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 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.”
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 (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.”
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:
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.
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.
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.”
Last week, President Obama signed an omnibus spending bill funding the government through the end of the fiscal year. This $1.1 trillion plan restores approximately two thirds ($1.6 billion) of the cuts made to the U.S. Department of Education in last year’s sequestration.
Perhaps most important to educator preparation programs, the omnibus maintains funding for Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grants, which fund partnerships between institutions of higher education and high-need school districts to create clinical and/or residency programs at the prebaccalaureate or graduate level. This means that the U.S. Department of Education will fund a new round of grants to partnerships seeking to reform teacher preparation programs. Stay tuned for more updates from AACTE on how to apply for this grant funding.
Several early childhood education bills were introduced recently in Congress.
A bipartisan bill, the Strong Start for America’s Children Act (H.R. 3461/S. 1697), was introduced November 13 in the House and Senate that would expand access to and quality of early learning programs for children. The bill was introduced in the Senate by Tom Harkin (D-IA), chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, and in the House by Representatives George Miller (D-CA), ranking member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, and Richard Hanna (R-NY). Hanna’s endorsement makes the bill bipartisan, although no Republicans in the Senate support the legislation.