This op-ed originally appeared in District Administration and is reprinted with permission.
Unprecedented times call for unprecedented responses. For the first time, much of the country appears to have the same goal: getting both students and teachers back into schools. To that end, there has never been a more critical time to advocate for educator preparation and policies than now.
COVID-19 drastically changed the world, and its impact continues to influence opinions, strategies, and even political policies. The pandemic shined a spotlight on the importance of education for both students and educators alike. Everyone could finally see the existing deficits in the education system. The absence of education in the physical classroom revealed the importance of educating our children and ensuring quality learning environments.
This article originally appeared in The Hechinger Report.
Long before the pandemic, school districts across the nation struggled to staff classrooms with skilled teachers. The crisis did not create the teacher shortage, but it accelerated teacher retirements and other departures while contributing to declining enrollments in educator preparation programs.
Our nation’s education system spans national, state, district, classroom and community levels. Many rightly wonder if this ecosystem’s demand for qualified teachers can be met in the post-pandemic era.
To do so, we need deeper—and more active—collaborations to address the multiple layers of challenges inside the teaching profession so that we can effectively recruit, train and retain more teachers.
Series one, episode six of the AACTE Podcast, Revolutionizing Education, is now available.
The latest and final episode of series one features a discussion surrounding the critical question: How do we design authentic field experiences that equip students with evidence-based skills to support a sustainable career? Tara Mathien from the University of Florida shares how the adaptations that her educator preparation program made throughout this past year has led to lasting change that will continue to be implemented in the future.
Listen now to Episode 6: Jack Be Nimble
Series one, episode five of the AACTE Podcast, Revolutionizing Education, is now available.
The latest episode features one of the largest Hispanic-Serving Institutions in the nation, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV), embarking on a transformation of its teacher preparation program centered on the college mission, vision, and three priorities: quality, culture of inquiry, and positionality. In this episode, Sandra Musanti and Alma Rodriguez from UTRGV share what they have identified to be the three areas of emphasis to guide the transformation work: a practice-based teacher education model, culturally and linguistically sustaining pedagogies, and technology for the 21st century.
Listen now to Episode 5: Transformiing Teacher Preparation
Series one, episode four of the AACTE Podcast, Revolutionizing Education, is now available.
The latest episode features the story of an educator preparation program facing multiple challenges in its work to prepare teacher candidates for the classroom. Additionally, covering how their local school district faces its own pressures impacted by teacher shortages, poor teacher performance, high burnout, and issues with retention. In the fourth episode of the Revolutionizing Education Podcast, Jeff Bill and Ashley Smith from Pitt County Schools and Christina Tschida from Appalachian State University share three case stories featuring the use of co-teaching and demonstrating a partnership between university and schools that builds capacity, efficacy, and resilience in teachers at various levels of preparation.
Listen now to Episode 4: Learning Together
On behalf of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone issued the following statement on the House Appropriations Committee passage of the fiscal year 2022 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill:
“AACTE is deeply gratified to see such an historic investment in education, and particularly in educator preparation. While our members have advocated for years, indeed decades, for such investments, this is the first time Congress has responded with such a robust bill. These unprecedented increases will make a significant difference in addressing the long-term deficits in our nation’s education system. They will enable our nation to address the critical shortage of educators and the lack of diversity in our profession in transformative ways. AACTE urges Congress to pass this legislation and send it to President Biden for his signature as soon as possible.”
Series one, episode three of the AACTE Podcast, Revolutionizing Education, is now available.
The latest episode features The RockTEACH Program at member institution Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania. It covers the efforts of the university to diversify the teacher workforce by recruiting underrepresented minority high school students to the field of teaching, providing financial assistance and mentoring support through the RockTEACH Program. AACTE members Monique Alexander, Jeremy Lynch, Christine Walsh, and Linda Zane of Slippery Rock share the story, the situation, and the results of the program. Listeners will gain insight into a burgeoning and multifaceted program to support a diverse teacher pipeline and develop an understanding of the critical elements and challenges of their story.
Listen now to Episode 3: The RockTEACH Program
AACTE is excited to announce its first ever podcast, Revolutionizing Education
, is now available! This new podcast examines ways to innovate educator preparation and education for all learners. AACTE’s first series highlights case stories shared by members during the 2021 Annual Meeting. The first two episodes are available now, with additional episodes being released throughout the summer. A second series will premiere this fall featuring live interviews with AACTE members and partners, national education leaders, teacher candidates, and students.
AACTE is expanding the reach of its members’ work in educator preparation through podcasting. Episodes of Revolutionizing Education are available on Apple Podcasts
, Google Podcasts
, and Spotify
, where you can not only listen to or download the podcast, but also leave ratings, reviews, and feedback.
Listen now to the first two episodes:
In this episode, we hear from AACTE members Kyle Harrison, Kelly Hayek, and Irene Ann Resenly from the University of Wisconsin who explore the role of joy in teacher education.
In this episode, Eva Zygmunt from Ball State University in Muncie, IN, details the creative efforts of a mid-sized, midwestern community collaborative to reclaim its school district from a state-takeover, resulting in the legislated granting of authority over the local district to the state university.
Follow the AACTE Podcast on Twitter
at #AACTEPodcast and #RevolutionizingEd. Be sure to tune in and spread the word!
Jerrica Thurman, MBA, CAE
Director, Marketing and Communications
AACTE is excited to announce its first ever podcast will debut this month. The new podcast entitled, Revolutionizing Education, examines ways to innovate educator preparation and education for all learners. The first podcast series highlights case stories shared by AACTE members during the 2021 Annual Meeting. New episodes from the first series will be released throughout the summer. In the fall, the AACTE podcast will feature live interviews with members, national education leaders, students, and other influencers in the education industry.
