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PDK/Gallup Poll: U.S. Public Values Teacher Quality, Opposes High-Stakes Testing, Split on Opting Out

AACTE’s more than 800 member institutions are dedicated to high-quality preparation that ensures the effectiveness, diversity, and readiness of professional educators, supporting the priorities of the American public surveyed in the 47th annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. The recently released 2015 poll included questions on teacher quality and evaluation, standards, testing, and more, and a new online polling format captured selected demographic information, allowing for more disaggregated responses than past surveys.

The survey shows that 95% of Americans consider the quality of teachers to be very important and an integral factor for improving public schools. As in past years, an overwhelming majority of the U.S. public also is pleased with the performance of their local schools. Testing is viewed less favorably, though, including for teacher accountability purposes; 55% of Americans and 61% of public school parents oppose using student scores on standardized tests as part of teacher evaluations. Respondents also are skeptical of federal policy influences on public schools and of the Common Core State Standards.

Literacy Conference Panel Weighs Quality Teacher Prep

Last weekend, I was privileged to represent AACTE on a panel at the conference of the International Literacy Association (ILA). Our session, titled “Cultivating Literacy Achievement Through Quality Teacher Preparation,” touched on current program-improvement efforts, revision of the ILA standards for program recognition, variations in licensure requirements across the country, and policy-related challenges.

Joining me for the discussion were William Teale of the University of Illinois at Chicago, Rita Bean of the University of Pittsburgh (PA), Bryan Joffe of the School Superintendents Association, Chris Koch of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, and others.

Free Online Seminars an Early Hit With Educators

More than 200 participants from a variety of education settings just completed the first Online Professional Seminar (OPS) in the series being offered by AACTE’s new Quality Support Initiative. With another 250-plus registrants signed up for the second free seminar starting next week, the series is off to a strong start—and there is still space in upcoming cohorts!

The focus of each OPS is a topic relating to quality assessment and/or accreditation. Seminars are 3-week, interactive online courses for current and aspiring professional educators, PK-16. Courses are open to all educators, whether AACTE members or nonmembers, and the first two seminars in the series—Building Quality Assessments and Using Data for Improvement—are offered free of charge. These two introductory OPSs can be taken in any order.

NPBEA to Help Revise Model Standards for School Leaders

The model standards of the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC), developed in 1996 by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and last revised in 2008, generated controversy in the field during their most recent revision effort last fall and this spring. The National Policy Board for Education Administration (NPBEA), which convenes an array of stakeholder groups, is partnering with CCSSO to consider the feedback received from the field and make final adjustments to the new standards, now planned for release this fall.

NPBEA was among the groups that approved the original standards nearly 20 years ago and has been involved to some degree in subsequent revisions. Its constituent organizations* all have close connections to the work addressed in the standards, but some of these constituents felt their voices were not heard in the recent standards update.

Call for Comment: Revised ISLLC Standards

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) invites feedback on the latest revision of the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) model standards. Comments are due Friday, May 29.

The update attempts to capture the changing expectations for school leaders, who are increasingly held responsible not only for administrative tasks but also for student learning. The model standards, according to the draft document,

[. . .] clarify the most important work and responsibilities of learning-focused leaders operating in today’s education context. Grounded in both research and effective practice, these standards provide a framework for state departments of education and districts alike to understand how to best prepare, support, and evaluate education leaders in their efforts to help every child reach his or her fullest potential. [. . .] The standards can also inform how schools and districts recruit and cultivate leaders who can build teams that share and distribute the responsibilities required for high levels of student learning and achievement to occur. (p. 3)

Implementation Conference Reflects Growth, Experience of edTPA Community

The third annual edTPA National Implementation Conference, held last month in Los Angeles, drew nearly 400 educators and policy leaders from 28 states and more than 100 universities.

Convened at the University of California Los Angeles to accommodate record attendance, this year’s conference featured 32 plenary and breakout sessions, including a panel on how to promote and sustain partnerships between teacher preparation programs and cooperating PK-12 schools.

Feedback Wanted: Revised Standards for School Leaders

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and National Policy Board for Educational Administration (NPBEA) have issued the following request for public comment on their draft revision of the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium standards (see this post announcing the Wallace-funded revision effort). Make your voice heard by October 10!

