The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Haring Center for Inclusive Education at the University of Washington announced that they are expanding their Inclusionary Practice Project (IPP) to include preschools across the state. This work is part of a statewide effort to help more schools to adopt a culture of inclusion.
“When we meaningfully include students with disabilities in general education settings with their peers, all students see improved academic and social outcomes,” said Glenna Gallo, assistant superintendent of special education at OSPI.
In Washington, 49.7% of students with disabilities are participating in early childhood classes separate from their peers. Further, Washington is currently one of the least inclusive states, ranking 44th in the nation.
The Ohio State University’s College of Education and Human Ecology will host a webinar series this fall on anti-racism in educational research for its alumni and the general public. This series, titled “Unapologetic Educational Research: Addressing Anti-Blackness, Racism and White Supremacy,” will examine how to conduct research on race that moves beyond the standardized approach to educational research. Participants will learn strategies to ensure that their research practices are equitable to inform findings that do not perpetuate the marginalization of people of color.
The series will launch on October 1, and feature sessions on a variety of topics, including engaging “diversity” in qualitative research, interrogating whiteness, and conducting research with indigenous methodologies. The webinar will feature guest alumni: D-L Stewart of Colorado State University, Rich Milner of Vanderbilt University, and April Peters-Hawkins of the University of Houston.
Learn more about the events and how to register.
With the growing racial unrest in the country, higher education institutions are uniquely situated to promote anti-racism through education, create safe spaces for marginalized communities, engage in coalition building and ensure accountability in addressing bias, harassment and discrimination complaints. Colleges and universities across the country are responding to the current climate and the persistent issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion by appointing Chief Diversity Officers in record numbers. In an upcoming panel session hosted by Rowan University, Chief Diversity Officers at New Jersey higher education institutions will discuss promising gains in reimagining campuses that center the voices of diverse communities and leading institutional change that results in positive outcomes for students, faculty, and staff.
The session, “Dreams Will Not Be Deferred: A Conversation with Chief Diversity Officers on the Status Of Diversity, Equity And Inclusion In New Jersey Higher Education Institutions,” will take place Friday, September 25, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. Join the conversation at GO.ROWAN.EDU/DEINJCDO.
The following article by AACTE Dean in Residence Leslie T. Fenwick is reprinted with permission from Diverse: Issues In Higher Education, 2020.
Dear Generation Z Students,
You are digital natives. So, this letter would better reach you by video, Instagram, Snapchat, maybe Twitter or a hashtag. But I need more letter characters and time than these platforms allow.
Please bear with me as you read. I warn you: First, my history recitation may seem unrelated but stick with me. Second, you might be tempted to read my analysis of White male power as a screed against all White males. It is not.
Did you learn about Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg in your history class? I’d like you to consider this battle as a metaphor for what you’re witnessing now with the murders of George Floyd, a truck driver and bar bouncer laid off due to the COVID pandemic; Breonna Taylor, an EMT and emergency room tech; Ahmaud Arbery, an avid jogger; and, the assault of Christian Cooper, a Harvard grad and bird watcher victimized by a White woman who used an old, violent trick – call the police and lie about being attacked by a Black man .
General George Pickett (known as the Lost Cause General of the Confederate South) fought a losing battle on July 3, 1863. Pickett and his all White male brigade were fighting to maintain an apartheid south built on the brutalizing, free labor of enslaved African men, women, and children. Pickett moved well above the Mason-Dixon Line and took about 12,000 Confederate soldiers straight into the heart of Union territory, Pennsylvania.
For much of 2020, COVID-19 has forced AACTE and its members to “think outside the box” and reimagine programming. Just last week, AACTE conducted its inaugural virtual event, with educators coming together to receive advocacy training and learn effective techniques for effectively engaging with political leaders. And in keeping with innovating its professional development opportunities during the current pandemic, the association is pleased to announce the 2020 AACTE Leadership Academy Series.
In lieu of the traditional, in-person, four-day training, this years’ experience will offer a series of interactive sessions for attendees. The six-session experience will take place in two parts, with three sessions to be offered this fall, and the other three sessions to be offered during the 2021 Annual Meeting. Under the theme of “Leading During Difficult Times,” the three fall sessions will explore content in the following areas:
October 14 – Addressing Issues in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
October 27 – Collaborative Decision-Making During Crisis
November 10 – Re-Thinking Field Experience
AACTE delivered its first virtual Day on the Hill advocacy event this past week. Over two days, attendees met with Congressional staff, AACTE Committee on Government Relations members, and panelists to develop their advocacy toolkit. This week, the attendees will host two days of Congressional visits with the senators and representatives from their states. AACTE state teams will be advocating for the AACTE 2020 Legislative Priorities, which describe the needs of educator preparation as we address twin pandemics: COVID-19 and racial injustice.
