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Solving the Teacher Shortage Crisis: APSU and CMCSS Team Up on New Program

The first class of residents in the Early Learning Teacher Residence program, a partnership between Austin Peay State University and the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System, wait to sign their contracts on May 24, 2019. (Photo: Jennifer Babich)

This article and photo originally appeared in the Leaf Chronicle and are reprinted with permission

These are not your typical college students.

Instead, they’re the first class of aspiring professionals embarking on a free three-year residency and degree program to turn themselves into teachers, as part of a partnership between Clarksville-Montgomery County Schools and Austin Peay State University.

Increasing Effective and Dynamic Inclusive Early Childhood Education Teachers


Bowling Green State University’s innovated Inclusive Early Childhood Education program seeks to address the need for teacher candidates to be well prepared to enter the classroom. BGSU recognized the importance of shifting their program to assist their teacher candidates in garnering the necessary teaching practices for a changing classroom environment. “We certainly have a wide array of learners with very diverse needs and one the things that this program helps us do is to ensure that we are graduating teachers that are ready to meet the needs of all those learners,” says Dawn Shinew, dean of the College of Education and Human Development at Bowling Green State University.

Every year, BGSU places over 900 teachers through 88 different partnerships with school districts throughout Ohio, which include both urban and rural districts and social service agencies. Teachers are expected to continue taking coursework during their clinical placements to ensure there is a connection among their coursework and their teacher training in the field. More importantly, BGSU believes teacher candidates should be exposed to the fieldwork earlier than what more traditional programs prescribe. Whereas other, more traditional programs place teacher candidates as student-teachers in their senior year of undergraduate studies, BGSU starts placing juniors in clinical settings with the hope to increase their exposure to their career and receive additional training in a variety of education settings, including special education and inclusive classrooms.  

The “Inconvenient Truths” of Early Childhood Education and Care

The United States needs to rethink its approach to early childhood education and care (ECEC), based on the experiences of innovative systems around the world, and develop a cohesive system that is high-quality, equitable, sustainable, and efficient. This is the principal finding of the groundbreaking study from the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE), The Early Advantage. An event to release the study was held in Washington, DC, on May 16.

The study examines how innovative jurisdictions around the world are strategically and inventively designing and implementing early childhood policies and services to advance children’s well-being, and provides policy recommendations to help the United States expand the reach, equity, and rigor of its early childhood offerings.

AACTE Selects 10 Institutions for Networked Improvement Community Around Special Education Teacher Shortage


AACTE received nearly 50 applications from preparation programs across the country to participate in the Reducing the Shortage of Special Education Teachers Networked Improvement Community supported by the CEEDAR Center! The AACTE Reducing the Shortage of Special Education Teachers Networked Improvement Community (NIC) aims to address the problem of the shortage and lack of diversity of fully prepared and credentialed special education teachers in public schools across the nation.

AACTE is proud to be partnering with the following member institutions in reducing the special education teacher shortage:

Cleveland State University
Eastern Michigan University
Texas State University
University of Central Florida
University of Nebraska at Omaha
University of Northern Colorado
University of Oregon
University of Wisconsin at Madison
Virginia State University
Western Kentucky University

New Research-to-Practice Spotlight Videos Feature Bowling Green and Portland State Universities


AACTE identified and documented two exemplary teacher preparation programs that ensure all of their candidates are ready to work with all students, including students with disabilities. We are pleased to feature a set of videos from each program documenting how they implement curriculum for dual certification (general education and special education) and feature extensive clinical preparation.

Bowling Green State University’s undergraduate Inclusive Early Childhood Program and Portland State University’s Secondary Dual Education Program support new and beginning teachers in teaching in inclusive classrooms. Both programs lead to certifications in general and special education. “These institutions ensure that all educators have the skills to work with students with disabilities in the 21st century,” said AACTE Consultant Jane West, “School districts scramble to hire these outstanding students, as they come with the mindset and the skillset to be effective with all students.”

Session highlights Innovative Programs that Address Workforce Needs


During the AACTE 2019 Annual Meeting, panelists for the Deeper Dive session, “Innovations to Address Today’s Workforce Needs” examined inclusive education preparation and strategies to address the national teacher shortage. The session highlighted AACTE’s partnership with the Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform (CEEDAR) Center at the University of Florida and its federal supporters.

AACTE Consultant Jane West, who leads the Association’s work with CEEDAR, moderated a discussion with panelists Mary Murphy and Mark Seals (Bowling Green State University) and Marvin Lynn (Portland State University) on best practices at Bowling Green’s undergraduate teaching program and Portland State’s master’s program. 

Apply to join AACTE’s Special Education Teacher Shortage NIC


AACTE is now accepting applications from member institutions to join a new networked improvement community (NIC) focused on special education teacher recruitment and retention.

The shortage of special education teachers and the lack of diversity among all teachers have been well documented. Half of all schools and 90% of high-poverty schools struggle to find qualified special education teachers.

The aim of this NIC is to positively impact the special education teacher shortage and the lack of diversity in the special education teacher workforce in public schools. Participating institutions will identify a range of best practices related to increasing enrollment, strengthening partnerships with P-12 schools, and retaining special education teachers.

Read more about this new initiative on our website and in the Reducing the Shortage of Special Education Teachers NIC Charter.

Applications are due on April 1, 2019.  Member institutions will be selected through a structured review process and notified in late April of 2019. An introductory virtual meeting will be held in May of 2019, and the first in-person convening will be held in the fall of 2019.

AACTE to form Special Education Networked Improvement Community (NIC)

AACTE will launch a Networked Improvement Community focused on Special Education Teacher Recruitment and Retention in May of 2019. The NIC will investigate strategies to address the persistent shortages in the field of special education.

