This article originally appeared in VCU News and is reprinted with permission.
Andrew P. Daire, Ph.D., dean of the School of Education at Virginia Commonwealth University, was appointed Wednesday as a co-chair of Virginia’s new advisory committee charged with making recommendations on culturally relevant and inclusive education practices in Virginia’s public schools.
The Culturally Relevant and Inclusive Education Practices Advisory Committee, which was established by the General Assembly during the 2020 session, held its inaugural virtual meeting Wednesday and Gov. Ralph Northam announced its leadership and members.
“Inclusive and culturally relevant learning environments are vital to creating equitable pathways to success for all Virginians,” Northam said in a news release. “The work of this committee will advance our ongoing efforts to tell the complete and accurate story of Virginia’s complex past, improve our history standards, and give educators opportunities to engage in important conversations and lessons with their students.”
During the virtual AACTE 2021 Annual Meeting, attendees are invited to join their peers at the Learning Lab session, Preparing Educators for Equitable Family, School, and Community Engagement on Thursday, February 25 from 3:45 – 4:45 p.m. AACTE member Gail Richmond of Michigan State University addresses this topic in the following thought leadership article.
Effective educators see themselves as more than just employees in a building. They consider themselves to be contributing members of a greater community. Educators do so much more than teach children academic lessons; they play a very important role in helping families and preparing young people to lead healthy and productive lives and to make their communities supportive and safe places to live. The more teachers know about the needs of their students, their families, and the communities in which they live, the more responsive they can be to those needs.
Powerful professional learning is the result of identifying and addressing relevant problems specific to individuals based on their own development and needs. Powerful professional learning also enables teachers to expand their perspectives and to refine their teaching strategies in order to be responsive to the students they educate, their family members, and the greater community.
The following statement was included in a Washington Post article on January 7.
AACTE President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone issued the following statement today regarding the horrific events that took place yesterday, January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol building:
“Our nation experienced a serious threat to our treasured democracy as rioters stormed one of our nation’s sacred buildings, the U.S. Capitol, intending damage and insurrection. We witnessed a challenge to our democracy that none of us could ever have imagined. Generated by our nation’s President, some Members of Congress, and their denial of the results of our free and open electoral process, this unlawful invasion of the Capitol has left us all stunned. Never could we imagine such an event would occur in our nation’s capital, the seat of our democracy.
We are further outraged by the vast difference in how these rioters were treated by police as compared to how peaceful protesters for Black Lives Matter have been treated. The discrepancies are stark and maddening.
This article is part of a series that originally appeared on the Education First Blog and is reprinted with permission.
Here in the College of Education at California State University Sacramento, we’ve been in the business of preparing teachers for 73 years, and in the past few years have prepared approximately 380 teachers annually across 12 certification areas. A central aspect of our offerings across these programs is a focus on helping candidates understand the relationship between societal inequities and student learning, with special focus on race, class, gender, and other socially constructed categories. We knew that these understandings were key to our candidates’ success in developing equitable, healthy relationships with their K-12 students.
But we found that this wasn’t enough. The mentor teachers who support our candidates in their clinical experiences started asking us faculty some tough questions about whether these aspects of our preparation really prepared our candidates to be ready to teach all children on day one. Was the preparation coherent and clear for candidates? Were candidates provided opportunities to practice the ways in which teachers cultivate equitable, culturally responsive anti-racist classroom environments?
This article originally appeared in Diverse Issues in Higher Education and is reprinted with permission.
As we embark upon a new year, it is important for education leaders to reflect on 2020 in order to assess what we got right, determine what went wrong, and then set a course for a more equitable education for all students in 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic illuminated the multiple and complex inequalities that exist in our schools. In remote learning environments, students who were already disengaged from school, in some cases, became more detached and harder to reach, particularly the population of historically underserved and marginalized PK-12 students. Undergraduate programs in higher education experienced similar issues, as some students felt more marginalized and isolated due to not being in classrooms. The pandemic has taught us that educator preparation programs must instill in teacher candidates the importance of building relationships. If educators don’t develop healthy and sound relationships based upon mutual trust with their students, then it’s harder to teach—and definitely harder to reach—those students for whom school is not a positive experience.
AACTE has launched a new initiative to examine state-level teacher certification assessment scores, with the goal to improve equitable and inclusive practices for promoting a diverse educator workforce. The initiative, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will enable AACTE to develop national guidelines and recommendations for state education leaders in establishing criteria for equitable evaluations for teacher candidates seeking state licensure.
“Left uninterrogated, standardized tests of any sort tend to spur inequalities, rather than resolve them,” said Leslie T. Fenwick, AACTE dean in residence. “If entrance exams are decimating the ranks of prospective pre-service teachers of color, we have a moral and practical obligation to correct the outsized impact of these tests on the future of our profession.”
Increase Focus on Technology and Commitment to Equity and Diversity
The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) Board of Directors has approved changes to the 2013 CAEP Standards for educator preparation. The CAEP Standards guide the nation’s top schools of education, those that are CAEP accredited, in preparing future K-12 teachers. The changes the Board approved include streamlining language, strengthening emphasis on technology, equity, and diversity. The revised standards are in effect for providers with visits in spring 2022.
“The changes to the standards maintain our commitment to continuous improvement for our organization and our providers. The CAEP Standards were developed in 2013 to unify the profession under a single set of standards, with a commitment to ensure they remain rigorous. The enhancement to the standards is based on research to ensure rigor and relevance,” said CAEP President Christopher A. Koch. “CAEP providers are committed to preparing graduates that are ready to teach all students on the first day they enter a classroom.”
