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2019 Nation’s Report Card Shows Growing Disparity between High and Low Achievers in Math and Reading

2019 Nation's Report CardThe recent release of the 2019 Nation’s Report Cards for mathematics and reading in grades 4 and 8 illustrates a growing disparity in achievement between the highest and lowest achieving students. The results show the divergence is happening across the nation, across states, and for student groups by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), widely known as the Nation’s Report Card, provides data from the nation, states/jurisdictions, and urban school districts that volunteer to participate in the Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA).  Approximately 296,900 fourth- and eighth-grade students across the nation participated in the 2019 mathematics assessment and nearly 294,000 fourth- and eighth-grade students across the nation participated in the 2019 reading assessment.  Results are available for the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Department of Defense schools, as well as for the 27 participating large urban districts.

How Will Impeachment Proceedings Affect the Congressional Agenda?

Capital with STOP barricade

This blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide update information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

It’s been quite a week in DC.  The most impressive news is having our home team—the Nationals—win the World Series, despite their substantial underdog status. Other than that, the House voted to proceed officially with the impeachment process on a totally partisan basis—and that promises to suck the oxygen out of any sort of Congressional agenda for months.

Are we Headed to a Government Shutdown … Again?

While the Senate made progress on funding bills this week, big hurdles remain. The Senate passed a package of four appropriations bill with a bipartisan vote of 84-9, the first funding bills to pass the Senate. However, Senate Democrats blocked movement on the package of two large spending bills:  Defense and Labor/HHS/Education. They are not happy that President Trump is insisting on funding for his border wall and that the Labor/HHS/Education bill’s spending level is so low.

Black Male Teachers Have Positive Influence on Students of All Races

This op-ed article originally appeared in The State and is reprinted with permission.

I was wasting time on Twitter when I came across a post that stopped me mid-scroll. The original post posed a question: How many black male educators did you have in kindergarten through 12th grade.

One of my former students chimed in with a shocking number: 1…Coach Thorne.

That’s me; that’s who I was. I taught social studies at Blythewood High School for 11 years and was an assistant football coach.

At first glance, the number 1 seems to be an indictment and a referendum on what we in education circles have known forever—we need more black men in the classroom. But upon further inspection, with a little critical analysis, I believe there is power in one.

Statistics tell us that having just one African American teacher in elementary school reduces drop-out rates among black boys by nearly 40% and increases their recognition as gifted students.

But stats don’t tell the story.

Educators help dual-language learners through the IMPACT-PD grant

Teacher pointing at words on blackboardThe IMPACT-PD grant—Improving Preschoolers’ Acquisition of Language through Coaching Teachers and Professional Development—is playing an integral role in providing preschool educators the tools they need to help their students develop proficiency in English as a second language.

The United States Department of Education National Professional grant, funded by the Office of English Language Acquisition, aims to provide educators with professional development opportunities for improving instruction of dual-language learners in preschool.

The IMPACT-PD program, a partnership between the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education, focuses on four goals to further training and education to children learning English early in life:

New NCLD Helps Teachers Unlock the Power of Students Who Learn Differently


One in 5 students in the United States have learning and attention issues. This includes those with identified specific learning disabilities, diagnosed attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, or related disorders that impact learning. Despite often having above average or average intelligence, the majority of these students are achieving below grade level. This equates to millions of students across the nation whose strengths and potential are going untapped.

The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) and Understood set out to unpack and address this problem. We partnered with teachers—often the most consistent touchpoint for students after their caregivers—to understand their experiences and insights. We rooted these experiences in rigorous research focused on general education classrooms, where the majority of the “1 in 5” spend most of their time. The culmination of this work is found in “Forward Together,” a new report from Understood and the NCLD.

AACTE is joining several other education organizations to develop Forward Together Toolkits for our teachers and teacher educators. Stay tuned for more information on the dissemination of those toolkits!

AACTE Participates in Next Educator Workforce: Asking the Right Questions


I recently represented AACTE at the Next Educator Workforce: Asking the right questions conference, joining educators from across the country at the Arizona State University (ASU) Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College (MLFTC).

The ASU conference organizers asked the question: Why convene around the idea of the next education Workforce? The response included the following:

  • Fewer people are entering the profession.
  • More educators are leaving the profession early.
  • Educators need more of the sustaining rewards of adult collaboration and efficacy.

Our challenge, according to ASU, is to build broad-based, multilateral partnerships that include colleges of education, schools, districts, and communities committed to designing and fielding new workforce models that make education work better for both educators and learners.

Social Emotional Learning Is Essential for Student Success


Social and emotional skills, habits, and mindsets—such as being able to manage emotions, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions—can set students up for academic and life success. Decades of research show that incorporating social and emotional learning (SEL) into instruction can lead to positive outcomes, from increased test scores and graduation rates to positive behaviors that support student success in school and beyond.

What can teacher preparation programs do to prepare teachers to integrate SEL into everyday classroom learning? A new case study from the Learning Policy Institute (LPI), Preparing Teachers to Support Social and Emotional Learning: A Case Study of San Jose State University and Lakewood Elementary, provides rich examples of how a publicly funded university in California integrates social and emotional dimensions of teaching and learning into its program, from courses on foundational theory and academic curriculum to fieldwork.

AACTE InTouch: ‘What Makes a Good Teacher?’

Did you know AACTE produces a mini-documentary series called AACTE InTouch? These brief videos inform the public about educator preparation and ways to advocate for, get involved in, and support the education profession.

The series educates viewers on how effective teachers are prepared and showcases successes and challenges in educator preparation. The video content is designed to align with the Association’s key messages focused on quality, advocacy, partnerships, and innovation. Featuring a variety of topics and layered storytelling, the series helps viewers understand the critical issues in educator preparation, feel connected to AACTE’s mission, and learn about innovations in the field.

Learn to Use Data for Improvement in Online Course Starting July 17

Data, data everywhere – so now what do you do? When you are awash in student test scores, survey responses, or research results, how do you determine what they mean – and what actions to take as a result?

For a concise and engaging introduction to data sources, uses, and improvement processes, try AACTE’s online professional seminar Using Data to Improve Student Outcomes, opening July 17 for a 3-week run on the FutureLearn social-learning platform. It requires only 3 hours per week and costs nothing! (Or you may choose to upgrade your enrollment, for a fee, to participate in tests, obtain a completion certificate, and gain unlimited access to course materials in the future. A completion certificate is required if you plan to become an AACTE consultant.)

AASCU Seeks Applications for 2017 Christa McAuliffe Excellence in Teacher Education Award

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) invites applications by April 21 for the 2017 Christa McAuliffe Excellence in Teacher Education Award. Only public colleges and universities that are members of AASCU are eligible to apply for the award, which honors exemplary teacher preparation and professional development programs.

To win this award, teacher education and professional development programs must –

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