This article originally appeared on Inside Higher Ed.
As the school year gets underway, a national teacher shortage has K-12 districts scrambling and job boards lengthening. The president of the National Education Association called the lack of classroom teachers a “five-alarm crisis.” Some students are returning to full-time in-person learning only to find their instructors teaching through screens, often from hundreds of miles away. Many teachers are overburdened by large classes, and in some cases, they are teaching without a degree. Some districts will start the school year with a four-day week to accommodate a lack of staff.
The flow of new teachers through the pipeline has slowed to a trickle, in part due to years of declining enrollment in education programs. Now higher education institutions are looking for ways to reverse what has become an alarming national trend.
Educational institutions must engage with their communities to illuminate the systemic injustices experienced by those hypermarginalized, including people and communities of color.
In the Spring 2022 issue of AAC&U’ magazine, Liberal Education, AACTE member Tania Mitchell reflects on the killing of George Floyd to highlight these structural inequities. She urges those in higher education to rethink how community can be created and how to engage differently within the context of racism, economic inequality, and COVID 19:
“Our community engagement work of colleges and universities should be revealing. It should illuminate the systemic injustices that reify and deepen the marginalization already experienced. Moreover, it should focus on the policies, practices, conditions, and experiences that shape the everyday realities of the poor and people of color.”
Michael Darmas, a Teach For America instructor, gives his student a high five in this 2011 photo taken at Holmes Elementary School in Miami.
J Pat Carter/AP
This article originally appeared in Ed Week.
Alternative-certification programs have long been thought of as one solution to teacher shortages, but a new analysis shows that the number of candidates completing those programs has declined over the past decade, despite a boom in enrollments and new offerings.
The findings underscore the complex and changing nature of the teacher hiring pipeline: Alternative programs are typically cheaper and faster than traditional teacher-preparation programs based at colleges and universities. They are bringing in new and more diverse talent to the teaching workforce. But as the authors of the new report warn, their candidates don’t always finish, and quality control remains an issue.
On behalf of AACTE (American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education), President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone issued the following statement after the most recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, in which at least 19 students and two teachers were murdered.
“Our nation has experienced yet another senseless act of violence in our schools. By one estimate, since 1999, at least 554 children, educators, and school staff have been victims of school shootings and 311,000 children have been exposed to gun violence at school. This is simply unacceptable. It is long past time for policymakers to take action to protect our students, educators, and school staff from such violence. We can and must do more.
What is clear is that no progress has been made toward keeping guns, especially semi-automatic weapons, out of the hands of those that seek to cause devastation. As a result, more children and their teachers are murdered. This must stop. We implore Congress to pass sensible, life-saving, gun-reform legislation, which the vast majority of the American public overwhelmingly supports.
On behalf of AACTE (American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education), President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone issued the following statement in response to recent legislation meant to oppress educators and students, including, as well as legislation specifically targeting transgendered and gender non-conforming students:
“Recently, there has been a concerted effort to prevent students, teachers, and educators from discussing our nation’s history in an honest and open manner. More than 30 states have pending legislation that prohibit the discussion of issues deemed “divisive,” including discourse of indigenous people and their removal from native lands, acts of antisemitism, the Black Lives Matter movement, and sexual orientation and gender identity.
AACTE strongly opposes legislation that censors curriculum and educators and prevents students, especially LGBTQ+ students and those from historically marginalized groups, from receiving the full and safe academic experience they deserve.
Additionally, AACTE supports policies and legislation that ensure teacher candidates are appropriately trained to support LGBTQ+ students and the various communities they represent. For example, according to GLSEN, LGBTQ+ students face increased rates of school discipline—including detention, suspension, or expulsion from school. Non-binary students are more likely to say they feel unsafe in schools. In addition, transgender and gender-nonconforming youth are three times more likely than LGBQT+ students to say that they did not expect to finish high school.
Elected officials should expand educational opportunities to all students, regardless of race, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity, or creed, rather than implement policies that limit a student’s value in the classroom. Such discriminatory policies prohibit students from reaching their full academic potential by enabling bullying, harassment, and other harmful practices.
Though couched as efforts to make sure no student feels uncomfortable or to increase parental engagement, these laws do the opposite. Teachers, counselors, and school staff should be empowered to provide safe and inclusive spaces for all students, not stifled.
Addressing historical and current events prepares students to live, participate, and empathize with diverse perspectives. Efforts to suppress inquiry and curb discussion violate the basic principles of free speech and an open exchange of ideas, which undermines the foundation of a healthy democracy through an educated citizenry.
AACTE encourages all educators to report any censorship efforts to organizations such as the American Library Association, National Coalition Against Censorship, African American Policy Forum (race/racism) and to report discrimination to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.”
School leadership is second only to teaching among school-related factors in its impact on student learning, and school leader preparation programs play a key role in facilitating that success. As the leading voice in educator preparation, AACTE has launched a new podcast series, “Revolutionizing School Leadership Through Research”. This new podcast series highlights three cutting-edge research reports from the Wallace Foundation’s Knowledge Center on School Leadership. The three-episode series defines the evolving role and expectations of the principalship, the corresponding preparation required to meet those expectations, and the state policy levers that can be pulled to increase the number of qualified, equitable leaders in that position.
