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Collaborate with Colleagues via Topical Action Groups in AACTE Connect360

Initatiate. Collaborate. DiscussAre you interested in connecting with colleagues that share your interests and have similar areas of expertise?  If so, AACTE encourages you to join one of its  Topical Action Groups (TAGs).

TAGs are AACTE action-oriented working groups that focus on areas such as accreditation, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), elementary education, research in teacher preparation, international education, and women in leadership—just to name a few. In addition to collaborating with your peers, AACTE provides TAGs with operational funds, marketing and staff support, and complimentary meeting space at the AACTE Annual Meeting.

Biden Budget Proposal is Historic High-Water Mark for Education Funding

Medal for achievement in education with diploma, hat and books standing on stack of coins on gray backgroundThis blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide updated information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE. 

Biden- Harris Administration Unveils Massive Budget with Historic Investments in Education

On the Friday before the long-awaited Memorial Day holiday, just as Members of Congress were headed home and the rest of us were finalizing our plans for the long weekend, the White House unveiled the complete version of the Biden-Harris Administration’s full budget proposal for FY 2022.

The budget proposal calls for $102.8 billion for the Department of Education—a $29.8 billion or 41% increase to the Department’s current spending levels. This increase in funding would be the largest increase the Department has seen since its inception in 1979.

MU Enrollment Rates for Higher Education Teaching Programs Stay Steady, Despite Pandemic

This article originally appeared on KOMU 8 and is reprinted with permission.

Education programs across the country were presented with unforeseen challenges during the pandemic, in a career field that is already difficult to recruit for.

Despite these challenges, the University of Missouri’s program has not seen any impact on their enrollment numbers from the pandemic.

A survey conducted by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education found that 19% of undergraduate-level and 11% of graduate-level teaching programs saw a significant drop in enrollment this year, according to the New York Times. 

Associate Dean for Student Success and Academic Affairs and Professor John Lannin said this is because of intentional outreach to prospective students.

Ohio’s Work to Support Children from Marginalized Groups

Ohio Deans CompactThe Ohio Deans Compact on Exceptional Children has a mission to act collectively in support of improved learning and results for all children, but especially those from marginalized groups. Compact serves as a forum for shared learning and collective action. Due to its efforts, critical connections have been made within and outside the state through representation from key stakeholder groups, including the members of Ohio Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and AACTE.

The 30-member organization meets quarterly and is comprised of leaders from the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE). Compact members participate on one of four standing committees (Dissemination, Impact Evaluation, Low Incidence, Policy). Institutions that are awarded incentive grants through the Compact participate in a facilitated community of practice (CoP), which serves as a peer-to-peer network for representatives from public and private institutions.

Standardized Tests are Overused, Misused, and Should Be Eliminated for College Admission

This article originally appeared in the Opinion section of The Columbus Dispatch and is reprinted with permission.

Photo of students taking standardized tests.

I applaud Ohio University—together with more than half of four-year colleges nationwide—in adopting a test-optional pathway for admission for first-year applicants.

All institutions of higher education should lead the efforts to reverse structural roadblocks to potential students and provide access to the promise of an enriched life that education can provide.

For too long, standardized testing has been overused and misused in ways that either knowingly or inadvertently set up structures akin to institutional and structural inequities. Structural inequities consist of laws, rules or official policies in a society that result in and support a continued unfair advantage to some people—deep patterns of socioeconomic inequalities and disadvantage due to socioeconomic class or racism.

Though institutions of higher education should have standards for admission, they have an obligation to eliminate barriers for students and expand access to higher education. Newly proposed standards—such as those by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation—will succeed in this mission without negatively impacting academic quality or student

Six Minority Serving Institutions Transform Teacher Preparation by Explicitly Infusing Equity into Programming

Branch Alliance Institutions

Educator preparation providers (EPPs) at six minority serving institutions (MSIs) across the United States selected to participate in Branch Alliance for Educator Diversity’s (BranchED) National Teacher Preparation Transformation Center will undergo an immersion process aimed at producing highly effective and diverse teachers.

