The Education Task Force of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) met in Washington, DC, last month, considering two new model state bills: the “Student Achievement Backpack Act” and the “Course Choice Act.”
The “Student Achievement Backpack Act” creates a data “backpack” for each K-12 student in the state that would include an electronic learning profile as well as information on the student’s prior teachers, including teachers’ years of experience and licensure information. The act would also authorize parents and K-12 district employees to access these backpacks, which would be transferable between schools and districts. The bill does include provisions to safeguard students’ privacy.
The 2014 AACTE Professional Education Data System (PEDS) data collection will open February 3 and close at the end of April. The 2014 survey incorporates recommendations made by an ad-hoc task force convened by AACTE in 2013 to help identify changes needed and to improve the quality and usefulness of the data.
The following changes have been made throughout all forms in Parts A and B:
- Changed wording to align with terms used by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) or other current usage, or to better define items.
- Added new pop-ups and glossary items with refined or added definitions.
- Added Other as an option in multiple-choice items as needed.
Other changes to Part A include the following:
On December 17, the U.S. Department of Education issued a formal Request for Information (RFI) about the development of its new system for rating institutions of higher education, officially known as the Postsecondary Institution Ratings System (PIRS). (Note: This system aims to rate institutions as a whole, not their various divisions, although educator preparation programs would be a part of their institutions’ rating.)
The Department is urging higher education faculty, students, parents, researchers, data experts, advocacy groups, organizations with expertise in developing rating systems, and others to provide information about what should be included in this rating system. The deadline for submission is January 31.
The January/February 2014 issue of the Journal of Teacher Education (JTE) is now available online. See what Volume 65 Number 1 has to offer—without waiting for the mail delivery!
- In this month’s editorial, JTE‘s editors at Penn State University announce the 2014 Editorial Review Board and outline the highlights of this issue’s articles.
- “The Effects of Teacher Entry Portals on Student Achievement” classifies North Carolina public school teachers into 11 predominant “portals” of entry into the profession and estimates their effects on students’ test score gains. The gains are generally higher for students of teachers prepared through in-state, public undergraduate programs—but Teach for America corps members seem to be more effective in STEM subjects and at the secondary level.
Note: This op-ed was submitted to The New York Times but was not published.
A recent column by Bill Keller in The New York Times, “An Industry of Mediocrity,” highlighted a 2005 report by the well-respected Arthur Levine that concluded that the programs that prepare our nation’s educators “range from inadequate to appalling” and set the premise that the profession is a “contended cartel” of low-quality programs that should “feel threatened.” As leaders of AACTE, we view Mr. Keller’s column not as a threat but as an opportunity to do what we do best: educate.
In response to a recent solicitation from the U.S. Department of Education, AACTE will be submitting comments on a proposed data collection regarding “highly qualified teachers.” We also sent an action alert November 4 to members of our Grassroots Action Network, encouraging members to send their own comments as well.
In September 2012—more than a year ago—AACTE and the 90+ other members of the Coalition for Teaching Quality won a significant victory when Congress passed a law requiring the Department of Education to collect data regarding the number of teachers-in-training currently serving as teachers of record. Specifically, the Department of Education is required to submit a report to Congress on the extent to which students with disabilities, English learners, students in rural areas, and students from low-income families are taught by teachers-in-training. For more background on this issue, see this article from AACTE’s Advisor.