Did you know that over 1,000 traditionally underrepresented doctoral students have benefitted from the AACTE Holmes Scholars Program? Through networking, collaboration, mentoring, leadership opportunities, and research activities, the program provides high-achieving minority students with rich professional development. In fact, you probably know a former scholar, as many are now in tenured faculty and leadership positions at institutions across the United States.
Educator preparation programs (EPPs) are keenly focused on developing strategies to advance the field of education, close the equity gap, and make a more diverse teacher workforce a reality, and the Holmes Scholar Program is an essential component to achieving those goals. To promote diversity of the education profession and to prepare educators who can serve diverse learners, the program provides EEPs with the opportunity to attract students from historically underrepresented communities, increase the retention and graduation rates of doctoral students of color, and strengthen the institution’s role as a leader in supporting diversity.
The nation’s transition to the 46th presidential administration are underway. AACTE provided the Biden-Harris Administration’s Education Transition Team with its policy priorities for the coming year. Much of AACTE’s priorities stem from its advocacy throughout the year to increase the federal investment in education in PK-20, with a specific focus on recruiting and sustaining candidates in its education preparation programs.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, educator preparation stands at a dangerous crossroad. The college and university programs that prepare our teachers, principals, school counselors, and other essential education professionals are experiencing a debilitating wave of closures and faculty layoffs.
This article originally appeared in Diverse Issues in Higher Education and is reprinted with permission.
The 1787 U.S. Constitution was ratified to establish justice, liberty, and prosperity, but not for all Americans. Like the Constitution, early American educational practices were based on a system of whiteness and elitism. Justice and prosperity for those who comprise marginalized groups have remained largely unfulfilled. We know for certain that we are a pluralistic society. No one group has singularly built this nation, secured its borders, nor defended its values. The plurality of our nation is our strength. As educators, particularly who prepare America’s future teachers, we must double down, now more than ever, on what Horace Mann said, “Education, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, the balance wheel of the social machinery.”
America has yet to become an equal society, and these societal ills create the need for scholar activism embedded in Critical Race Theory (CRT), which historically documents and names the atrocities carried out in this country in the name of freedom, liberty, and democracy. America’s struggle to uphold the Constitution for all its citizens makes it necessary to examine the structural oppression that encumbers the United State from fully living up to its democratic ideals. Through CRT, scholars across higher education have researched racial inequality that emerged from the social, economic, and legal differences created between races to maintain elite, white interests in this country. If our national laws and practices are to ensure justice and equity, then educators have a great deal of work to do in ensuring the American ideals we teach youth to value in school are a reality for all.
In a recent interview with AACTE, Gaëtane Jean-Marie, dean and professor of educational leadership at the College of Education, Rowan University, discusses the importance of preparing teacher candidates to understand the cultural background of students in moving toward a more humanistic approach to see the learner as an individual.
Why is it important to prepare teacher candidates in culturally responsive classroom management?
It is to really realize the belief that all children can learn. A while back when I was teaching as a faculty member, I remember DuFour’s comment that stayed and resonates with me; it is that, “if we truly believe that all children can learn, what then do we do when they can’t, when they are not learning?” It makes me ask: What is our responsibility to help bridge the cultural gap between teachers and students? As we continue to help diversify the teaching profession, it is still predominantly white teachers who are the educators, so how do we prepare them? What’s the responsibility of ensuring that our teacher candidates can really meet the needs of all learners? Given the demographic shift, where more of our Black and Brown children are in schools and will be taught by teachers who are not of the same race. If we are recognizing that it starts with the belief that all children can learn, then our belief must also align with our practices as we continue to work hard to diversify the profession. We espouse the belief that all children can learn; now let’s realize that dream.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, institutions of higher education have experienced various challenges, including transitions to online learning and adaptations to the delivery of campus services. Students, faculty, and staff alike have navigated feelings of anxiety and stress amid these uncertain times. Further, students that identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) are navigating two pandemics: COVID-19 and systemic racism. This reality presents an important question: How are university systems working to address racial injustice and support BIPOC students?
On Monday November 2, 2020, the College of Education (COE) Student Achievement Council (SAC) at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) collaborated with AACTE’s Holmes Scholars Program and the COE Diversity Committee to host a student outreach event with the purpose of addressing the aforementioned question. The three-part virtual presentation consisted of a welcome from COE Dean Stephen Silverman, a panel discussion with FAU’s Holmes Scholars, and an open discussion with all attendees of the event.
This article originally appeared in the USBE Information Technology magazine and is reprinted with permission.
Although minorities make up more than half of the student population in public schools, people of color make up about 20 percent of teachers. More than 70 percent of the total number of teachers are female. With support from the Education Writers Association, Chandra Thomas Whitfield took a close look at the shortage of Black male teachers in 2019. Nationwide, Whitfield found that only 2 percent of teachers are Black men.
Eleven months after Whitfield’s report, Alabama A&M University launched its Males for Alabama Education initiative to recruit Black male students who have an interest in teaching.
In October 2020, the Males for Alabama Education (M.AL.E.) Initiative announced that the scholarship program is accepting applications again.
Coordinated by the College of Education, Humanities and Behavioral Sciences and its Department of Teacher Education and Leadership, the M.AL.E. Initiative aims to:
At its September meeting, the AACTE Board of Directors appointed new members to the programmatic advisory committees, including two new committees on Educator Diversity and the Holmes Program. Congratulations to these AACTE members, who will assume these positions on March 1, 2021, and a special thank you to everyone who submitted a nomination for these important volunteer leadership roles.
This podcast interview features insights from the article “Education Policy and Black Teachers: Perspectives on Race, Policy, and Teacher Diversity” by Terrenda White, Brian Woodward, DaVonna Graham, H. Richard Milner, and Tyrone C. Howard. The article is published in the September/October 2020 of the Journal of Teacher Education. AACTE members have free access to the articles in the JTE online archives—log in with your AACTE profile.