Beth Kubitskey, ACSR Midwest Region representative and president of the Michigan Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, recently shared her experience as a State Leaders Institute attendee and what she’s looking forward to at this year’s virtual event during Washington Week.
Why do you believe it is important for AACTE members to actively advocate for education?
One of the reasons I think it is vital for AACTE members to advocate for education is because we are the experts. Still, often we are so busy doing the work that we do, we have to remind ourselves that we need to be proactive, not reactive. Often by the time we finally receive word on a bill, law, or state policy, it has already moved through many processes.
And so, we are not aware of those kinds of things before they get to far down the road, and we lose our opportunity to have an impact. There are multiple examples of where we are more likely to succeed if we can get that information early and be proactive.
Are you following highlights of the AACTE 2021 Washington Week on Facebook and Twitter at #AACTEWW21? In addition to blog posts and testimonial videos, AACTE recently released a Washington Week infographic on social media. Check it out below!
Brian P. Yusko, president of the Ohio Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, provides insight into the impact the State Leaders Institute has on state leaders and affiliate members in the Q&A article.
Why do you believe it is important for AACTE members to actively advocate for education?
In our current political climate, educational policy is highly contested, with strong advocates for multiple competing goals of schooling. Many lawmakers feel comfortable proposing changes in P-12 educational policy without necessarily understanding all the implications for teacher preparation. If teacher educators are not at the table, policymakers are liable to make decisions that run counter to what we know about quality teacher education.
AACTE recently joined the Learning Policy Institute to announce the formation of the Teacher Licensure Collaborative (TLC), a partnership of interested states building on the work of the Whole Child Policy Table, to advance revisions of state licensure and certification standards to incorporate whole child practices and ensure alignment with the science of learning and development.
Led by the Learning Policy Institute, with support of AACTE, the TLC will help advance revisions of state licensure and certification standards, incorporate whole child practices—including social and emotional learning (SEL)—and ensure alignment with the science of learning and development.
The Ohio Department of Education recently announced the Diversifying the Education Profession Grant Awardees, 20 school districts that will work over two and a half years to implement strategies to address the diversity needs within their faculty and staff.
According to the Ohio Department of Education, the state has significantly more minority students than minority teachers in its public schools. Ample research shows that teachers of color help students of color perform better academically, socially, and emotionally, and the benefits translate into higher test scores, increased likeliness of staying in school, and lower likeliness of chronic absences and discipline incidents.
Leaders are grappling with the unprecedented challenge of working to understand and address the impact of the pandemic on students and communities. To support recovery, decisionmakers at all levels, from state policymakers to parents, must have access to data and use it to effectively address the challenges schools and districts face. But DQC’s 2021 public opinion polling of parents and principals uncovered considerable disconnects that could threaten efforts to use data to address the current moment and beyond.
As leaders turn their attention to the upcoming school year, data continues to be a critical tool for informing recovery efforts. State and local leaders are working together and using data to tackle the most pressing issues, which include:
In a recent Q&A with AACTE, Christine Carrino Gorowara, past president of the Delaware Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, shares her perspective as a frequent attendee of the Washington Week State Leaders Institute.
Why do you believe it is important for AACTE members to actively advocate for education? Why do you recommend AACTE members attend the State Leaders Institute?
AACTE members have specialized knowledge about education issues and provide an invaluable perspective to lawmakers. Additionally, part of our role in preparing educators is doing what we can to create an environment where educators can thrive, including ensuring funding, promoting culturally responsive policies, and expanding opportunity. The State Leaders Institute helps us hone our knowledge of issues relevant to educator preparation and how those issues are connected to pending legislation and develop the skills needed to advocate effectively.
What are you most looking forward to at this year’s State Leaders Institute?
As informative as the speakers always are, I most look forward to the opportunity to learn from other state chapters. I love learning about what kinds of events they hold, what resources and services they provide their members, how they work with partner organizations, and their innovative ideas for moving the profession forward.
As advocates, we want data to be used for accountability and transparency, to tell stories, and to inform impactful, equitable policies. But without context, clarity, transparency, the stories data could tell about school, student, and teacher experiences can be lost to misinformation and distrust.
Last week, the Data Quality Campaign released a new resource that breaks down what it means to build trust in data for both those who share it and those who consume it—providing tips to make meaning from the numbers that you see so you can demand clarity, uncover biases, understand how to foster trust in data, and take action armed with full information.
This Consumer’s Guide to Data is an especially great resource for producers of data (such as state or district leaders) and consumers of data (parents, families, or interested community members), but it can also be valuable to advocates who are looking to support good decision making and storytelling at every level.
Download the guide.
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARP), a law providing $122 billion for the ARP Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER), was established to help state educational agencies and school districts address safety and sustainability concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic. Among other things, the funding provided by the measure is being used by state education systems to accelerate and sustain a safe return to in-person instruction, to expand access to vaccination for staff and students, to fund summer school and to help students cope with the loss of classroom time.
