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.
With the new administration at work and a new congress well underway, the need for AACTE and its members to engage with their elected officials is as important as ever. The existing shortfall of highly trained educators has been exacerbated by COVID-19. According to one study, prior to the pandemic, 100,000 classrooms in the United States were staffed by instructors who were unqualified for their jobs; in one month alone, 469,000 public school district personnel nationally lost their jobs and roughly 27% of teachers say they are considering leaving their job, retiring early, or taking a leave of absence because of the pandemic. Congress must understand the consequences of the shortage and what needs to be done to address it.
Your voice is key to educating lawmakers.
The Committee on Government Relations and Advocacy, one of AACTE’s standing committees, is hosting a session during the AACTE Annual Meeting to educate attendees about President Biden’s priorities for education and the composition of Congress and legislation it may consider. The session will also focus on AACTE’s legislative priorities, as well as strategies to move them forward. The committee will also share how to use your voice and share your experience with your elected officials.
Do you have questions about this session? Email email@example.com.
AACTE is pleased to announce that Michael Rose has joined its staff as senior director of federal relations and policy as part of the Research, Policy and Advocacy team.
Rose is an experienced government relations professional with over 20 years of experience. He started his career in Washington, DC, working for U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg from his home state of New Jersey. After the senator’s retirement, Rose worked for more than six years in the House of Representatives for Congresswoman Maxine Waters. Most recently, Rose was the director of government affairs for the National Association for College Admission Counseling. In this role, he was the association’s main contact for Members of Congress, congressional staff, and various federal agencies regarding its college access and student protections agendas, among other issues.
The Department of Education has awarded 23 grants administered as a of part of a pool of funding created to benefit programs including the Teaching Quality Partnership Program (TQP). Of the 10 grants awarded under Teacher Quality Partnerships program—totaling $7.3 million—six of the grantees are AACTE members.
The 23 grants, totaling nearly $100 million, will promote educator development and training in alignment with a signature economic initiative of the Administration. The grants are designed to contribute to the enhancement of the professional development and effectiveness of teachers and principals. Each of the awards went to schools or nonprofits that connect in some way with economic Opportunity Zones to serve economically distressed or underserved communities around the country.
The Teacher Quality Partnership grant program, authorized in Title II of the Higher Education Act, is the only federal initiative designed to strengthen and reform educator preparation at institutions of higher education. Strongly supported by AACTE, TQP grants support the preparation of profession-ready teachers for high-need schools and high-need subject areas. Under this program, partnerships between institutions of higher education and high-need schools and districts compete for funding to develop master’s-level residency programs or to reform undergraduate preservice preparation programs.
This article is a personal reflection of the 2020 Washington Week State Leaders Institute by attendee Tariq Akmal.
I was fortunate to attend the State Leaders Institute breakout session on State Government Advocacy with Three State Chapters. Attendees heard from Christine Carrino Gorowara of Delaware, Scott Hewitt of Florida, and Vanessa Anton and Robin Fuxa of Oklahoma. This session was a sharing of the different types of advocacy activities that were occurring in three states. The variation in state size/population was very evident in the scale of activities of each chapter. What did they hold in common? They are all active in advocacy work and are experiencing a teacher shortage in their states. Each panelist shared particular aspects of their association’s work with their state department of education, legislators, and other stakeholders within their states.
The Delaware Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (DACTE) had “flipped the script” on the traditional Day On the Hill approach and now brought specific Delaware legislators to their association for conversations regarding how DACTE could be a resource to legislators on educational issues and to build relationships so that DACTE would be invited to legislative initiatives on education. They invited members of the House and Senate Education Committee, in particular, which seems to be a highly effective strategy! Carrino Gorowara noted how they became collaborators in developing legislation that would be a help to Delaware teacher candidates in simplifying the background check process.
As first and third time AACTE Day on the Hill participants, we eagerly participated in this inaugural virtual event to prepare for congressional visits. Although we were not physically together, Lynn M. Gangone, president and CEO, made us feel welcomed and valued members of AACTE during her opening greeting to attendees.
Why Day on the Hill?
Beth: As a newbie, I wondered about the lay of the land. Then Jane West, AACTE government relations consultant, shared, “The Big Picture: Current Policy & Political Landscape,” providing a framework for what we need to do and why.
Anne: After three years of attending the event, I was inspired by Jane West’s quote: “If your voice isn’t heard, someone else’s is,” which provided us meaning.
What and how?
AACTE’s legislative priorities provided the framework. Having the specific agenda items gave us the focus we needed.
Jacqueline Rodriguez, AACTE vice president of research, policy and advocacy, joined West in stressing the importance of building a rapport. Rodriguez supported planning with spreadsheets and materials. AACTE gave the legislative framework and a foundation. We’re ready to work!
State and regional colleagues collaborated to plan for advocacy. Presenters joined the meetings, to support the planning process. The virtual format allowed people to “travel” amongst groups. We’re ready to plan!
