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NASA Space Science Education Resources and the Importance of Real-World, Authentic Solutions for Meaningful Student Learning

Quality real-world Science Technology Engineering and Mathematic (STEM) educational resources are needed within programs of teacher education and P-12 classrooms. The National Association of Manufacturing (2018) reported that the United States will need to fill 3.5 million jobs by 2025, with more than two million going unfilled due to lack of highly skilled in-demand candidates. The US Defense Industrial Base Industrial Capabilities Report (2021) showed a need for STEM education by stating that the STEM shortage is quickly approaching crisis status. This report is a congressionally-mandated, annual requirement in which the Secretary of Defense informs the armed services committees on the actions, investments, and overall health of the U.S. defense industrial base. 

Important Work Continues While Congress on Recess

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.

Department of Education logoWe have finally made it to mid-term election week. Congress remains on recess until after the elections, but important work continues. It is my hope that by the end of the week we will have the complete results of the mid-term elections and I will provide an analysis on the makeup of the 118th Congress in our next Washington Update.

Innovative Tennessee Teacher Prep Program Aims to Prepare a New Breed of Educators

This article originally appeared on reimaginED, the policy and public affairs communications platform for Step Up For Students and is reprinted with permission.

The Early Learning Residency Program at Austin Peay University proved to be what recent graduate Malachi Johnson was looking for: a college education and a guaranteed job.

In her 20s, Heather Fracker set her sights on becoming a respiratory therapist. But as John Lennon observed, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”

Fast forward two decades, and Fracker, a 43-year-old single mom to two middle schoolers, is pursuing a new dream. In two years, she will be a fully credentialed elementary school teacher thanks to an accelerated program that began in her hometown.

SVSU Sees Teacher Certification Enrollment Growth and Student Achievement

Saginaw Valley State University is seeing gains in the number of students pursuing teacher certification at the university for the fall 2022 semester.  In addition, SVSU’s award-winning residence halls are completely filled, as student interest in living on campus has rebounded.

SVSU has 146 students pursuing teacher certification, up from 126 last year, including 23 new students who are employees of Saginaw Public Schools and enrolled through a new partnership between SVSU and the school district. All of these students have previously completed bachelor’s degrees and want to become certified teachers.

Call for Manuscripts: The Teacher Educators’ Journal

The Teacher Educators’ Journal (TTEJ) is published by the Virginia Association of Colleges and Teacher Educators (VACTE), a state unit of the Association of Teacher Educators (ATE) and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE). The journal aims to stimulate discussion and reflection about issues related to teacher education; authors need not be based in and research need not be conducted in Virginia for manuscripts to be considered for publication. Manuscripts submitted for consideration may be research/empirical reports and analyses, position papers, book reviews, or conceptual essays.

To facilitate collaboration amongst teacher education scholars and practitioners and improve teaching, research, and student learning, the Fall 2023 special issue of the journal will call on authors to address two related sub-themes in two distinct sections.

  • Section I: The sub-theme for this section is “Opportunity Gaps and Collaborative Inquiry: Structures, Explorations, and Early Outcomes of the ATE Inquiry Initiative.”
  • Section II: The sub-theme for this section is “From Policy to Practice: Striving for Inclusive Excellence through Personal Reflection, Connectivity, and the Building of Support Systems for Leaders, Educators, Students, and Families.”

App State to Open Lab School at Elkin Elementary

University will be only UNC System institution to operate two lab school programs

Courtesy of Marie Freeman

Appalachian State University is partnering with Elkin City Schools to open the university’s second laboratory school aimed at enhancing student education, improving outcomes and providing high-quality teacher and principal training.

Under the plan — which was developed in collaboration with Elkin City Schools leaders and approved by the Elkin City Schools Board of Education on Dec. 13, 2021 — a lab school will open at Elkin Elementary School in August. The “school-within-a-school” model will serve approximately 100 students in second through fourth grades.

Aiding Teacher Candidates’ Understanding of Learner Variability

Rachel Besharat Mann will share her experience in translating learning sciences into practice using the Digital Promise Learner Variability Navigator tool during the webinar co-hosted by AACTE, “Learning Sciences Research for the Classroom” on September 26, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Below, Mann offers a preview about her experience using the web app for whole child learning.

You can read all of the teaching books and take all of the courses but being in the classroom is a completely different experience. You are working with individual people with varied backgrounds and needs and their behaviors; strengths, and needs can change based on a variety of factors outside of a teacher’s control. There is no roadmap to tell you how students learn differently or even if they are learning at all. This is a lesson I’ve learned the hard way over the years and have vowed to help my higher education students avoid the same pitfalls in K-12 classrooms that I did.