The shortage of special education teachers and the lack of diversity among all teachers have been well documented. Half of all schools and 90% of high-poverty schools struggle to find qualified special education teachers. Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia report special education teacher shortages. However, special education teacher shortages are not evenly distributed across the country. Generally, high poverty areas—both urban and rural—are most likely to experience the most severe teacher shortages, including those in special education. States vary in the degree of shortage they experience.

AACTE Initiatives in Special Education Preparation Take Flight

AACTE is a national partner for the University of Florida’s Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform (CEEDAR) Center, which helps states and institutions of higher education to develop the ability of every teacher to prepare students with disabilities for college and careers. As a federally funded multi-million dollar project, CEEDAR works with AACTE and others to promote the preparation of all educators to have the mindset and skillset for effectively instructing students with disabilities along with all other students in the mainstream classroom.

“This initiative is about ensuring that all educators have the skills to work effectively with students with disabilities,” said AACTE Consultant Jane West, who leads the Association’s work with CEEDAR. “Special education has too often been considered a place and not a service. We are highlighting and promoting preparation for both general and special educators so they can provide effective instruction to students with disabilities in inclusive ways with an eye toward raising expectations and undermining the stigmatizing of students with disabilities.”

Share Your Feedback on Draft Standards and Competencies for Early Childhood Educators

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has released the first public draft of its position statement on “Professional Standards and Competencies for Early Childhood Educators.” Feedback from AACTE members—schools, colleges, and departments of education that house many early childhood degree programs—about the content and clarity of the statement is critical! We encourage you to provide feedback through this survey.

This statement is a revision of the 2009 position statement on “NAEYC Standards for Early Childhood Professional Preparation,” which is a cornerstone of the early childhood profession. It serves as the standards for NAEYC’s higher education accreditation system, as well as the standards for the NAEYC SPA recognition system through the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). It also influences states’ early childhood competencies and professional development systems and informs the program content and design of most early childhood degree programs (preparing an early childhood workforce that serves young children, birth through age eight).

Southern New Hampshire University Launches New Degree in Clinical Education

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) in Manchester launched its new clinical master’s degree program during the 2018-19 academic year. The program offers dual certification in elementary and special education or early childhood and early childhood special education. It is designed to prepare teacher candidates for certification and to ensure that new educators have the required skills, competencies, knowledge, and dispositions specifically needed to support the development and learning of students in elementary grades (K-8) and general special education (K-12).

“It’s an accelerated 15-month clinical program that enables teacher candidates to work clinically with students during 11 of those months,” said Mary Ford, Interim Dean in the School of Education at SNHU. “They are [working] in supervised clinical experiences learning the craft and skill of teaching as well as monitoring the learning progress of their K-12 students.”

Study Suggests Early Childhood Teacher Candidates Need More Support to Create Mathematical Modeling Problems

Have you seen the JTE Insider blog managed by the Journal of Teacher Education (JTE) editorial team? Check out the following interview with the authors of a recent article. This blog is available to the public, and AACTE members have free access to the articles themselves in the full JTE archives online – justlog in with your AACTE profile here.

This interview features insights from the article “An Examination of Preservice Teachers’ Capacity to Create Mathematical Modeling Problems for Children,” by Catherine Paolucci of the State University of New York at New Paltz and Helena Wessels of Stellenbosch University (South Africa). The article, which appears in the May/June issue of JTE, is summarized in the following abstract:

‘More Than Just a Score’: Making edTPA Work for Early Education

The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

At City University of New York’s Lehman College in the Bronx, our early childhood education students are known for their strong work ethic and resilience. Most are working parents, some with long commutes to class on public transit, and approximately 70% are bilingual, having learned English as a second language.

Early on in the edTPA process, we set out to disprove the contention that teachers of very young children – our teachers work with kids as young as 2 years old – would not score well on the assessment. It’s true that it can be challenging to reflect and write about giving feedback to such young students, especially when some of our teachers struggle with written English. But our students led the way in determining developmentally appropriate ways to provide feedback, and they documented their work during writing workshops on the weekends.

NCTQ Criticizes Preschool Teacher Prep in New Report

Last week the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) released a new report offering the council’s assessment of how well teacher preparation programs are preparing preschool educators. Again relying on course descriptions and syllabi for its evidence, NCTQ paints a predictably bleak picture, saying the “review of these programs shows little evidence of quality training focused on the needs of the preschool classroom.”

For this report, NCTQ reviewed 100 programs in 29 states and chose not to identify which programs were included in the review. Accompanying the report is a set of resources that include policy recommendations for states and school districts, outlining what NCTQ calls “essentials for a great preschool teacher prep program,” and a guide for would-be teachers, outlining what NCTQ believes they should look for in a teacher prep program.

Never Abandon Your Principles—Or Your Students

Wendy Bradshaw
Wendy Bradshaw, in a photo from her Facebook profile

It’s sad but true: In October, a veteran teacher in Florida resigned because the conditions under which she was required to work did not support best practice. Despite her love of teaching and her “highly effective” ratings in evaluations, Wendy Bradshaw was trapped in an untenable position because she was required to deploy practices that were developmentally inappropriate for her young students.

Based on her extensive training in human growth and development, this highly credentialed professional with bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees would not persist in activities that she knew to be harmful to her students. “Developmentally appropriate practice is the bedrock upon which early childhood education best practices are based, and has decades of empirical support behind it,” she writes in her resignation letter. “However, the new reforms not only disregard this research, they are actively forcing teachers to engage in practices which are not only ineffective but actively harmful to child development and the learning process.”

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