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 email@example.com.
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.
The AACTE 2020 Washington Week will feature two virtual Holmes Program events: the Holmes Advanced Policy Course, September 2-3, and the Holmes Policy Institute, September 8-10.
Holmes Advanced Policy Course: September 2-3
The Holmes Program Advanced Policy Course will engage Holmes Scholars in “Moving Towards Equity Through Advocacy and Policy,” the theme of this year’s event. Participants in the Course will explore policy and advocacy principles and address current events that focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in education. The sessions include a deep dive into the 4 P’s of Policy and Advocacy, led by Jane West, AACTE Consultant for Government Relations, and will conclude with an engaging Q&A forum. Scholars will also hear from congressional staffers from Capitol Hill, who will address current issues and trends in education that align with DEI policies and practices.
At Day on the Hill, AACTE’s premiere advocacy event during Washington Week, education leaders and students from around the country convene to advocate for teacher preparation. With the recent impact of the coronavirus and other societal trends on education, congressional leaders need to hear and learn about your successful strategies to advance the profession and ways to best address the challenges you face at your institution. Join the AACTE community for this year’s virtual event offered over a two-week period, and take advantage of the opportunity to build your advocacy skills and toolkit. Advocacy training sessions will take place September 9-10, and virtual congressional visits will be held September 15-16.
Day on the Hill: September 9-10
The first week of Day on the Hill offers attendees two tracks to choose from for part of the day that support differing advocacy skill levels. During these lively breakout sessions, you will develop and augment your skills, and learn from peers, colleagues, and government relations professionals. You will also learn about key legislations impacting education today and how to advocate for the profession with congressional leaders in a virtual environment. Congressional staff will provide special presentations on how policy is shaped and effective ways to advocate during AACTE’s virtual Hill visits that will take place the second week.
Virtual Congressional Visits: September 15-16
During the second week of Day on the Hill, attendees will join colleagues within their local state for virtual meetings with congressional leaders. Participants will be prepared with talking points, strategies to hold a congressional meeting, and key messages about how COVID-19 has impacted educator preparation programs to present to legislators. You will hear riveting greetings from invited guest politicians who will encourage your efforts in advocating for meaningful and equitable education policies.
Don’t miss this opportunity to connect with friends and colleagues, learn of national trends in education, share or discover best practices on common challenges, or develop your advocacy skills! Register now for AACTE’s Day on the Hill.
Visit aacte.org for more details about the AACTE 2020 Washington Week.
Washington State University’s Office of Academic Engagement (OAE) was notified by the U.S. Dept. of Education that it is awarding three student support services grants to benefit veterans, STEM students, and future teachers at the university.
OAE Executive Director Michael Highfill said the grants—totaling over $4 million—will each serve between 120 and 140 low-income and first-generation students annually.
“We are pleased with this federal investment in WSU and our successful efforts to serve students through ambitious and innovative programming,” said Mary F. Wack, vice provost for academic engagement and student achievement. She leads the university division of the same name—which uses the acronym Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement (DAESA) and is part of the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President.
Take advantage of discounted rates for the virtual AACTE 2020 Washington Week! Join AACTE’s efforts to advocate for the funding and support colleges of education need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your voice matters now more than ever, and this year’s reduced rates allow your colleagues and students to participate in the political action as well.
Here’s what past attendees had to say about the value Washington Week offers:
“I’m excited that it’s time for Washington Week again! Last year was my first experience, and I loved every minute of it. [Activities included] learning the ins and outs of how to advocate, practicing advocacy skills, and visiting the House of Representatives [as well as] discussing mental health initiatives in schools, teacher shortages, and low wages for educators. It’s an awesome experience, one that I’ll never forget. Get excited for a great time you won’t regret!” − Danna Demezier, Florida Atlantic University
“In the past, I have attended three Washington Weeks. It was amazing! I had the opportunity to share my concerns as a former educator, teacher educator, and a constituent. Nothing compares to running around Washington with Deans and meeting staffers or legislators in Congress.” − Azaria Cunningham, Penn State University
“I attended the State Leaders Institute my first year as state chapter president. The networking and valuable information obtained from experts changed the way we did business in our state chapter. Our state chapter has grown because of SLI. It is the best professional development opportunity for state chapter leaders. It should not be missed.” − Mary Murray, Bowling Green State University
This year’s Capital Hill visits during Washington Week will feature AACTE’s DEI Handbook, which will include your strategies to elevate diversity, equity, and inclusion within your institutions.
What might those strategies look like? We are glad you asked! While DEI may be a broad concept, we are most interested in learning about how you are supporting the recruitment and retention of students and faculty of color on your campus. We also want to know how you are supporting your faculty and staff to become culturally competent in their teaching, research, and in their community engagement.
Why should you submit your strategies? You are shaping the field! Your practices matter to your colleagues, to your peer institutions, and importantly to your Congressional leaders:
- AACTE members want to learn from you.
- Your peers want to develop their own strategies and build off of your models.
- Your Congressional leaders need the evidence of your strategies to advocate for increased funding.
Registration is now open for AACTE’s virtual 2020 Washington Week! Connect with peers from across the country for the premier national advocacy event for educator preparation. Take advantage of the reduced event rates and encourage your colleagues and students to join policy leaders in impacting our profession.
Registration rates are as follows:
|Holmes Advanced Policy Course: September 2-3
|Holmes Policy Institute: September 8-10
|Day on the Hill: September 9-10 and 15-16
|State Leaders Institute: September 22-23
Register for AACTE’s Washington Week today! Learn more about the affordable rates and other event details at www.aacte.org. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and join the conversation using #AACTEWW20.
Do you have questions or need assistance? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.