CCSSO is seeking feedback from the public on draft standards for education leaders that aim to ensure district and school leaders are able to improve student achievement and meet new, higher expectations.

Breathing Room for Teacher Evaluation; Will ED Extend Approach to Teacher Prep?

Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan issued a statement responding to widespread concerns about standardized testing—saying that “testing issues today are sucking the oxygen out of the room in a lot of schools” and offering to delay by a year the federal requirement that teacher evaluations include some “significant” influence from students’ performance on state assessments.

Christopher Edley to Address CAEP Conference

The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

Last month, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) announced Angela Duckworth as the first keynote speaker for the 2014 Fall CAEP Conference in Washington, DC. We are equally excited to announce that civil rights scholar Christopher Edley will keynote on Day 2 of the conference.

Edley, former dean of the University of California-Berkeley School of Law, is currently faculty director of the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy, which he cofounded. He also was cofounder of the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University, where he taught law for 23 years.

Angela Duckworth to Speak at CAEP Conference

The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

The University of Pennsylvania’s Angela Duckworth, whose top-rated Ted Talk  on “grit” has received more than 4.6 million views, will be the keynote speaker at the 2014 Fall CAEP Conference (CAEPCon) Tuesday, September 30. The conference is being held in partnership with AACTE.

Duckworth’s research on non-IQ competencies that predict achievement influenced the development of CAEP Standard 3: Recruitment and Selectivity. The topic of Duckworth’s keynote will be “True Grit.”

Model Standards for School Leaders Getting an Update

This summer, two national education organizations will revise the model standards for the preparation, performance, support, and evaluation of school leaders. The work is expected to be completed in October.

With renewed support from the Wallace Foundation, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Policy Board for Education Administration (NPBEA) will convene panels to update the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) standards, last updated in 2008, and the National Educational Leadership Preparation (NELP) standards, last revised in 2011. The effort also includes drafting new standards for superintendents or other central-office staff who supervise principals.

Diez Reflects as Sun Sets on Alverno Tenure, Rises on SSSF

Alverno’s Mary Diez (right) with her SSSF vice presidents

It’s hard to believe, but it’s true: After 38 years, Mary Diez is leaving Alverno July 1.

Diez, professor and former dean of the School of Education at Alverno College (WI), was elected last month to a 4-year term as president of the School Sisters of St. Francis (SSSF), an international congregation with 850 sisters in the United States, Europe, India, and Latin America. This full-time commitment will take her to all of those places, although she plans to retain her campus residence at the college where she has lived for nearly 4 decades.

Taking her leadership skills off campus is hardly new for Diez, whether as a consultant in the Milwaukee community, member of standards boards, convener of assessment institutes, champion of dispositions work, or president of AACTE—among countless other roles she has held around the country and internationally. Despite having so much on her plate, Diez generously responded to my questions this week about her career to date and future plans.

Let CAEP Hear From You!

Want to make sure the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) hears from the field? A new survey asks teacher educators to help shape CAEP’s advanced standards, weigh in on preferred accreditation supports, and more.

In an announcement posted yesterday, CAEP invites institutions to provide feedback via an online survey. Part of the instrument is described as “a critical research project to ensure the highest level of service and support to institutions,” while other questions seek input on newly drafted standards for preparation programs at the advanced level. Participation in the survey is anonymous.

You have only a brief window to respond, so don’t delay: The survey is open through Thursday, May 15.

Lock Haven University Hosts Pennsylvania Core Summit

Last week, I participated in a summit at Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania on implementing and preparing for the Pennsylvania Core Standards. In attendance were the institution’s president and vice provost along with faculty, deans, and other administrators from throughout the university. Administrators and teachers from nearby PK-12 school districts as well as representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Education also joined us.

Following my keynote presentation discussing the fundamental instructional shifts of the Pennsylvania Core, all vested stakeholder groups took part in a conversations addressing the impact of the standards on their programs and the supplemental changes necessary to enact to support implementation. Among the suggested changes were strengthening ties with the PK-12 districts to provide necessary clinical experiences for candidates and deepening core content knowledge of both in-service and preservice teachers. One great idea was for the university to host academies throughout the summer to provide training for PK-12 teachers and administrators.

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