The first episode takes a macro look into the connection between school leadership and school outcomes. AACTE speaks with the lead author, Jason Grissom, of the Wallace commissioned report, How Principals Affect Students and Schools, A Systematic Synthesis of Two Decades of Research”, Grissom walks through the major landscape shifts in the past 20 years, with key insights into how preparation programs can be effective, equitable leaders.
Throughout AACTE Presents: The University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI) podcast, guests have talked at length about the district’s role in working with preparation programs to produce effective school leaders, but what is the state’s role? Each of the seven programs in UPPI were given a state partner as well, and in the final episode of the podcast, AACTE talks to authors of two Wallace Foundation commissioned reports on state policy and principal prep about how UPPI programs should be leveraging their state partnerships.
As the role of the principal evolves, so too does the extent to which they play the role of instructional leader. As a vital part of student outcomes and teacher retention in schools, it’s alarming that new principal often have skill gaps when providing instructional coaching. Teacher retention is due largely in part to the support of their principal, which is why AACTE continues to advocate for quality education leadership preparation programming.
In the sixth episode of AACTE’s podcast covering the University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI), AACTE talks to Jason Grissom, author of How Principals Affect Students and Schools, about what the research says regarding instructional leadership. The episode also dives into Albany State UPPI program’s efforts to address the gaps in preparing principal candidates to be effective instructional coaches with UPPI Project Director Janice Carthon, and Felisa McDavid, who is a graduate of Albany State’s principal prep program and principal of St. James Elementary in South Carolina.
Listen now to Episode 6: Redesigning Instructional Leadership Training
In the fifth episode of AACTE’s podcast covering the Wallace Foundation’s University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI), David Lorden and Alejandro Gonzalez Ojeda from San Diego State University share how to restructure principal preparation programs to meet the array of needs required by various districts. During the episode, titled “A Sustainable Approach to Customizing Clinical Practice,” Lorden and Gonzalez Ojeda share insights from their own UPPI experiences as faculty in diversifying the clinical experiences of candidates through collaborative redesign with the districts. Through these insights, they answer the following questions:
- How do you prepare a principal to lead anywhere?
- How can prep programs adapt to meet the various needs of districts?
- Why is customization critical for education leadership prep programs? Especially for equity?
- How can a university sustain customizing their learning experiences for candidates with different backgrounds and strengths?
Reversing the Trend of a Declining Educator Workforce is Going to Take a Bold National Strategy
This article originally appeared in the Des Moines Register and is reprinted with permission.
Our nation’s economic prosperity, global competitiveness, and civic vitality rely on a strong educational system. As the leading producer of educators in the state of Iowa, at the University of Northern Iowa we know a highly qualified and diverse educator workforce is critical for preparing each generation to lead their workplaces and communities while serving as role models at home.
Principal preparation programs serve two major consumers: the candidate’s that enter their programs and the districts that hire them. Therefore, it is essential to align program redesign efforts to district needs, which we have learned vary across the state. In episode four of AACTE’s new University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI) Podcast series chronicling the Wallace Foundation multi-year principal program redesign initiative, Franciso Edobedo, superintendent of the Chula Vista Elementary School District (CVESD), located in southern San Diego County, shares what superintendents are looking for in principals and other school leaders entering the field. Also featured is Douglas Fisher, professor and chair of Educational Leadership at San Diego State University, who discusses why and how prep programs should work with districts like CVESD. Their collaboration led to various redesign improvements over the course of Wallace’s UPPI Initiative, but this episode dives deeper into how they were able to share, evaluate ,and act on data through an equitable lens.
Listen now to Episode 4: Districts and Programs Collaborate in Commitment to Equity
Three Westminster College Experts Lay Out Problems and Solutions in Education
This article originally appeared in The Salt Lake Tribune and is reprinted with permission.
Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune Students raise their hands in full classroom of 32 students in a Spanish class at South Jordan Middle School in 2017.
A crisis is defined as a time of intense danger when important decisions must be made. It can’t wait!
A few days ago, we read with frustration an article in The Salt Lake Tribune about the substitute teacher crisis in Utah—a direct result of Utah’s severe teacher shortage. The substitute statistics were staggering. Granite School District needed 518 subs at the end of September and couldn’t fill 194 of those positions.
CNN’s Katie Lobosco recently reported on President’s Biden’s universal pre-K plan that would make preschool available and affordable for six million more children and the resulting challenge of hiring “tens of thousands” of new teachers. In referring to the teaching shortage, Lobosco writes, “The average number of college graduates who completed teacher preparation programs fell 24% between the 2009-10 and 2018-19 academic years, according to the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.”
The third episode of AACTE’s new University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI) Podcast series chronicling this Wallace Foundation multi-year principal program redesign initiative is now available. In the last episode, AACTE identified the gaps between “learning” and “doing.” In this episode, guests dive into a case study of the UPPI program at University of Connecticut (UConn ) and what they have learned from their program redesign. Episode 3 features Richard Gonzalez, who oversees the principalship and superintendency program at UConn and serves as the director of UConn’s UPPI initiative project. Gonzalez and current program candidate Symone James, explain the core assessments, how they were tied to clinical practice and what that structure accomplished in closing the “learning” and “doing” gap of principal preparation.
In a bonus episode of the Next Education Workforce podcast, former U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr. tells Brent Maddin of Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College about the impact public school had on King’s life and how his work today has been shaped by his experiences as a student, classroom teacher, civil servant and policymaker.