By Jemima Cabedo
“Although the current dialogue about school choice is generally focused on charter schools, vouchers, and the overall diversion of taxpayer monies to private entities, it misses a fundamental reality: Most public school districts already offer a wide range of choices to their students.” This message is at the core of a new report from the National School Boards Association’s Center for Public Education titled Busting the Myth of “One Size Fits All” Public Education.
At an event unveiling the report earlier this month, panelists discussed the wide variety of alternative options offered in public education. Thomas Gentzel, executive director and CEO of the National School Boards Association, noted that the system has evolved over many years from one that offers limited options into one that molds to students’ diverse needs – providing a greater degree of choice, in fact, than many private schools.
By Kristin McCabe
“The three R’s alone don’t cut it anymore,” announces a report released August 28 on the 49th annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. In addition to solid academics, Americans want their schools to provide job training, more explicit focus on social-emotional skills, and “wraparound” services like health centers and afterschool programs. Respondents also want students to learn in diverse classrooms and are skeptical about vouchers and the value of standardized tests.
This year’s survey sought to learn more about last year’s discovery of a desire among the American public for schools to focus less on honors classes and more on career and technical education. The new data suggest that the public really wants both strong academics and job preparation, including classes focused on career skills, technology and engineering, and programs leading to a professional certificate or license. The less satisfied respondents are with their local schools, the more likely they are to say schools should offer more job/career skills classes.
By Rodrick Lucero
Last week, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released initial data from the 2015-2016 National Teacher and Principal Survey, providing the latest nationwide snapshot of the characteristics of public school teachers. (Results of the school-level survey are being released today, and principal-level data are available here.) The “First Look” report on the teacher survey (download PDF here) shows the education workforce has grown slightly more female (77% compared to 76%) and slightly less White (80% compared to 82%) than it was 4 years ago – although NCES cautions that comparisons are somewhat imprecise because some of the questions were worded differently or drew on different sources than in the former Schools and Staffing Survey, on which the new survey is based.
A recent article in Education Week highlights key data and comparisons between this survey and the last, noting that the education profession has made some advancements in diversifying the teaching workforce. However, these modest gains may be more conditional than intentional, and the survey spotlights continued trouble spots such as low pay and uneven assignment of teacher expertise. What this article says to me is that we must continue to work every day to make teaching a worthy career option, valued for its contributions to the democratic fabric of our society – especially among the most underrepresented demographics. As a profession, we have an ongoing imperative to attract highly motivated, diverse, innovative, smart educators into the profession and support them with programs rich in the pedagogy and content that will serve the nation’s young people well into the future.
By Rodrick Lucero
The AACTE team has embarked on a new adventure and we can’t wait to share it with you!
This undertaking is engaging all of us in a significant self-study – not unlike what you do on your campuses for quality assurance and continuous improvement – using an improvement science model. Over the next few months, the team will conduct a deep audit of our operations, looking at internal protocols and processes along with membership structures, programs and services, and resources. AACTE is working with the rpk GROUP consulting firm to assist us with this project. This internal work is simultaneous with a comprehensive member survey that is being released next month. These concurrent efforts will empower AACTE as it anticipates its 70th anniversary in 2018.
By Kristin McCabe
A new policy brief from the Data Quality Campaign presents recommendations for states to support educator preparation through better sharing and use of information – not just for accountability but also for continuous improvement. The report, Using Data to Ensure That Teachers Are Learner Ready on Day One, calls attention to current data challenges faced by educator preparation providers (EPPs) and offers suggestions and examples for states to improve the situation.
“State education agencies already collect information about teachers, like their licenses, where they teach, and how much they improve student learning, but that information is not consistently shared with EPPs,” the brief states. “On the program side, EPPs are often frustrated by data collection and reporting requirements that do not help them answer important questions about their own program quality. And a lack of publicly available information on EPP outcomes means that EPPs and their stakeholders, from prospective teachers to K-12 principals, too often must spend their own limited time and resources to collect and synthesize information that could be provided by the state.”
The report, developed in partnership with AACTE and several other partner organizations, lists the following primary challenges to using data for EPP improvement:
By Zachary VanHouten
An education subcommittee in the U.S. House of Representatives held a hearing June 28 on “Exploring Opportunities to Strengthen Education Research While Protecting Student Privacy.” Throughout the hearing, hosted by the House Education and the Workforce Committee’s Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, witnesses stressed the need to maintain a balance between safeguarding sensitive student data and allowing researchers access to information that evaluates performance and determines best practices.
Anonymizing the data in order to maintain student privacy was a top concern for the panelists, but Nathaniel Schwartz from the Tennessee Education Department noted that guidelines outlining proper procedures for doing so are lacking at the federal level, leaving states and districts to determine how best to handle the data.
By Kristin McCabe
Data, data everywhere – so now what do you do? When you are awash in student test scores, survey responses, or research results, how do you determine what they mean – and what actions to take as a result?
For a concise and engaging introduction to data sources, uses, and improvement processes, try AACTE’s online professional seminar Using Data to Improve Student Outcomes, opening July 17 for a 3-week run on the FutureLearn social-learning platform. It requires only 3 hours per week and costs nothing! (Or you may choose to upgrade your enrollment, for a fee, to participate in tests, obtain a completion certificate, and gain unlimited access to course materials in the future. A completion certificate is required if you plan to become an AACTE consultant.)