This article is a personal reflection of the 2020 Washington Week Day on the Hill virtual conference and congressional visits by Holmes Scholar Eleanor Su-Keene.
When I attended the AACTE Annual Meeting in February of this year, I did not know that would be the last time I flew on a plane or attended any large gathering for the foreseeable future. Needless to say, the past seven months have been a surreal experience. As I try to navigate life as a mother of two young children, a homeschool teacher, and a doctoral student, I find myself not only working from home, but working with home. As such, I came to the computer skeptical of an experience that lived up to that which my fellow Holmes Scholars experienced in pre-COVID years.
As educators, we know how incredibly important it is to be cognizant of both the lesson at hand and what exactly students will be doing during that lesson. In this respect, it should come as no surprise that the conference was extremely well planned and thoroughly thought out from beginning to end. The 2020 AACTE Washington Week Virtual Day on the Hill conference was incredibly well organized from the platform that was chosen to the ease of use from getting to and from the main “stage” to breakout sessions. As a Holmes Scholar, I had more intimate meetings with leading scholars and advocates in socially just educational reform, but I was surprised to find even in the main conference, it felt just as personal. The real time engagement of the speakers with the chat box function allowed for an exchange that would be impossible during an in-person format.
This article is a personal reflection of the 2020 Washington Week Holmes Policy Institute by attendee Angeline Dean.
“People, Policy, Politics, and Processes” – Jane West
The knowledge of this framework and its relation to analysis and advocacy spearheaded the Holmes Advanced Policy Course. This framework, along with homework given by AACTE staffers Jane West and Weade James was not only the necessary grounding to an understanding that truly “all politics are local” but also ripe for Luis Maldonado to address the navigating of politics and policies. Immediately following, Lakeisha Steele, professional staffer and policy team leader for Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), chair of the House, Education & Labor Committee, “ripped the runway” with her honesty, passion, and commitment to social and transformational change! She reminded us that “we are our ancestors wildest dreams!” Therefore, we like our ancestors and so many who have transitioned this year, must be prepared to live in “good trouble” spaces and we must Persevere.
“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair” – Shirley Chisolm.
As we segued into the rest of the Holmes Policy Institute, we were gifted with the Power statement of “Miss Unbought and Unbossed” herself, Shirley Chisolm. How befitting as this statement resonated as an overarching theme for such a time as this. AACTE Dean in Residence Leslie Fenwick challenged us to thwart the narratives that brand Black bodies in lies and deficits. She pushed us to exercise our Positionality as spaces of truth, resistance, power, and countered narratives that honor civil rights ancestors in the proper telling of history and data in education. With that, students posed questions that blended and asserted their politics, processes, power, and positionality as people such as: What exactly is the role of a dean in residence and how or does it relate to Holmes students and their needs? What systems are in place to protect (another p word) BIPOC students against whiteness and internalized racism in predominantly white institutions?
Last week, scholars of color convened for the AACTE Holmes Policy Institute, a three-day training under this year’s theme, “Moving towards Equity through Advocacy and Policy.” The virtual conference, the first of the AACTE 2020 Washington Week events, offered students the opportunity to connect with peers, build their networks and engage in lively discussions on current trends. The advocacy and policy training focused on how the intersection of policy, education, and research can affect positive change for students of color.
Day 1 kicked off with AACTE Dean in Residence Leslie Fenwick leading a session on civil rights in education and AACTE consultant Jane West presenting a policy briefing. Day 2 centered on presentations by guest speakers—faculty, national organization professionals, and congressional staffers—who covered topics such as efforts to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline and community-based participatory research to achieve social justice. The final day of training began with social reform advocates Jael Kerandi and Amanda Wilkerson, and moderator Ann Charity Hudley sharing their experiences and guidance on how scholars of color can mobilize for change.
AACTE delivered its first virtual Day on the Hill advocacy event this past week. Over two days, attendees met with Congressional staff, AACTE Committee on Government Relations members, and panelists to develop their advocacy toolkit. This week, the attendees will host two days of Congressional visits with the senators and representatives from their states. AACTE state teams will be advocating for the AACTE 2020 Legislative Priorities, which describe the needs of educator preparation as we address twin pandemics: COVID-19 and racial injustice.
In preparation for their virtual Congressional Visits, attendees practiced how to communicate the priorities to legislative leaders, were briefed on current data related to educator shortages, the important to increase funding toward TEACH grants and Teacher Quality Partnership Grants within educator preparation programs, and the value of funding the Institute for Education Sciences, which is the principal research agency for education in the United States.
In addition, attendees received resources to support their learning. Each of these resources is available to all AACTE members!