AACTE has partnered with Resonate Recordings for high-quality podcast production that will expand the reach of members’ work in educator preparation throughout the world. AACTE’s podcast episodes are available on the following platforms: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, and Spotify. On these platforms, you can search for and access the podcast, learn about it, listen to the episodes as well as leave ratings and reviews.
Follow the AACTE Podcast on Twitter at #AACTEPodcast and #RevolutionizingEd. Be sure to tune in and spread the word!
AACTE was recently cited in the New York Times article, “As Pandemic Upends Teaching, Fewer Students Want to Pursue It,’ published in the weekend digital and print edition. NYT writer Emma Goldberg highlights AACTE’s findings from its member survey and includes quotes from Board members Marvin Lynn and Marquita Grenot-Scheyer, David Chard from AACTE-member institution Boston University Wheelock School of Education, as well as students from two other AACTE member institutions.
The article references AACTE’s two-part member survey that chief representatives of its member institutions responded to about how the twin crises of COVID-19 and racial injustice had affected their educator preparation programs and how they have responded to these crises. The results were included in a report by Jacqueline King released in February.
Findings show that in the public school system nationwide, only 7% of teachers, 11% of principals, and 3% of superintendents are Black. In the following Yahoo Finance Live video interview, AACTE Dean in Residence Leslie Fenwick explores this topic. She discusses the impact desegregation of public schools has had on the decline of the Black teacher pipeline and what steps should be taken to reverse the trend.
Watch the video.
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.
Have you visited the AACTE online News Room lately? While the News Room is the primary tool used by AACTE to increase the visibility of the educator preparation community, this resource is not only for journalists. AACTE has designed its news hub as a virtual repository of articles, information, and trends in the field to help its members stay up to date on timely education and educator preparation topics.
As a member-based organization, AACTE is keenly positioned to be a collective voice for the educator preparation community. When you want to know how the Association leadership is responding on behalf of AACTE to national events and federal issues that directly impact education and educators nationwide, visit the Press Release & Statements section. Read AACTE’s public comment on actions that range from the push to reopen schools during the COVID-19 pandemic to the most recent statement on the Administration’s restriction of federal funding for critical race theory training in education. This section also houses news releases, offering you updates on the work your Association is generating to assure educators are profession-ready when they enter the classroom, such as research reports, partnerships with other educator preparation-based organizations, and AACTE professional development events (Annual Meetings, Leadership Academy and Washington Week).
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 urging educators to resist the Trump administration’s attack on critical race theory and other anti-racism work in education:
“In its June 4 statement, the AACTE Board of Directors called educators to take courageous action on race matters in America to address not only recent racial injustices across the nation but also structural racism that has deep, historic roots in our society. Critical race theory represents the scholarly work of educators who provide research evidence and expertise on how the legacy of slavery and inequality in America has unequivocally influenced our American way of life, including our system of education, and on effective ways to dismantle structural racism in American society. It has long been the focus of scholars across many disciplines, which has contributed to the great strides institutions have made in advancing human and civil rights for all Americans.
Banning federal funds to be used for professional development that addresses topics like white privilege, implicit bias, and structural racism, which are examined within critical race theory, is a denial of the historic realities of our country, and is an assault on the strategic gains institutions of higher education and educator preparation programs have made to enlighten students and affect change that promotes racial and social justice for all. Educators must resist any setbacks to the many years of research and activism scholars have made to progress our nation into a society that values the lives of all human beings.
AACTE and its member institutions are committed to revolutionizing education by upholding high standards in the preparation of future teachers through inclusive curriculum and evidence-based instructional strategies, modeling, and advocacy that dismantle racial oppression. AACTE members are actively working to diversify the teaching profession, address the teacher shortage, redesign curricula that reflects the needs of 21st century learners, advocate for policies that fund student teachers of color, and build social justice partnerships for strengthening the education community—all in a concerted effort to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in PK-20 education. Critical race theory is at the foundation of this vital work. AACTE calls on educators and the educator preparation community to stay the course and to actively support the work of critical race theorists and other anti-racism efforts for building a more racially just society.
AACTE: The Leading Voice on Educator Preparation
The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education is a national alliance of educator preparation programs and partners dedicated to high-quality, evidence-based preparation that assures educators are profession-ready as they enter the classroom. The 700 member institutions include public and private colleges and universities in every state, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands and Guam. Through advocacy and capacity building, AACTE promotes innovation and effective practices that strengthen educator preparation. Learn more at aacte.org.
At the 2020 State Leaders Institute, AACTE’s director of marketing and communications, Jerrica Thurman, shared some excellent “how-to,” exemplars, and resources that helped attendees understand How Educators Can Partner with Broadcasters to Keep Communities Informed. From the very basic level of helping us understand how each type of media outlet is organized and what drives each of their interests in news we might have to share, all the way to the very specific steps educators can take to sharpen our skills as subject matter experts, Thurman offered a session that all attendees valued.
The basics began with an eye-opening update about where most Americans get their news, revealing that local television, radio, and daily newspapers are still in the lead. In fact, Americans increased their average of watching local news from 4 hours to 5 hours per week over the last 15 years (RTDNA/Hofstra Surveys). Over the last 10 years, Pew Research surveys have also shown that the percentage of Americans who listen to radio (terrestrial or streaming) has increased from 25% to more than 50% over the last 10 years. Thurman laid this as the groundwork for educators to see that our potential audiences are seeking out more information sources during the same time period.