By Jerrica Thurman
(April 24, 2017, Washington D.C.) – Today, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) launches its inaugural Quality Support Workshop in Fort Worth, Texas. The workshop, which runs through Wednesday, is the first in a new series of regional events focused on supporting teacher preparation providers to improve program quality. By providing a forum for educators to share experiences about program innovation and construct solutions to shared problems of practice, the Quality Support Workshops aim to meet the present-day needs of teacher educators.
Offered through the Association’s Quality Support Center, these workshops deliver professional development for assessment, accreditation, and documenting quality assurance in convenient sites around the country. Each event connects participants with specialists in facilitated, hands-on sessions where faculty can share strategies and develop customized, actionable plans for use in their home institutions.
By Sungti Hsu
AACTE and Westat are partnering with state chapters and education agencies this spring to pilot new surveys of beginning teachers and their supervisors. By developing common instruments to be used across states that can also be customized with state-specific questions, the partners aim to fill the need for both national benchmarks for preparation programs (as called for in accreditation standards) and state-determined priorities.
AACTE staff conducted exploratory work last year, collecting and studying state-level instruments currently used for surveying program completers in 13 states that were willing to share both their instruments and their most recent survey results. We found that all of the instruments align with the InTASC model standards for beginning teachers, although their length and emphasis areas vary. Meanwhile, we began talking with state education agencies (SEAs) and AACTE state chapters and member institutions to gauge their interest in consolidating these state and institution data collection efforts in a national-level instrument.
By Jolanda M. Westerhof
The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) invites applications by April 21 for the 2017 Christa McAuliffe Excellence in Teacher Education Award. Only public colleges and universities that are members of AASCU are eligible to apply for the award, which honors exemplary teacher preparation and professional development programs.
To win this award, teacher education and professional development programs must –
By Sharon Robinson
The colleges and universities that prepare our nation’s educators are deeply committed to program quality, innovation, and accountability, and important progress is under way in each of these areas at the institutional, state, and national levels. While our priorities are unchanged by the presence or absence of federal regulations, the regulations that were voted down by Congress last week would have impeded this progress by redirecting already-tight resources to create an onerous new reporting and rating system for teacher preparation programs. Now, thanks to the robust advocacy efforts of the field, our professional commitments can proceed unhampered by burdensome mandates and prescriptive-yet-unproven methods.
Absent these regulations, educator preparation providers (EPPs) participate in numerous public reporting and quality assurance systems. Both EPPs and states are required by Title II of the Higher Education Act to submit annual reports to the U.S. Department of Education, and states must report at-risk and low-performing programs. Programs also must meet state review standards, and several states have developed data dashboards that display information for all providers to help the public compare program quality. A plurality of EPPs also undergo national examination through the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation – a professional peer-review process using standards that are developed by the field and based on research.
By Kristin McCabe
Are you preparing for a CAEP accreditation visit? Wondering how to apply evidence from your candidates’ performance assessments to make sure your program prepares them for key practices? Or perhaps you’re looking for new ideas for recruiting and supporting a more diverse candidate pool? Find the guidance you need at an AACTE Quality Support Workshop!
In just over 6 weeks, AACTE will bring expert facilitators and a selection of workshop sessions to Fort Worth, Texas, April 24-26. We’ve just posted a detailed schedule with descriptions of session choices to help you plan your time effectively (download the PDF here).
By Jerrica Thurman
AACTE’s enhanced online professional seminars, offered through the Quality Support Center on the FutureLearn social-learning platform, are well under way! More than 5,000 registrants signed up for the first run of our introductory assessment course, which just concluded, and the second course, Using Data to Improve Student Outcomes, opens March 20. (Please note this start date is a change from the original schedule.)
In this free 3-week course, you will discover how to apply data science to deliver better outcomes for students. Led by Linda McKee, AACTE’s senior director for quality support initiatives, you’ll learn to identify a range of data sources, analyze the data, and present your findings, then select indicators and establish actions to achieve continuous improvement.
By Kristin McCabe
AACTE has chosen Transforming Teacher Education for Social Justice, by Eva Zygmunt and Patricia Clark of Ball State University, to receive the 2017 AACTE Outstanding Book Award. The award will be presented at the 69th AACTE Annual Meeting Welcoming Session, Thursday, March 2, at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida.
Published by Teachers College Press in 2015 with a foreword by the late Peter C. Murrell (and with contributions from additional authors Jon Clausen, Wilfridah Mucherah, and Susan Tancock), this volume highlights the award-winning “Schools Within the Context of Community” partnership between Ball State and the Whitely neighborhood of Muncie, Indiana. The authors explain the situated-learning philosophy that undergirds the program and how it meshes with clinical teacher preparation, community engagement, and service-learning to both develop culturally responsive educators and elevate student learning in the partner schools.
By Kristin McCabe
Are you looking for assistance in preparing your programs for accreditation or state review? Or maybe you’re in need of guidance on refining your internal quality assurance system, or using performance assessments with your teacher candidates, or just making sense of all the data and other evidence you’re collecting?
AACTE is ready to help you with these and other needs. In fact, you have several options to choose from just this semester, with more being rolled out later in 2017. Whether you prefer to take a convenient online course, hire a trained consultant, or bring your colleagues together for hand-on, facilitated planning, we aim to provide the support you need.