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.
Congress has been working hard this week, even though they are out of session. Negotiations on the reconciliation bill continue intensely behind the scenes, and next week promises to be action packed when they return.
Default Averted: President Biden Signs into Law Short-Term Measure to Raise the Debt Ceiling
On Thursday, President Biden signed into a law a bill to raise the debt ceiling, averting a default on the nation’s financial obligations through at least December 3. The House interrupted their scheduled recess and voted on the Senate passed measure earlier in the day. As you recall, last week the Senate passed the short-term debt ceiling extension with a party line 50-48 vote–though 11 Republicans ultimately joined with Democrats to get the required 60 votes to overcome the legislative filibuster.
This article is a personal reflection of the 2021Washington Week Holmes Policy Advanced Policy Course by attendee Shauna Torrington.
My takeaways from my participation in the Holmes Advanced Policy Course have been threefold. This course has impacted me as an international student, an advocate, and as a practitioner.
As an international student, I have a greater understanding about the terminology that is normally used in policy advocacy. This new knowledge has enabled me to follow along with a clearer understanding during discussions on policy. The words representative, senator, and congressperson also now have greater meanings for me. I am aware of the basics of the legislative process and can better follow the process of how a bill becomes a law. I now know what it means to introduce a bill or to sponsor a bill. Additionally, I know what a “markup” means and what is the process that comes after a markup. I know where to look to find information on my senators and my representatives. I know how to contact their offices or to see what issues they voted for or against.
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.
Earlier this year, AACTE reconstituted the Higher Education Task Force. The task force, which was previously led by AACTE, will share information about the policy work underway in the teacher preparation world with our higher education colleagues and inform Congress and other key officials about important developments related to the field. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the change of administrations and other factors, the task force was dormant for a short time. But AACTE’s colleagues eagerly accepted our invitation to rejoin.
Task force participants are from the major associations of higher education, whose members are presidents of institutions of higher education. Members include the American Council on Education (ACE), American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), Association of American Universities (AAU), Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU), American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU), Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO), National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) and UNCF.
AACTE amplifies member voices in policy matters impacting education and educator preparation, and our collective voice is being heard. President Biden recently proposed the American Families Plan, which directly targets investments into educator preparation programs. AACTE supports the proposal and encourages Congress to act. Please take a few minutes to watch this video and learn more about how you can get involved.
Visit the AACTE Advocacy Center for the latest updates at aacte.org. Be sure to renew your AACTE membership by the extended May 31 deadline.
Exactly two months to the day after President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 with $125 billion carved out for education, Mursion will host Jacqueline Rodriguez, vice president for research, policy, & advocacy at the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), for a candid discussion on the challenges and opportunities ahead. From her unique perspective, Rodriguez will share AACTE’s continuing important work for addressing learning loss, critical societal matters that affect education, and the shortage of teachers that has not abated.
Data Quality Campaign (DQC) released an updated version of it Education Data 101: A Briefing Book for Policymakers. With information on everything from student growth data to state longitudinal data systems to teacher data literacy, our resource brings policymakers up to speed on the major data topics they need to know about. As policymakers make decisions to aid students, families, teachers, schools and districts in recovery, Education Data 101 offers the background information they need to make informed decisions.
During the Washington Post Live’s webinar, “U.S. Higher Education: Rethinking the Possibilities,” AACTE’s Dean in Residence Leslie Fenwick, dean emeritus of Howard University School of Education, was interviewed by Eugene Scott as the first of the two guests. The interview was comprised of questions covering different facets of the education space including policy, diversity, student loans, and the pandemic.
The first question addressed President Joe Biden and what Fenwick believed should be his top priority in regard to education policy. Fenwick response focused on embracing a new and more diverse student population both in the workforce and higher education. She delved into specifics of the increasing majority of non-White students in public schools beginning in 2018 and continuing on an upward trajectory.
AACTE is pleased to announce that Michael Rose has joined its staff as senior director of federal relations and policy as part of the Research, Policy and Advocacy team.
Rose is an experienced government relations professional with over 20 years of experience. He started his career in Washington, DC, working for U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg from his home state of New Jersey. After the senator’s retirement, Rose worked for more than six years in the House of Representatives for Congresswoman Maxine Waters. Most recently, Rose was the director of government affairs for the National Association for College Admission Counseling. In this role, he was the association’s main contact for Members of Congress, congressional staff, and various federal agencies regarding its college access and student protections agendas, among other issues.
This podcast interview features insights from the article “Education Policy and Black Teachers: Perspectives on Race, Policy, and Teacher Diversity” by Terrenda White, Brian Woodward, DaVonna Graham, H. Richard Milner, and Tyrone C. Howard. The article is published in the September/October 2020 of the Journal of Teacher Education. AACTE members have free access to the articles in the JTE online archives—log in with your AACTE profile.
As first and third time AACTE Day on the Hill participants, we eagerly participated in this inaugural virtual event to prepare for congressional visits. Although we were not physically together, Lynn M. Gangone, president and CEO, made us feel welcomed and valued members of AACTE during her opening greeting to attendees.
Why Day on the Hill?
Beth: As a newbie, I wondered about the lay of the land. Then Jane West, AACTE government relations consultant, shared, “The Big Picture: Current Policy & Political Landscape,” providing a framework for what we need to do and why.
Anne: After three years of attending the event, I was inspired by Jane West’s quote: “If your voice isn’t heard, someone else’s is,” which provided us meaning.
What and how?
AACTE’s legislative priorities provided the framework. Having the specific agenda items gave us the focus we needed.
Jacqueline Rodriguez, AACTE vice president of research, policy and advocacy, joined West in stressing the importance of building a rapport. Rodriguez supported planning with spreadsheets and materials. AACTE gave the legislative framework and a foundation. We’re ready to work!