 

Institutions comprising BranchED’s National Teacher Preparation Transformation Center’s Cohort 2 include Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, AL, Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles, CA, Texas A&M International University in Laredo, Texas, University of La Verne in La Verne, CA., Virginia State University in Petersburg, VA, and West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas. The pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade (PK-12) school district partners for these respective institutions also participate in the Transformation Center.

Congress Advances COVID Relief and Secretary of Education Confirmation

U.S. Capitol

Biden’s COVID Relief Proposal Moves Forward in the House

As per the requirements of the Budget Resolution that passed earlier this month, the shift was made this week to committees of jurisdiction. Eleven committees are involved in the House and each must draft an individual bill in compliance with the instructions in the Budget Resolution. Then the Committees submit those bills back to the Budget Committee, which creates the overall $1.9 trillion package to be considered by the full House. The same process is supposed to occur in the Senate—all with the deadline of March 14 when current COVID unemployment supplements expire.

Three Committees include important provisions related to education. The first—the Committee on Education and Labor—finalized their $170 billion proposal for education, over twice the annual budget for the Department of Education.  The Committee approved the measure, 27-21, along party lines after considering more than 30 amendments, several of which were intended to require schools to reopen for in-person instruction. The $170 billion is comprised of $130 billion for K-12 schools and $40 billion for higher education. Led by Chair Bobby Scott (D-Va.), the Committee package also includes an increase of the minimum wage to $15 per hour, which Republicans oppose.

Celebrating HBCU Icons of Teacher Education

The members of AACTE’s HBCU Teacher Education Topical Action Group (TAG) are very proud of the contributions of Historically Black Colleges and Universities’ (HBCU) educators and researchers and the work that they have done within and beyond academia. More importantly, we commend the contributions made through the discourse and praxis on equity in education. We want to celebrate these contributions and promote the excellence that emanates from HBCU educator preparation programs. We look forward to your participation at our annual business virtual meeting on February 23, 2021 from 4:00 to 6:00 pm.

In keeping with this year’s theme, Resisting Hate, Restoring Hope: Engaging in Courageous Action, The HBCU Teacher Education TAG will engage in a discussion on how we are instrumental in this purpose by using our unique positionally to provide leadership on issues of diversity and inclusion. We hope you will consider joining us.

The Biden-Harris Era Begins

This blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide updated information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

 Just two weeks after a riotous mob vandalized the Capitol, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took the oath of office on the steps of the very same building. Setting the tone of unity, President Biden urged us to “see each other not as adversaries but as neighbors” and to “join forces, stop the shouting, and lower the temperature.” With three living former presidents (Clinton, Bush, Obama) from both sides of the aisle joining together to send a message of support to incoming President Biden, a hopeful tone is set for moving forward.

With astounding speed, the new Administration got right to work. President Biden signed 17 executive orders, memoranda, and proclamations on the first afternoon of his Presidency. Among them were orders to rejoin the Paris climate accord, end the former Administration’s travel ban on predominantly Muslim and African countries; impose a national mandate requiring masks and physical distancing in all federal buildings, on all federal lands, and by all federal employees; and to pause Federal student loan payments through September.    

On Thursday, the president took further  executive actions that aligned with his pledge to reopen most K-12 schools in his first 100 days in office. These orders will help support the reopening goal by way of developing a national strategy to get the coronavirus under control. One executive order  will direct the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services to provide reopening guidance to schools with a focus on masking, testing and cleaning. A separate presidential memorandum will offer reimbursement to schools for purchases of personal protective equipment through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster relief fund.

Looking Ahead to the Biden Administration and the 117th Congress

White House

This blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide updated information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

Yesterday, President-Elect Biden revealed his massive $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan, hoping to jump start consideration in Congress. The goal of the education portion of the bill is to provide enough support for a robust vaccination plan, treatment, and funding to reopen a majority of K-8 schools safely within 100 days.  The proposal provides $170 billion for K-12 and higher education. To date, the Congress has enacted almost $113 billion for the Department of Education in COVID relief funds. 