In preparation for their virtual Congressional Visits, attendees practiced how to communicate the priorities to legislative leaders, were briefed on current data related to educator shortages, the important to increase funding toward TEACH grants and Teacher Quality Partnership Grants within educator preparation programs, and the value of funding the Institute for Education Sciences, which is the principal research agency for education in the United States.
In addition, attendees received resources to support their learning. Each of these resources is available to all AACTE members!
This article is an excerpt that originally appeared in the AACTE Journal of Teacher Education (JTE) and is co-authored by Marleen C. Pugach, Ananya M. Matewos, and Joyce Gomez-Najarro. AACTE members have free access to the articles in the JTE online archives—log in with your AACTE profile to read the full article.
Preparing teachers for social justice has long been a driving force within teacher education, reflecting a commitment to educating students from multiple social identity groups who are marginalized and oppressed in schools. Given any particular decade, specific social identity markers may take center stage in this work—with new markers gaining visibility as previously neglected identity groups begin to receive vital, much needed attention.
Alongside social justice concerns for equity regarding race, class, ethnicity, gender, language, socioeconomic status and, more recently, sexual orientation and religion, stands the question of disability. As part of the overall vision for social justice, disability is generally viewed as a key social marker of identity. Yet students with disabilities continue to be marginalized and have persistently lower academic outcomes, such as graduation rates, compared to their mainstream peers (U.S. Department of Education, 2015). The connection between social justice and disability was amplified with the emergence of the disability studies in education (DSE) movement in the 1990s, which views disability as a socially constructed phenomenon, shifting its historical definition away from an immutable individual characteristic (Baglieri et al., 2011). Furthermore, the inclusion of students with disabilities itself has long been viewed as a social justice issue (Artiles et al., 2006).
The following article is an excerpt of a transcribed podcast interview on the GoReact blog with AACTE board member Marquita Grenot-Scheyer, who serves as the assistant vice chancellor of Educator Preparation and Public School Programs for California State University (CSU). Grenot-Scheyer also sits on the board of directors for the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. In this episode, she discusses her experience in special education as well as CSU’s exciting initiatives and research.
When did you realize that you wanted to dedicate your career to teaching students with disabilities?
Grenot-Scheyer: I don’t think I realized it until I was a freshman in college, but my mother always reminded me that I talked about wanting to be a teacher from a very young age, and I just have no recollection of that. But my freshman year in college, at California State University, Los Angeles, I had an incredible field experience with some really complex and endearing young people. And that just set the path forward for what I wanted to do.
How Special Education Has Changed Over Time
So, as you mentioned, you began working with students with disabilities in the 1970s. What was it like to do special education at that time, and how has it changed since then?
Grenot-Scheyer: So when I began my career as a special educator, students with disabilities were predominantly served in isolated, segregated schools and classrooms. So that is, all students with disabilities in one facility. And so my first clinical experience was in a segregated school in a small community in Los Angeles, where students with the most challenging behavioral and physical and developmental abilities were all clustered together. And at the time, the feeling and the research said that was the best way to provide services to kids with disabilities. We now know, decades later, based upon research, based upon federal and state laws, that in fact, the best place to educate students with disabilities is in regular schools, alongside typically-developing peers. So the service delivery models have changed dramatically in some schools and in some communities, but in other schools and communities, students with disabilities are still being served in segregated settings. But we now know that’s not the best way to do it.
Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash
This article orginially appeared in University Business and is reprinted with persmission.
We are living in a monumental moment in time. The unjust deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and many others call for greater social justice and equity in our society. While many institutions of higher education and educator preparation programs are talking about equity in education and the need for actionable change, having a deep passion and a meaningful, verbal commitment to social justice is not enough. We cannot move the needle forward in creating a more equitable education system until we address the root areas where change needs to happen—implicit, institutional, and systemic biases.
The data is clear. We live in a more segregated society now than the past 30 to 40 years. When students are segregated in elementary, middle and high school, they may not have any meaningful interactions over a long period of time with people who are different from them. When students graduate from high school and enter into a teacher preparation program, they could potentially complete their entire program without ever having a faculty of color.
Candidates have not adequately learned about racism in America, and they do not possess the context to understand the frustration and anger that underrepresented minorities feel. Students may be offered a gratuitous multiculturalism course in which they superficially learn about diversity, but do not learn about critical race theory, cultural responsiveness and proficiency as a standard part of the curriculum. They may never receive the opportunity to confront their own implicit biases, and then are placed in a classroom full of children with cultural backgrounds that they simply do not understand. From the lens of the children in the classroom, they do not see a teacher who looks like them or that they can relate to, and therefore, they are not drawn to pursuing a career in education.
The Abolitionist Teaching Network recently released a Guide for Racial Justice and Abolitionist Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). Founded by educators and activists, the Network’s mission is to develop and support educators to fight injustice in their schools and communities.
