By Kaitlyn Brennan
In February, the House Education and Workforce Committee held their first hearing: “American Education in Crisis.” During the chairwoman’s opening remarks, Virginia Foxx (R-NC) expressed her support for H.R.5 , more commonly referred to as “The Parent Bill of Rights.” The legislation was first introduced in the 117th Congress and would require K-12 school districts receiving federal funding to publicly post their curriculum and annually provide parents with a list of books in the school library, a breakdown of school expenditures, the ability to opt their child out of all data collection, and more. As anticipated, on Wednesday, House Republicans reintroduced the bill.
There has never been a more critical time to work together to support public education and students’ success. AACTE is joining forces with Learning First Alliance and partners across the country to support a critical effort to help ensure a bright future for our children.
The Here for the Kids campaign brings together families, educators, and community members to shine a light on local public schools and tell the stories of the amazingly positive things happening in classrooms and school buildings nationwide.
By Mike Wolterbeek
In collaboration with the Incline Education Fund, the Nevada First-Gen Network offers a free summer pilot program to engage and inspire rising 6th and 7th graders from Incline Middle School. The program will expose students to various STEM activities, leadership building, art and culture in a fun and inclusive University-based environment.
$1.2 Million Grant from National Science Foundation Funds Alternative Certification Program
By Sara Strong
Photo credit: Getty
Some people are born to be teachers, even if early career choices lead them down other paths first. For professionals working in STEM fields, a new University of Houston program offers a fast track to earn a place at the head of a secondary school STEM classroom – and change their own lives in the process.
Applications are currently being accepted for the first cohort of STEMPro, an intensive nine-month alternative teaching certification program and a collaboration between UH’s College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and College of Education. The addition of this post-baccalaureate outreach, which focuses on already established professionals, expands the existing teachHOUSTON program, which serves undergraduates seeking teaching certificates. It also supports the UH focus on training quality teachers ready to serve in communities where they are needed most.
By NEA and PDK International
The National Education Association (NEA) and Phi Delta Kappa (PDK) announced today significant steps to strengthen their partnership to ensure every P-12 student in the Nation has access to a great teacher and opportunities for learning success. This partnership will continue to inspire middle and high school students who reflect the demographics of their communities to serve as the next generation of highly effective educators. Students will have opportunities to explore programs, curricula and additional resources to prepare them for a career in education through Educators Rising, an ongoing project of PDK developed with the support of NEA.
By Natalie Khairallah
Among the many challenges K-12 educators are gearing up for this upcoming academic year, building more equitable, inclusive schools is of utmost priority. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is proposing a new project for the U.S. Department of Education’s Innovation and Research program to implement and test a whole-school program called “Becoming a More Equitable Educator: Mindsets and Practice.”
MIT invites all district school administrators, teachers, and staff to participate in this 12-16 hour online course — and share with any partnering district.
JMU College of Education program will empower first-generation college and at-risk local students to unlock potential
By Clay Sutton
James Madison University’s College of Education will receive $1.4 million over the next five years to help eligible high school students in the Shenandoah Valley overcome social, emotional, and academic barriers to achieve success in education beyond high school.
JMU will receive a total of $1,437,685 to create a JMU Upward Bound Program. The funds will support two programs, one at Harrisonburg High School in Harrisonburg City Public Schools and one at Spotswood High School in Rockingham County Public Schools, supporting a total of approximately 30-35 high school students at each school.
The Arizona Teacher Residency has accepted its first cohort of 30 future teachers, as well as the 30 supervising teachers who will be working with those teacher residents this next school year.
The Arizona Teacher Residency is a first-of-its-kind graduate program in Arizona modeled after medical residencies to help recruit, prepare, support and retain K-12 teachers, especially those with identities that have been underrepresented in the teaching population. The two-year program provides aspiring teachers with in-classroom experience, a living stipend, a master’s degree and a job at a partnering school district. Residents will receive mentoring and induction from a trained instructional mentor through the Arizona K12 Center in their second year with the support continuing into the third year.
By Allison Matthews
(Photo by Grace Cockrell)
A group of young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder who are interested in science, technology and related fields are getting a new chance to learn about physics and other topics as part of an innovative camp at Mississippi State, which may be the country’s first of its kind.
MSU Assistant Professor of Physics Ben Crider is using a prestigious $600,000 National Science Foundation 2019 Career Grant to advance his nuclear physics research, which includes a highly interactive summer experience for students with autism that was delayed due to COVID-19.