In June of 2021, the U.S. Department of Education made public an online resource detailing how states plan to use the ARP ESSER funding. The online resource describes, for example, how New Jersey will use the funds to provide state-level support for school nurses and how New Mexico is setting up a $6 million joint program with local municipalities to provide summer internships for middle and high school students. Massachusetts will use the funds to offer summer school matching grants for school districts, and Oklahoma will use approximately $35 million to hire new school counselors, licensed mental health professionals and licensed recreational therapists.
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.
The Attack on Critical Race Theory Continues
In a Washington Update last month, we offered a distressing summary of how the teaching of our nation’s racial history has been thrown into the heart of the political arena. Unfortunately, the trend is continuing and gaining traction. Last week, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), the top Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee, announced her support for two bills intended to block the teaching of critical race theory in K-12 schools. This week Republican Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Mike Braun (R-IN) and Rick Scott (R-FL) introduced a resolution condemning the use of critical race theory in K-12 schools and teacher preparation programs. “Critical race theory has no place in American schools,” Blackburn said in a statement. “This resolution is an important step to prevent the far left from pushing their radical political agenda in our classrooms.”
President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) in March, which includes $122 billion for the ARP Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) Fund. The ARP ESSER funds are intended to help state educational agencies and school districts safely reopen and address the impact of COVID-19 on the nation’s students. AACTE has developed the Educating the Future, Today toolkit to help members navigate conversations with state or local education leaders, encouraging them to use ESSER funds to staff classrooms with teacher candidates.
These funds provide a unique opportunity for school districts and educator preparation programs to address the teacher pipeline. As the U.S. Department of Education’s noted in its COVID-19 Handbook, Volume 2: Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting All Students’ Needs, ARP ESSER funds can be used to staff classrooms with teacher candidates, thereby providing them with practical experience while helping alleviate the challenges teachers are encountering with the transition back to in person teaching.
One value of being a member of AACTE is the national advocacy for the profession and information about federal regulations influencing the field. What does not go unnoticed is the need and priority of work at the state level. The state level ACTEs provide a space for influencing state policies that ultimately guide the profession. AACTE values these essential contributions, and recognizes the value of this work as also informing advocacy going forward. A third, and critical, addition to this professional triumvirate is AACTE’s Advisory Council of State Representatives (ACSR) community, which serves as a collaborative network of State chapters. ACSR provides a place to share common issues, goals, events, white papers, advocacy tips, etc. at the regional level during monthly meetings. This serves each state well as our shared goal is to serve our students, pre- and in-service teachers and leaders, which is tertiary to our desire to prepare quality teachers and leaders for today’s and tomorrow’s P-12 children. Here we share a brief snippet of some of the contributions of ACSR.
The Ohio Deans Compact on Exceptional Children has a mission to act collectively in support of improved learning and results for all children, but especially those from marginalized groups. Compact serves as a forum for shared learning and collective action. Due to its efforts, critical connections have been made within and outside the state through representation from key stakeholder groups, including the members of Ohio Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and AACTE.
The 30-member organization meets quarterly and is comprised of leaders from the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE). Compact members participate on one of four standing committees (Dissemination, Impact Evaluation, Low Incidence, Policy). Institutions that are awarded incentive grants through the Compact participate in a facilitated community of practice (CoP), which serves as a peer-to-peer network for representatives from public and private institutions.
ISTE has released its newest policy report, “From Crisis Management to Sustained Change: States Leading the Future of Learning With the ISTE Standards.”
Fueled by the rapid transition to online and blended instruction in response to COVID-19 and continued need to equitably improve student outcomes, educators, and leaders across the country have faced an unprecedented challenge to design, implement, and scale learning strategies made possible through technology. This challenge also presents a new opportunity, as systems and strategies used to address COVID-19 can also propel our schools forward towards the future of learning and better meet students’ and educators’ needs.
This article originally appeared in VCU News and is reprinted with permission.
Andrew P. Daire, Ph.D., dean of the School of Education at Virginia Commonwealth University, was appointed Wednesday as a co-chair of Virginia’s new advisory committee charged with making recommendations on culturally relevant and inclusive education practices in Virginia’s public schools.
The Culturally Relevant and Inclusive Education Practices Advisory Committee, which was established by the General Assembly during the 2020 session, held its inaugural virtual meeting Wednesday and Gov. Ralph Northam announced its leadership and members.
“Inclusive and culturally relevant learning environments are vital to creating equitable pathways to success for all Virginians,” Northam said in a news release. “The work of this committee will advance our ongoing efforts to tell the complete and accurate story of Virginia’s complex past, improve our history standards, and give educators opportunities to engage in important conversations and lessons with their students.”