Of the $170 billion in education funds, $130 billion would be for K-12 relief intended to cover technology needs; counseling, support for social, emotional, and academic needs of students; provision of smaller classes’ PPE, extra transportation; cleaning costs; and more. The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund includes $35 billion for public colleges, public and private HBCUs and Minority Serving Institutions to provide online learning and emergency grants to students. A Governors’ fund is allocated $5 billion to support education for areas that have been the hardest hit by COVID, from pre-K through higher education. In addition, $350 billion is made available for state and local fiscal relief, a portion of which may be used for education. Funds are provided for regular testing for teachers and students, per recommendations from the Rockefeller Foundation.

Reflecting Back to Move Equity in Education Forward

TMarvin Lynnhis 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.

The Financial Crossroad of Teacher Education

Teacher wearing mask in classroom

Administrators and faculty of educator preparation programs (EPPs) have long been concerned about the challenge of attracting students to a profession where college affordability and financial compensation discourages them from pursuing teaching as a career. However, due to the pandemic, the concern is growing. Our nation’s educational system is at a critical crossroad where teacher shortages and budget cuts are colliding. On one hand we have teachers who are retiring early amid health concerns or being furloughed, and on the other hand, we have EPPs with shrinking programs and enrollment. This is the perfect storm many education leaders have feared, and the impact will be acute if we do not find ways to encourage diverse and talented students to enter a career in education.

To start, we need to address the financial challenges that future educators face, including a high student loan debt to earnings ratio and lack of awareness of scholarships and loan forgiveness at the federal, state, and university levels. Recently, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) released the Issue Brief, How Do Education Students Pay for College?, based upon data from the 2015-16 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS). According to the data, by the time education students graduate, 76% of them have taken student loans, and the average amount they borrow is nearly $28,000.

Desperate Circumstances Prompt a Desperate Call on Congress

COVID-19 outbreak impact This month, AACTE joined like-minded institutions in writing a letter to congressional leaders in updating their earlier findings regarding four key COVID-19-related economic indicators that are placing significant financial burdens on higher educational institutions. The emergence of more detailed data regarding these four categories (enrollment, student financial need, auxiliary revenues, and new expenditures) revealed the troubling truth that our prior estimates about the impact of COVID-19 on the economic health of educational institutions was significantly underestimated and that the challenges students and schools are facing are far more severe than initially thought.  

As a consequence of these updated findings, AACTE signed on to a new letter urging Congress and the Administration to finalize negotiations as quickly as possible on a supplemental spending bill of sufficient size to provide at least $120 billion in needed support to students and campuses across the country. The detailed new findings described in the letter, while suggesting a potentially long, painful economic road ahead for some higher ed, provides a detailed and illuminating accounting of the many ways COVID-19 is burdening enrollment, student aid, and revenues at institutions of higher learning around the country.

Webinar Recap: How Do Students Pay for College

A growing body of research suggests that concerns about compensation generally—and about being able to repay student loans in particular—are dissuading college students from choosing teaching as a career. To help AACTE members better understand the financial pressures impacting education students, a new issue brief takes a detailed look at how students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in education pay for college, including the costs they face and the financial sources they tap to meet those expenses. 

During AACTE’s webinar “How Do Students Pay for College,” author Jacqueline King and Jane West discussed the implications of these findings, as well as recommendations for campus practice and federal policy.

King began the webinar by explaining, “Student financing of education feels archaic and arcane … can be kind of intimidating.” To help those who were unable to join this webinar, outlined below are specific parts of the online discussion that may address some of your most pressing concerns around financing teacher candidate education. Access the recording at aacte.org. 

AACTE Sends Policy Priorities to Biden-Harris Education Transition Team

Hand writing Policy List with red markerThe 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.

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