By Kaitlyn Brennan
This weekly Washington Update is intended to keep members informed on Capitol Hill activities impacting the educator preparation community. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.
After 45 years, the Department of Education has announced plans to update Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Stay tuned for opportunities to provide feedback to stakeholders on what you would like to see. Take a read for more information on that and more below.
Department of Education Announces Plan to Update Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Last Friday, the U.S. Department of Education announced plans to update Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The forthcoming changes will mark the first update to the regulations in 45 years. The Department’s Section 504 regulations were the first set of regulations issued by the federal government that addressed the treatment of people with disabilities through a civil rights framework, rather than through solely a medical or vocational framework. Section 504 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in public and private programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance, including schools and postsecondary institutions.
“While the world has undergone enormous changes since 1977, the Department’s Section 504 regulations have remained, with few exceptions, unaltered,” said Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon. “As we observe the 45th anniversary of these important regulations this month, it is time to start the process of updating them. Just as in 1977, the voices of people with disabilities must be heard and incorporated as we engage in that work.”
By Hope Buckner
In partnership with the Tennessee Department of Education and local public school districts, Belmont University announced a new initiative to recruit, train and support the next generation of mathematics teachers in the Midstate region.
The newly established Belmont University Math Teacher Residency will leverage partnerships with area school systems — including in several rural communities — to enable high-quality potential candidates to become mathematics teachers in secondary schools across Middle Tennessee.
With $2 million in grant funding awarded to Belmont University through a competitive state grant process, the program will place each teacher candidate in an in-school “residency” — a paid educational position in a classroom where they will learn from and receive support from an experienced mentor teacher. Concurrently, candidates will enroll in high-quality, intensive online coursework at Belmont, deepening their content knowledge and learning effective pedagogical strategies. Belmont professors will work alongside candidates’ mentor teachers to ensure that instruction has immediate and meaningful classroom application.
By Jean Cook and Shanderia Minor
The MDE is using American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds to cover the grants.
The MTR will provide grants to the universities’ educator preparation programs to enroll diverse participants to work toward their graduate degree and Mississippi teacher certification. MTR will include training alongside a mentor teacher, testing support, professional development, ongoing assessment and a commitment to teach in a geographical critical shortage school or district serving low-income children, racial/ethnic minorities and children with disabilities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
By Caron Blanton
Mississippi Public Universities support the state’s children and K-12 schools across the state in numerous ways. In addition to preparing the teaching workforce through the education academic degree programs, the universities support teachers, students, and schools through outreach efforts ranging from a partnership school for middle school students located on a university campus to a clinic housed at a high school to help teens stay well so they can perform at their best in the classroom and beyond.
The Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program (METP) is a collaboration between the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University to attract top-performing students into the education profession with full financial support, travel abroad opportunities and invaluable professional incentives. METP aims to increase the import—and reduce the export—of talented educators to create a pipeline of new teachers committed to Mississippi’s future. All students who enter the program make a five-year commitment to teach in Mississippi after graduation. Funded by the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation of Jackson, METP is designed to create a unique “honors college-style” learning experience for high-achieving education students and promote collaboration between students and faculty at both universities.
By Grady Wilburn and James Elias
The reading and mathematics scores of 13-year-old students fell between 2012 and 2020—the first time in the almost 50-year history of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) long-term trend (LTT) assessment—according to results released today by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The performance of 9-year-olds remained the same in both subjects compared to 2012.
In both age groups and subjects, the scores of lower-performing students declined since 2012, the previous assessment year, mirroring patterns observed in other subjects assessed by NAEP, also known as The Nation’s Report Card.
By Meenakshi Sharma
I recently had an incredible learning opportunity to be a part of the AACTE Simulations for Secondary Science Teachers conference. The goal for the convening was to introduce participants to the simulation design process and to support them to create a secondary science simulation scenario in smaller teams. Large group zoom meetings with almost 55 participants provided a valuable opportunity to listen, ask questions, and reflect on matters that concern science teacher preparation. The convening provided just the right amount of stimulation and sense of community that probably many of us were missing due to the recent pandemic. Until now, I saw myself as a user—employing simulations to help my teacher candidates understand and practice core teaching practices. However, being a part of the scenario development team afforded an insider or “behind the scenes’ perspective.” I was able to understand the complexities, affordance, and constraints of the simulation designing process.