AACTE begins its virtual “Day on the Hill” today, September 21, through September 23
, as part of AACTE’s Washington Week
activities. Themed “Your Voice Matters,” the virtual event enables AACTE members to make their collective voices heard with Members of Congress and their Staff. Prior to their virtual Hill visits, participants engage in orientation and advocacy training in preparation to call for education funding and policy changes focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion in education and teacher preparation programs. Throughout the sessions, attendees will learn what context to consider when meeting with their legislators and explore the latest developments in Washington.
“AACTE’s leadership as an advocate for higher and K-12 education throughout our nation is powerful,” said Lynn M. Gangone, Ed.D., president and CEO, AACTE. “As our members come together as one voice during Washington Week, they remind our elected officials of the importance of education as the foundation of our democracy and ask our congresspeople to lend their unwavering support to our elementary, secondary, and post-secondary institutions, their educators, and their students.”
The Holmes Program Advanced Policy Short Course preceded Day on the Hill, including a ‘Capitol Hill Briefing’ with House Education and Labor Committee Staff and an interview with Congressman Mondaire Jones (NY-17). During the course, students learned strategies to elevate their research and amplify their voices to positively impact future policy for students of color and other marginalized groups.
Sessions at AACTE’s 2021 Day on the Hill include:
Tuesday, September 21, 2021
- Day on the Hill Opening Session
- The Big Picture: Current Policy & Political Landscape
- Legislative Priorities: Appropriations, the Higher Education Act, Reed/Adams Legislation, and Reconciliation
- What is Advocacy and Why is it Important?
- Using AACTE’s Legislative Priorities for an Effective Hill Meeting
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
- Capitol Hill Panel Discussion
- Education Deans Panel and Town Hall: Building Campus/Program Leadership for Advocacy
- Checking Your Own Politics at the Door: How to Talk with Policy Makers of Either Party and Effectively Tell Your Story
Thursday, September 23, 2021
- Day on the Hill – Virtual House and Senate Congressional Visits
AACTE’s Washington Week activities will conclude with the State Leaders Institute held September 30 through October 1
. For more information on AACTE Washington Week 2021, visit aacte.org
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Plan to attend the third Leadership Academy Series session under the theme, Reimaging the Future: A New Vision for Academic Leaders, on January 25, 2022.
Are you registered to attend AACTE’s Leadership Academy? Availability is limited, but there is still time to register and enjoy access to all recorded sessions and continue conversations with attendees via the AACTE Connect360 online community. You won’t want to miss what is coming up.
As a former early childhood public school prekindergarten teacher in rural South Carolina, I have always engaged in advocacy for better educational policies. I have been engrossed in issues such as reduced recess, teacher professional development policies, parent access, and teacher training since I was in the classroom. I continue to serve as a point of inspiration as a 13-year veteran teacher educator at a historically black college and university (HBCU). Such personal connections and identified issues led me not only to serve on the AACTE Committee on Government Relations and Advocacy but also to engage in AACTE’s “Day on the Hill.”
AACTE’s Government Relations and Advocacy Committee is as way for me to provide support, experience, and advice in an area that I feel honored to have some expertise in—early childhood teacher education—to affect change at the highest level of the United States Government through the AACTE community. I have always said, “I trust my leaders, but they always need to have access to all of the information and the right information to make a comprehensively informed decision.” I lay that same claim to politicians and other policy makers and enforcers. This committee has given me much additional excitement because I not only see changes happening, but also, I believe that my small, humble contributions help make a difference.
This past summer, the Iowa Department of Education and the University of Iowa announced a new partnership aimed to expand mental health supports for students, teachers, and school administrators. The Iowa Department of Education designated $20 million in federal relief provided in the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER II) Fund within the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRSSA) Act to help support the development of the Iowa Center for School Mental Health (ICSMH). This center is housed in the College of Education at the University of Iowa and will provide social-emotional-behavioral health (SEBH) focused training opportunities and resources for education professionals, pre-service teachers, school administrators, and conduct research on the effective delivery of these services.
In addition to the SEBH professional learning and trainings, the ICSMH is in the process of building a crisis response team, offering face-to-face and online crisis interventions, strategic planning support, needs assessment and SEBH program evaluation.
This article is a personal reflection of the 2021 Holmes Policy Institute by attendee Rangel Zarate.
This year’s AACTE Holmes Policy Institute was rich with memorable discussions about culturally-relevant care, digital technology in the classroom, and equity issues in schools.
The year 2021 has led to an unexpected metamorphosis in education and has forced many instructors and educational leaders to rethink the way they approach student learning and their own teaching practices. In our conference panel discussion, “Advancing Educational Equity Post-COVID” AACTE staffer and associate professors at Columbia University’s Teachers College Deltra Price-Dennis and Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz invited us to reflect on our own thoughts surrounding this new culture of change in educational institutions.
This article is a personal reflection of the 2021 Washington Week Holmes Policy Institute by attendee Kamilah Bywaters.
AACTE’s Holmes Policy Institute was literally “a breath of fresh air.” The gathering was a reminder of the extraordinary leaders within our nation who are dedicated and committed to forward thinking ideas that are good for all of humanity. I was more than thrilled to hear from Jessica Cardichon, assistant secretary in the Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development with the U.S. Department of Education. Her specific role that day was to inform Holmes Scholars of the initiatives and goals of the Biden Administration. To top it off, Nick Lee, the deputy assistant secretary for higher education, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development with the U.S. Department of Education, provided valuable information on one of the objectives to ensure that higher education is equity focused and affordable to underserved and underrepresented communities. I am filled with hope to know that many of our nation’s leaders listen to the communities they serve and strive to implement policy that provides access and does good in the world.