State and regional colleagues collaborated to plan for advocacy. Presenters joined the meetings, to support the planning process. The virtual format allowed people to “travel” amongst groups. We’re ready to plan!
This article is a personal reflection of the 2020 Washington Week Day on the Hill virtual conference and congressional visits by Holmes Scholar Eleanor Su-Keene.
When I attended the AACTE Annual Meeting in February of this year, I did not know that would be the last time I flew on a plane or attended any large gathering for the foreseeable future. Needless to say, the past seven months have been a surreal experience. As I try to navigate life as a mother of two young children, a homeschool teacher, and a doctoral student, I find myself not only working from home, but working with home. As such, I came to the computer skeptical of an experience that lived up to that which my fellow Holmes Scholars experienced in pre-COVID years.
As educators, we know how incredibly important it is to be cognizant of both the lesson at hand and what exactly students will be doing during that lesson. In this respect, it should come as no surprise that the conference was extremely well planned and thoroughly thought out from beginning to end. The 2020 AACTE Washington Week Virtual Day on the Hill conference was incredibly well organized from the platform that was chosen to the ease of use from getting to and from the main “stage” to breakout sessions. As a Holmes Scholar, I had more intimate meetings with leading scholars and advocates in socially just educational reform, but I was surprised to find even in the main conference, it felt just as personal. The real time engagement of the speakers with the chat box function allowed for an exchange that would be impossible during an in-person format.
This article is a personal reflection of the 2020 Washington Week Holmes Policy Institute by attendee Angeline Dean.
“People, Policy, Politics, and Processes” – Jane West
The knowledge of this framework and its relation to analysis and advocacy spearheaded the Holmes Advanced Policy Course. This framework, along with homework given by AACTE staffers Jane West and Weade James was not only the necessary grounding to an understanding that truly “all politics are local” but also ripe for Luis Maldonado to address the navigating of politics and policies. Immediately following, Lakeisha Steele, professional staffer and policy team leader for Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), chair of the House, Education & Labor Committee, “ripped the runway” with her honesty, passion, and commitment to social and transformational change! She reminded us that “we are our ancestors wildest dreams!” Therefore, we like our ancestors and so many who have transitioned this year, must be prepared to live in “good trouble” spaces and we must Persevere.
“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair” – Shirley Chisolm.
As we segued into the rest of the Holmes Policy Institute, we were gifted with the Power statement of “Miss Unbought and Unbossed” herself, Shirley Chisolm. How befitting as this statement resonated as an overarching theme for such a time as this. AACTE Dean in Residence Leslie Fenwick challenged us to thwart the narratives that brand Black bodies in lies and deficits. She pushed us to exercise our Positionality as spaces of truth, resistance, power, and countered narratives that honor civil rights ancestors in the proper telling of history and data in education. With that, students posed questions that blended and asserted their politics, processes, power, and positionality as people such as: What exactly is the role of a dean in residence and how or does it relate to Holmes students and their needs? What systems are in place to protect (another p word) BIPOC students against whiteness and internalized racism in predominantly white institutions?
Last week, scholars of color convened for the AACTE Holmes Policy Institute, a three-day training under this year’s theme, “Moving towards Equity through Advocacy and Policy.” The virtual conference, the first of the AACTE 2020 Washington Week events, offered students the opportunity to connect with peers, build their networks and engage in lively discussions on current trends. The advocacy and policy training focused on how the intersection of policy, education, and research can affect positive change for students of color.
Day 1 kicked off with AACTE Dean in Residence Leslie Fenwick leading a session on civil rights in education and AACTE consultant Jane West presenting a policy briefing. Day 2 centered on presentations by guest speakers—faculty, national organization professionals, and congressional staffers—who covered topics such as efforts to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline and community-based participatory research to achieve social justice. The final day of training began with social reform advocates Jael Kerandi and Amanda Wilkerson, and moderator Ann Charity Hudley sharing their experiences and guidance on how scholars of color can mobilize for change.
Rep. Bobby Scott to Deliver Keynote
Today the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) launches its inaugural virtual Washington Week by hosting the Holmes Policy Institute, an event that amplifies the voice of masters- and doctoral-level students of color on policies affecting educator preparation. Themed “Moving towards Equity through Advocacy and Policy,” this year’s Institute takes place September 8-10.
“We are thrilled to support AACTE Holmes Program students in addressing critical issues in educator preparation, such as increasing teacher diversity and equity,” said Lynn M. Gangone, Ed.D., AACTE president and CEO. “This signature event offers our future teacher educators of color the tools to navigate national, state and local policies that directly impact those most-often marginalized in education systems.”
Over the course of three days, Holmes students, coordinators, and leaders throughout the country will explore best practices in education advocacy by participating in presentations and small group discussions. In response to the recent, racial unrest in the United States, several sessions will examine these issues as they relate to equity in educator preparation, including:
- Civil Rights in Education: History, Resistance and Opportunities
- Policing in Schools and Efforts to Dismantle the School-to-Prison Pipeline
- Community-Based Participatory Research to Achieve Social Justice
The Holmes Policy Institute will culminate with a closing keynote address by Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA), chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor. Throughout his 14 terms representing Virginia’s third congressional district, the congressman has been a champion on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion and has advanced policies addressing the equity gaps in education. Following his keynote remarks, Rep. Scott will engage in an interactive discussion with the Holmes students about the state of public education, educator preparation, and the importance of diversifying the educator workforce.
Next week, a number of Holmes students will apply what they learn and put their advocacy skills into practice during AACTE’s Day on the Hill event, joining the Association’s state leaders in virtual meetings with Congressional representatives.