The Guide for Racial Justice and Abolitionist SEL seeks to engage teachers and administrators in critical reflection and action to address the injustices that impact Black, Brown, and Indigenous students and families. It also challenges educators to abandon the Eurocentric approach of SEL that promotes the use of school resource officers and exclusionary discipline practices. Instead, educators are encouraged to adopt abolitionist practices of SEL that are culturally responsive, reciprocal in nature, transformative and centered on healing.
The guide also accentuates the important role of educator preparation programs to prepare more Black, Brown, and Indigenous teachers, school counselors and administrators. Research consistently suggest that all students benefit from having diverse educators, including increased academic and social emotional outcomes. Diverse educators also have unique attributes that can break down racial stereotypes, and an innate ability to affirm Black, Brown, and Indigenous students’ sense of belonging.
Read more about the guide and resources to promote anti-racist teaching and learning.
Meet Maria, a Mexican American student who entered school with a suitcase full of treasures—including her culture, family traditions, and experiences. She called her suitcase a maleta. Her teachers made it clear that her maleta was not welcome. While she was never explicitly told to leave her treasures at the classroom door, through their curricula, instruction, and assessment practices, her teachers made it known that her culture did not and have value and would hinder her learning. They gave her a new maleta, one filled with the U.S. culture; they believed this maleta would serve her better. As a result, she felt deep shame over the most essential elements of her humanity.
I am Maria—and to this day, I feel the pain of my teachers stealing my humanity.
Teacher evaluation at the center of inequity
Today, our nation is focused on inequities in our education and justice systems. While many school districts and universities have released diversity and social justice statements, the harsh reality remains that some areas within our education system are obstructions to racial equity in our schools—including teacher evaluation tools. This negligence has a profound, lifelong impact on culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) learners. It is time for education leaders to challenge white supremacy and racial bias in teacher evaluation.
Inclusive leadership is better for schools, teachers, and all students. Every student deserves to attend a school led by a principal with the skills, knowledge, and training to promote equity for all students, including students with disabilities. Yet, general education teachers and school principals report being underprepared to effectively serve students with disabilities. Only 12 percent of a nationally representative sample of school principals and only 17 percent of general education teachers report feeling well prepared to serve and teach students with disabilities.
Support for Preparing Inclusive School Leaders During COVID-19
While the COVID-19 crisis has disrupted education for all students, students with disabilities face unique challenges in transitioning to remote learning and in their eventual transition back to the classroom. Like the pandemic and the systemic racism plaguing our nation, inequitable access to effective school leadership is more prevalent for underserved populations, including students with disabilities. A recently released brief from CCSSO, the CEEDAR Center, and the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders highlights key recommendations, examples, and resources to support educator preparation programs (EPPs) and Deans of Education in addressing the pressing challenges for school leaders posed by the COVID-19 crises.
This year’s Capital Hill visits during Washington Week will feature AACTE’s DEI Handbook, which will include your strategies to elevate diversity, equity, and inclusion within your institutions.
What might those strategies look like? We are glad you asked! While DEI may be a broad concept, we are most interested in learning about how you are supporting the recruitment and retention of students and faculty of color on your campus. We also want to know how you are supporting your faculty and staff to become culturally competent in their teaching, research, and in their community engagement.
Why should you submit your strategies? You are shaping the field! Your practices matter to your colleagues, to your peer institutions, and importantly to your Congressional leaders:
- AACTE members want to learn from you.
- Your peers want to develop their own strategies and build off of your models.
- Your Congressional leaders need the evidence of your strategies to advocate for increased funding.
The University of Washington today announced a $6 million anonymous gift earmarked to bolster diversity in the education workforce, a key driver in ultimate K-12 student success, especially for students of color.
The gift will expand financial support for and recruitment of teacher candidates from diverse backgrounds, including candidates of color and those who are multilingual. In addition, the gift provides professional learning and supports to enhance retention in the teaching workforce, and evaluation and dissemination of the key learnings to aid efforts across the nation to boost the racial, ethnic and linguistic diversity of teachers entering the profession.
“This extraordinary and generous donation will help to develop a more diverse and representative educational workforce,” said UW President Ana Mari Cauce. “We are deeply grateful for this forward-looking gift that will do so much to benefit students, especially multilingual students and students of color, as well as the students they go on to teach and mentor as educators.”
On behalf of the Board of Directors of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone issued the following statement today regarding the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency’s guidance that forces colleges and universities to reopen with in-person classes:
“AACTE is appalled by efforts to deny international students from attending U.S. colleges and universities on the basis of enrollment in online versus in-person classes. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency’s position prohibits new or initial students on foreign visas after March 9 from entering the country and enrolling in fully online courses, thus forcing them to take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction this fall. This policy is both harmful to the health, safety, and overall well-being of the students and detrimental to their educational trajectories. Additionally, this action exacerbates the complex challenges institutions of higher education already face during this unprecedented time.