LFA Member Organizations React to NAEP Results

On September 1st, 2022, the Commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics released the mathematics and reading results of 9-year-olds from the 2022 NAEP long-term trend assessment. The following summary is from NAEP’s Highlights report:

In 2022, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) conducted a special administration of the NAEP long-term trend (LTT) reading and mathematics assessments for age 9 students to examine student achievement during the COVID-19 pandemic. Average scores for age 9 students in 2022 declined 5 points in reading and 7 points in mathematics compared to 2020. This is the largest average score decline in reading since 1990, and the first ever score decline in mathematics.

Share the Power of Us Workforce Survey

In announcing the National Partnership for Student Success, a bright spotlight has been put on the adults who serve young people in communities nationwide. This is a clarion call for more adults to step up and lean in to address students’ academic, emotional, social, and mental health needs. 

In 2022, the American Institutes for Research (AIR) and a constellation of partner organizations launched the Power of Us Workforce Survey, a first-of-its-kind comprehensive workforce survey to get to know the people who are already working and volunteering with youth in afterschool and summer programs, in libraries, in affordable housing, in community centers, in schools, and anywhere young people need support.

New Federal Initiatives Address Pandemic Learning Loss

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.

This week, the 87th biennial American Federation of Teachers (AFT) convention is taking place in Boston, where the city will welcome more than 3,000 members and leaders of the labor group. Today, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden will address the AFT with Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and Massachusetts Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey scheduled to take the stage as well. The AFT convention comes as districts across the nation are beginning to prepare for a return to school in the fall while in the midst of a critical shortage of educators and specialized instructional support personnel. An all-hands-on-deck approach will be needed, which includes comprehensive, full preparation coupled with support from federal, state, and local governments in order to address this crisis.

Secretary Cardona Issues Call to Address Nationwide Teacher Shortage and Student Recovery

Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona issued a nationwide call to action for states, higher education leaders, and schools to tap federal resources and work together to address the teacher shortage and aid student recovery. Today’s announcement builds on President Biden’s call in the State of the Union encouraging leaders to use American Rescue Plan funds to address this critical challenge schools and districts across the country are facing. The call to action coincides with Secretary Cardona’s participation in the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s Summit on Improvement in Education in San Diego.

“I have always known that a well-prepared, well-supported, well-compensated, and diverse educator workforce is the foundation for student success. Educator vacancies and other staff shortages represent a real challenge as our schools work to recover, falling hardest on students of color, students in rural communities, students from low-income backgrounds, students with disabilities, and multilingual learners. That’s why I’m proud that the American Rescue Plan has equipped states, school districts, and colleges and universities that prepare our educators with unprecedented financial resources to help overcome this challenge,” said Secretary Cardona. “Today, I am calling on states, districts, and institutions of higher education to use ARP funds to address the teacher shortage and increase the number of teacher candidates prepared to enter the teaching profession. My team will continue to advise state and local leaders on how they can seize this moment; put COVID relief dollars to work in our schools; and achieve a lasting, equitable recovery for our students.”

Illinois State University Coordinates State Tutoring Initiative

This article originally appeared on Illinois State University website and is reprinted with permission.

Teacher working in the classroom with young students

Illinois State University (ISU) is coordinating the Illinois Tutoring Initiative in partnership with the Governor’s Office, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), and the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB). The program will provide tutoring for approximately 8,500 Illinois students during the two-year period. This is one of four state initiatives aimed at learning renewal following COVID disruptions in schooling.

Six institutional partners across the state including ISU, Governor’s State University, Illinois Central College, Northern Illinois University, Southeastern Illinois Community College, and Southern Illinois University, manage tutoring in their area of the state.

Ohio University to Partner With ESSCO to Create New Special Education Teacher Training Program

This article originally appeared on the Ohio University Ohio News website and is reprinted with permission.

Ohio University received the Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grant that will allow OHIO to partner with the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio (ESCCO) to improve the quality of OHIO’s special education teacher preparation program, which will improve the academic achievement of K-12 students.

The grant will span over five years, totaling more than $4.1 million to help accomplish this goal. It also provides opportunities for adult learners, supporting OHIO’s Strategic Framework and the initiative to catalyze strategic enrollment for lifelong learning.

“This partnership with ESCCO allows Ohio University to serve Ohio in preparing the next generation of teachers to work with all learners,” said Renée A. Middleton, dean of the Patton College of Education. “Our vision statement is ‘The Patton College—Where Learning Has No Limits!’ This partnership for teacher quality will allow us to fulfill that vision and commitment.”

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.

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