Connect with peers from across the nation during the virtual AACTE 2021 Washington Week
. Themed Your Voice Matters
, the conference unites AACTE’s collective efforts to advance education policy and funding to support programs at your local institutions. Hear what past attendees had to say about the value of Washington Week events in these testimonial videos:
Christine Carrino Gorowara, Ph.D.
Past president of the Delaware Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
University of Delaware
As we enter September, we are just weeks away from AACTE’s Day on the Hill, the Association’s premiere advocacy event. Participation in the event is critical to helping advance AACTE’s legislative priorities and highlighting the importance of teacher preparation programs. If you have not participated in Day on the Hill, or if you need a refresher, you may be wondering what attendees will be advocating for during their meetings with Members of Congress and congressional staffers. The AACTE team has posted a variety of Washington Week resources on the to help guide participants.
In many cases, you will be familiar with the issues: the importance of TEACH Grants, which are critical to helping students enter the teaching profession while helping to address shortages in hard-to-staff fields and schools; Teacher Quality Partnerships (TQP), which helps strengthen the teacher pipeline; and a variety of other bills that will help make sure our nation’s classrooms are staffed with profession-ready, diverse group of educators.
While it is helpful to review these materials ahead of Day on the Hill sessions, please know that we will discuss the political landscape and AACTE’s legislative priorities before meeting with members of congress to help you become more comfortable with advocacy. And there will be several other panels to help you understand why advocacy is important and how you can have successful meetings.
If you haven’t already, I hope you will plan to join us for our Day on the Hill. To register, please visit AACTE’s website.
In case you missed it, there is another opportunity to learn about how to use ESSER funding to recruit into Educator Preparation Programs (EPP).
As you know, in the past year, Congress has set aside billions for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund. To help educator preparation programs effectively allocate those funds, AACTE created an Advocacy Toolkit with examples from EPPs across the nation who are expanding their recruitment using federal dollars. In this workshop, GoReact and AACTE put together a panel of national, state, and university teacher preparation professionals. We explored one state—Tennessee—which used ESSER funds to support a statewide Grow Your Own Program to address teacher shortages and diversify the profession.
Are you following highlights of the AACTE 2021 Washington Week on Facebook and Twitter at #AACTEWW21? In addition to blog posts and testimonial videos, AACTE recently released a Washington Week infographic on social media. Check it out below!
Join AACTE for the second session in its virtual Leadership Academy Series
, “When Thinking Wrong is Right: Purposeful Disruption of the Status Quo
,” on Wednesday, October 20, from 2:00-3:30 p.m. ET. This session, facilitated by Patty Alvarez McHatton, senior vice president at Branch Alliance for Educator Diversity, and Kandi Hill-Clarke, dean of the College of Education at Memphis University, will cover:
- How do you find time to reflect, explore and innovate when work has become more intense and overwhelming?
- How do you challenge the status quo by applying lessons learned from this past year of working, teaching, and learning remotely?
- How do you disrupt the ordinary to consider when thinking wrong is the right thing to do?
Get ready to flex your “thinking wrong” muscles in this engaging, reflective, and fun session. Attendees will participate in open discussion, followed by small group interactive exercises, to put into practice thinking wrong to do right.
Register today at aacte.org
. AACTE members can attend this session, the third session in January 2022, and even access the recording of the first session, at one low registration rate of $99. Space is limited so secure your spot now!
Brian P. Yusko, president of the Ohio Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, provides insight into the impact the State Leaders Institute has on state leaders and affiliate members in the Q&A article.
Why do you believe it is important for AACTE members to actively advocate for education?
In our current political climate, educational policy is highly contested, with strong advocates for multiple competing goals of schooling. Many lawmakers feel comfortable proposing changes in P-12 educational policy without necessarily understanding all the implications for teacher preparation. If teacher educators are not at the table, policymakers are liable to make decisions that run counter to what we know about quality teacher education.
In the past year, Congress set aside billions for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund.
To help educator preparation programs effectively allocate those funds, GoReact and AACTE put together a panel of national, state, and university teacher prep professionals. They’ll dig into one state—Tennessee—that has used ESSER funds to support a statewide Grow Your Own Program to address teacher shortages and diversify the profession.
In this free workshop, our panelists will
- Analyze one particular state’s strategy for ESSER funds
- Share how ALL teacher prep programs can effectively use emergency relief funds
- Provide a resource AACTE has developed to support EPPs and Local Education Agencies to create a pathway into teaching
- Answer participant questions
AACTE’s annual Day on the Hill, the association’s premiere advocacy event, is scheduled for September 21-23. It is a unique opportunity to engage with your Members of Congress about the critical work you do. But some may wonder, “What do I get out of participating?”
First and foremost, you can explain to policymakers the importance of the teaching profession and why it is important to invest in teacher preparation programs to help address the teacher shortage and diversify the profession. Even before the pandemic, the teacher shortage was a critical issue for our nation. Studies and news reports indicate that COVID will make the problem more acute. Fortunately, President Biden has proposed historic funding increases for programs AACTE has long supported, like the Teacher Quality Partnerships, and doubling of the TEACH Grants, which are critical to training student to teach in high needs schools or fields. Your voice is critical to helping this legislation pass.
Hear from outstanding speakers regarding advancing educational equity and policy and promoting culturally sustaining practices in education: