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Biden Budget Proposal is Historic High-Water Mark for Education Funding

Medal for achievement in education with diploma, hat and books standing on stack of coins on gray backgroundThis 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. 

Biden- Harris Administration Unveils Massive Budget with Historic Investments in Education

On the Friday before the long-awaited Memorial Day holiday, just as Members of Congress were headed home and the rest of us were finalizing our plans for the long weekend, the White House unveiled the complete version of the Biden-Harris Administration’s full budget proposal for FY 2022.

The budget proposal calls for $102.8 billion for the Department of Education—a $29.8 billion or 41% increase to the Department’s current spending levels. This increase in funding would be the largest increase the Department has seen since its inception in 1979.

States Pass Laws Restricting How Teachers Can Discuss Racism

A seventh-grader walks by a Black History Month display at Sutton Middle School on her way to class.

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. 

States Placing Legal Limits on How Educators Can Address Race

On the heels of Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), the top Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee, backing two bills aimed at blocking the teaching of critical race theory in K-12 schools—four states have now passed legislation that would limit how teachers can discuss racism and  sexism, among other topics. The legislation, passed so far in Idaho, Iowa, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, bans teachers from introducing certain concepts, including that any individual is consciously or unconsciously racist or sexist because of their race or sex, and that anyone should feel discomfort or guilt because of their race or sex. A similar law also passed in Arkansas. In total, lawmakers in at least 15 states have introduced bills that seek to restrict how teachers can discuss racism, sexism, and other social issues.

The House Focuses on Education Funding for Next Year

Portrait of disabled schoolboy on wheelchair using digital tablet in library at schoolHouse Hearings Focus on Education Budget and Students with Disabilities

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.  

A congressional hearing before the House Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees education spending on Wednesday focused on President Biden’s FY 2022 education spending proposal. It featured an extended conversation between Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and lawmakers about the importance of having students return to in person learning. “The best equity lever we have is in-person learning, now. Not the fall—now,” Cardona told lawmakers during the hearing. “We need to get our kids back, right away.”

CIDDL Seeks Input on Teacher Education Technology Practices

CIDDL logoThe Center of Innovation, Design, and Digital Learning (CIDDL) is requesting AACTE members’ participation in the strategic planning efforts by completing a needs assessment survey. All members are invited and encouraged to participate.

This data will inform CIDDL to better understand current technology use and practices of teacher education faculty in special education, early intervention/early childhood special education, and leadership preparation. The outcome report generated will provide valuable national insights and trends and an electronic version of. This report will be provided to all respondents in Summer 2021 at no cost.

NASSP Seeks Feedback on Special Education and LGBTQ+ Students and Educators

A person drawing and pointing at a We Want Your Feedback Chalk IllustrationCalling all educators! Your review and your voice is requested. AACTE is proud to work collaboratively with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) in the Learning First Alliance coalition. Our colleagues at NASSP, alongside their Board of Directors recently stated its intent to adopt two new position statements on LGBTQ+ Students and Educators and Supporting Principals as Leaders of Special Education—and your feedback is critical. Public comments are open now through March 31.

NCLD and Understood Develop Free Distance Learning Toolkit

Young woman sitting on couch working on laptop

At Understood and the National Center for Learning Disabilities, we have been working to understand the challenges that distance learning has presented to students who learn differently.

In response, we have developed a practical resource to help educators more effectively support students with learning differences, and in turn all learners, during distance learning. Today, we are eager to share that resource with you and the world at large in our new  “Distance learning toolkit: Key practices to support students who learn differently.”

Register for Webinar Focused on the Role of Deans in Leading Teacher Preparation Reform

AACTE and CEEDAR (Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform) Center are partnering together to present a webinar centered on a special issue brief, Leading and Engaging Faculty in Teacher Preparation Reform: The Role of Deans. The issue brief summarizes the experiences in leadership of six current and former deans who have been identified as engaging in successful collaborative reform efforts within their colleges.

During the one-hour event, Mary Brownwell will talk with Marquita Grenot-Scheyer and Kandi Hill-Clarke about the issue brief and their experiences of cultivating collaboration and supporting innovation among general and special education faculty who share responsibility to support students in diverse and inclusive classrooms. Since few resources exist to support deans in their efforts to work with faculty to engage in this work, AACTE and CEEDAR believe the experiences of these leaders will be useful to other deans as they work toward similar outcomes.

Register for the webinar, which will take place December 16 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. (ET). Learn more about the panelists:

A-Z Words of Wisdom from UCF Graduates for Future Educators

In 2017, several Elementary Education faculty members came together to create the University of Central Florida (UCF) Lake County Teacher Knights program, which was designed to support students who were graduating from the UCF South Lake Campus as they navigated their first few years in the classroom. Each month, the faculty members host evening professional learning sessions (with dinner) for these first through third year teachers. Additionally, they have partnered with Lake County Schools professional development department to host workshops on topics of the teachers’ request.

Now in year four, Lake County Teacher Knights are reflecting on a question many senior interns and recent graduates ask themself before that first day in their senior placement or their first classroom … “What do I need to know?” Well, here is what this group of dedicated and talented teachers want to share with future senior interns and new career teachers, shared with love and hope for a brighter teaching future. 

Here is their A-Z list of everything you wished you knew …

Leading and Engaging Faculty in Teacher Preparation Reform: The Role of Deans

Webinar, Personal development and e-learning concept on blurred abstract background.AACTE is proud to partner with the CEEDAR (Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform) Center to bring you a webinar focused on a special issue brief, Leading and Engaging Faculty in Teacher Preparation Reform: The Role of Deans, on December 16, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. ET.

The issue brief summarizes the experiences in leadership of six current and former deans who have been identified as engaging in successful collaborative reform efforts within their colleges. AACTE and CEEDAR look to their experiences to support leaders, like you, in understanding the actions they took and the strategies they employed that may be useful to other leaders of educator preparation programs (EPPs) who are committed to restructuring curricula and programs in their own settings.

Teacher Shortages: Are We Heading in the Right Direction?

This article originally appeared in District Administration and is reprinted with permission.

Erica McCrayThe teacher shortage is real, complex, and concerning—especially in high-demand specialty areas such as special education, math and science, English as a second language, and foreign language. This comes as no surprise, as many reports indicate low enrollment in these educator preparation program (EPP) teaching areas. While it is important to reflect upon the current state of the teacher shortage, it is imperative that EPPs analyze changes in student enrollment to determine future implications for the teacher workforce.

The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) recently released the issue brief, Degree Trends in High-Demand Teaching Specialties. Authored by Jacqueline E. King, Ph.D., the report examines trends in sub-specialties within the high-demand areas based on data that colleges report to the U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). While the report offers a few bright spots, it suggests that current PK-12 school shortages will not be remedied simply by hiring newly-prepared teachers.

Complete CEEDAR Survey on Virtual Instruction

A girl with disabilities using a laptop for a school lessonThe CEEDAR Center is working on a collaborative effort to collect information from educator preparation programs across the country who are implementing effective, practice-based opportunities for teacher candidates within a virtual space. We’d like to invite you, your colleagues, and your partners (if applicable) to participate in a survey focused on online education for teachers of students with disabilities. 

If you previously utilized an online teacher education program before COVID-19, and/or have adapted your program and/or clinical preparation model to accommodate a hybrid and/or online teacher education model during COVID-19, CEEDAR would love to hear from you. Please spend a few minutes completing this survey.

OSPI and University of Washington’s Haring Center Expand Inclusionary Practice Project to Include Preschools

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Haring Center for Inclusive Education

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Haring Center for Inclusive Education at the University of Washington announced that they are expanding their Inclusionary Practice Project (IPP) to include preschools across the state. This work is part of a statewide effort to help more schools to adopt a culture of inclusion.

“When we meaningfully include students with disabilities in general education settings with their peers, all students see improved academic and social outcomes,” said Glenna Gallo, assistant superintendent of special education at OSPI.

In Washington, 49.7% of students with disabilities are participating in early childhood classes separate from their peers. Further, Washington is currently one of the least inclusive states, ranking 44th in the nation.

Disability and the Meaning of Social Justice in Teacher Education Research: A Precarious Guest at the Table?

This article is an excerpt that originally appeared in the AACTE Journal of Teacher Education (JTE) and is co-authored by Marleen C. Pugach, Ananya M. Matewos, and Joyce Gomez-Najarro. AACTE members have free access to the articles in the JTE online archives—log in with your AACTE profile to read the full article.

Preparing teachers for social justice has long been a driving force within teacher education, reflecting a commitment to educating students from multiple social identity groups who are marginalized and oppressed in schools. Given any particular decade, specific social identity markers may take center stage in this work—with new markers gaining visibility as previously neglected identity groups begin to receive vital, much needed attention.

Alongside social justice concerns for equity regarding race, class, ethnicity, gender, language, socioeconomic status and, more recently, sexual orientation and religion, stands the question of disability. As part of the overall vision for social justice, disability is generally viewed as a key social marker of identity. Yet students with disabilities continue to be marginalized and have persistently lower academic outcomes, such as graduation rates, compared to their mainstream peers (U.S. Department of Education, 2015). The connection between social justice and disability was amplified with the emergence of the disability studies in education (DSE) movement in the 1990s, which views disability as a socially constructed phenomenon, shifting its historical definition away from an immutable individual characteristic (Baglieri et al., 2011). Furthermore, the inclusion of students with disabilities itself has long been viewed as a social justice issue (Artiles et al., 2006).

Informing Your Teaching Practice With Dr. Grenot-Scheyer

The following article is an excerpt of a transcribed podcast interview on the GoReact blog with AACTE board member Marquita Grenot-Scheyer, who serves as the assistant vice chancellor of Educator Preparation and Public School Programs for California State University (CSU). Grenot-Scheyer also sits on the board of directors for the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. In this episode, she discusses her experience in special education as well as CSU’s exciting initiatives and research.

Marquita Grenot-ScheyerWhen did you realize that you wanted to dedicate your career to teaching students with disabilities?

Grenot-Scheyer: I don’t think I realized it until I was a freshman in college, but my mother always reminded me that I talked about wanting to be a teacher from a very young age, and I just have no recollection of that. But my freshman year in college, at California State University, Los Angeles, I had an incredible field experience with some really complex and endearing young people. And that just set the path forward for what I wanted to do.

How Special Education Has Changed Over Time

So, as you mentioned, you began working with students with disabilities in the 1970s. What was it like to do special education at that time, and how has it changed since then?

Grenot-Scheyer: So when I began my career as a special educator, students with disabilities were predominantly served in isolated, segregated schools and classrooms. So that is, all students with disabilities in one facility. And so my first clinical experience was in a segregated school in a small community in Los Angeles, where students with the most challenging behavioral and physical and developmental abilities were all clustered together. And at the time, the feeling and the research said that was the best way to provide services to kids with disabilities. We now know, decades later, based upon research, based upon federal and state laws, that in fact, the best place to educate students with disabilities is in regular schools, alongside typically-developing peers. So the service delivery models have changed dramatically in some schools and in some communities, but in other schools and communities, students with disabilities are still being served in segregated settings. But we now know that’s not the best way to do it.

How Two Professors Helped Secure Flint Water Crisis Settlement

Bill Therrien and Gail LovetteThis article originally appeared in the University of Virginia’s UVAToday online news magazine and is reprinted with permission.

Two University of Virginia professors who played a significant role in this week’s Flint, Michigan, water crisis lawsuit settlement are being applauded around the country.

Gail Lovette and Bill Therrien, professors in UVA’s Curry School of Education and Human Development, worked pro bono on the case for nearly four years, analyzing how increased exposure to lead in Flint’s municipal water supply affected children’s learning.

On Thursday, they saw their work pay off in the form of a $600 million settlement with the State of Michigan and other defendants that includes at least $9 million in new funding for special education programs in Flint Community Schools and surrounding school districts that educate special education students who were on the Flint water lines.

Lovette and Therrien called the result a “testament to the people of Flint.”

“Parents and teachers—some at potential great risk because they were still employed by the schools—stood up for their community’s children and students,” Therrien said.

The two professors were part of the litigation efforts of the ACLU of Michigan, the Education Law Center and the New York-based global law firm White and Case. They spent time in Flint, speaking with educators and families and reviewing documents associated with the schools and districts.

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