The undersigned members of the COVID-19 Education Coalition offer the following statement on the Delivering Immediate Relief to America’s Families, Schools and Small Businesses Act:
Our coalition is deeply concerned with the Delivering Immediate Relief to America’s Families, Schools and Small Businesses Act because of its low education funding levels, its fixation on physical reopenings of school buildings, and its failure to provide direct support for professional development in online learning. The bill would provide just $70 billion in additional K-12 education stabilization funds, a figure that is far short of the $200 billion that many educational groups feel is required to meet their needs. Additionally, we are concerned that the bill would condition receipt of two-thirds of this funding to the physical reopening of school buildings. This requirement ignores recent reports showing that 95% of districts plan to offer remote instruction to some degree, with about a third planning on remote instruction exclusively. This restriction makes no sense and will only adversely impact marginalized communities, including students of color, homeless students, students in foster care, and students with disabilities.
We also must note that this bill fails to provide separate funding for a key priority: professional development for online learning. Recently released studies point to the urgent need to support educators to deliver effective and equitable learning experiences. For example, more than one-fifth of educators have not received any training as it relates to technology-based remote instruction. A separate survey shows that a majority of novice educators do not feel well-prepared to provide online learning experiences for their students, as their preparation programs had not trained them on research-based technology integration frameworks.
Only one week is left to register for the 2020 State Leaders Institute, September 22-23! Register by 12:00 midnight on Friday, September 18 to experience AACTE’s inaugural, virtual event for state leaders.
During this signature event, centered around promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in education, state leaders will focus on capacity building and augmenting their chapter’s impact through leadership development. Attendees will learn effective skills to engage with their governor’s office, strengthen the advocacy capacity of their state chapter and its membership, and enjoy networking opportunities with peers.
Here’s what attendees from past events had to say about the value of the State Leaders Institute:
Rep. Bobby Scott to Deliver Keynote
Today the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) launches its inaugural virtual Washington Week by hosting the Holmes Policy Institute, an event that amplifies the voice of masters- and doctoral-level students of color on policies affecting educator preparation. Themed “Moving towards Equity through Advocacy and Policy,” this year’s Institute takes place September 8-10.
“We are thrilled to support AACTE Holmes Program students in addressing critical issues in educator preparation, such as increasing teacher diversity and equity,” said Lynn M. Gangone, Ed.D., AACTE president and CEO. “This signature event offers our future teacher educators of color the tools to navigate national, state and local policies that directly impact those most-often marginalized in education systems.”
Over the course of three days, Holmes students, coordinators, and leaders throughout the country will explore best practices in education advocacy by participating in presentations and small group discussions. In response to the recent, racial unrest in the United States, several sessions will examine these issues as they relate to equity in educator preparation, including:
- Civil Rights in Education: History, Resistance and Opportunities
- Policing in Schools and Efforts to Dismantle the School-to-Prison Pipeline
- Community-Based Participatory Research to Achieve Social Justice
The Holmes Policy Institute will culminate with a closing keynote address by Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA), chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor. Throughout his 14 terms representing Virginia’s third congressional district, the congressman has been a champion on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion and has advanced policies addressing the equity gaps in education. Following his keynote remarks, Rep. Scott will engage in an interactive discussion with the Holmes students about the state of public education, educator preparation, and the importance of diversifying the educator workforce.
Next week, a number of Holmes students will apply what they learn and put their advocacy skills into practice during AACTE’s Day on the Hill event, joining the Association’s state leaders in virtual meetings with Congressional representatives.
AACTE’s Washington Week virtual conference is quickly approaching. This year’s event will feature the Holmes Advanced Policy Short Course, Holmes Policy Institute, AACTE’s Day on the Hill, and the State Leader’s Institute.
Joining the Holmes Policy Institute this year is Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott, chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor. Congressman Scott will deliver the closing keynote address at this year’s Holmes Policy Institute on Thursday, September 10.
Throughout his 14 terms representing Virginia’s third congressional district, Congressman Scott has been a champion on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. He has advanced policies to address the equity gaps in education, employment, and healthcare. In 1993, Chairman Scott became the first African American elected to Congress from the Commonwealth of Virginia since Reconstruction and only the second African American elected to Congress in the history of Virginia. Congressman Scott continues to break barriers and create opportunities for future generations of African American and minority leaders.
Following his keynote remarks, the Congressman will engage in an interactive discussion with the Holmes Scholars about the state of public education, educator preparation, and the importance of diversifying the educator workforce.
To learn more about the AACTE Holmes Program, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year’s virtual AACTE State Leaders Institute will take place September 22-23, and will bring together state chapter leaders from AACTE and the Association of Teacher Educators (ATE) to enhance the presence of educator preparation at the state level. During this AACTE signature event, state leaders will focus on capacity building and augmenting their chapter’s impact through leadership development. Attendees will learn effective skills to engage with their governor’s office, receive the latest tips to strengthen the advocacy capacity of their state chapter and its membership, and enjoy networking opportunities with peers.