation at institutions of higher education.
“AACTE celebrates all of the grant recipients, especially our 20 AACTE member institutions, because our members work year-round to advocate for continual funding for this critical initiative,” said Lynn M. Gangone, AACTE president and CEO. “With so much volatility on Capitol Hill, we view the consensus to support teacher preparation programs as a huge victory. TQP grants empower our members to extend and elevate their innovative and exemplary work.”
The University of North Florida’s College of Education and Human Services was awarded a $1.6 million Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grant from the U.S. Department of Education to support innovative teacher preparation models that prepare prospective and new teachers to serve students in high-need schools.
The Department of Education made 31 awards totaling $20.1 million, and UNF was the only university in Florida to receive the funding. Recipients include more than two dozen school districts, institutions of higher education, and nonprofit organizations.
“We know a great teacher is the foundation of a great education,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “By ensuring teachers are able to continually grow and improve in ways that excite and challenge them, we can help students succeed. These grants will help foster meaningful professional development opportunities, especially in the often-lacking areas of STEM and computer science-focused training.”