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Action Needed: Urge Your Members of Congress to Co-Sponsor the Educators for America Act

Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Representative Alma Adams (D-N.C.) recently introduced the Educators for America Act, which would modernize Title II of the Higher Education Act and help ensure that future teachers are profession-ready to enter the classroom. The Educators for America Act was introduced after more than a year of consultations with experts in the educator field and partner organizations.  
Action Needed Now we must use our voice to build support and momentum behind the bill. Urge your representative and senators to co-sponsor the Educators for America Act via AACTE’s Action Center.  

Mississippi Public Universities Help Mississippi Children Succeed in the Classroom

Mississipi Public Universities

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.

AACTE Endorses Educators for America Act

On behalf of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone issued the following statement in support of the Educators for America Act, which would update and modernize Title II of the Higher Education Act:

“AACTE enthusiastically supports the Educators for America Act and thanks Sen. Reed and Rep. Adams for their unwavering leadership in support of educator preparation. This comprehensive bill will make robust investments in teacher and other educator preparation programs while alleviating our nation’s educator shortage, diversifying the profession, and providing critical support to our member institutions and their community partners.” 

Arkansas Expands Educators Rising Initiative to Build Career Pathways for High School Students

Educators Rising, a national Grow Your Own career and technical education (CTE) program that inspires high school students to become educators, announced a partnership with the Arkansas Department of Education to expand to 30 schools across the state, with an emphasis on serving high-needs areas and recruiting diverse students into the profession. The partnership, partially funded through a generous grant from the Walton Family Foundation, more than doubles the potential footprint of the program in the state.

With chapters in all 50 states, Educators Rising offers students the opportunity to develop necessary classroom skills and experience teaching through co-curricular learning and supervised clinical experiences while still in high school. The program can be set up as an extra-curricular activity or as a co-curricular experience and offers a classroom-ready curriculum that can also be implemented at the school level. Educators Rising helps increase teacher diversity through tools and resources designed to address the needs of diverse students and broaden the types of students who explore teaching as a profession.

Lindenwood University’s Plans to Ensure Equitable Access for All Future Teachers

AACTE’s Consortium for Research-Based and Equitable Assessments (CREA) project recently released a framing paper titled The History, Current Use, and Impact of Entrance and Licensure Examinations Cut Scores on the Teacher-of-Color Pipeline: A Structural Racism Analysis. The paper addressed the following questions: (1) How are standardized entrance and licensure tests being used as a gateway into the profession? (2) Who determines cut scores for these tests? and (3) What is the historical significance and implications of these tests on the diversity of the profession today?

Lindenwood University represents one of fourteen lead institutions that comprise the CREA project. Tammy Moore, director of certification and field/clinical experiences at Lindenwood, reflects on the effects of entrance assessment requirements at her institution and her institution’s plans to ensure equitable access for all students who choose to pursue teacher education.

Tammy MooreWhy did Lindenwood University pursue membership in the CREA project?

Lindenwood University – College of Education and Human Services (COEHS) pursued the CREA project to participate in an initiative designed to support our continual efforts to recruit and retain teacher candidates of color. In direct alignment with Lindenwood COEHS commitment to “… an open, diverse, and inclusive learning environment that nurtures the growth and development of all …”  the CREA project embodies our commitment to diversifying the teaching profession.

MSU Elementary Teacher Preparation Program Gets Powerful Redesign

A second-grade teacher uses a white board to teach both her in-class and online students at Wesley Elementary School.

Photo by Allison Shelley for EDUimages

This article originally appeared in MSUToday and is reprinted with permission.

Students interested in becoming elementary teachers now have an exciting new pathway at Michigan State University.

Faculty in the nationally known MSU College of Education have redesigned the elementary Teacher Preparation Program to not only address changes in how Michigan certifies new teachers, but to ensure that Spartan educators are even better prepared to meet the challenges of today’s schools.

“It is important that we continue to evolve as a teacher preparation program to reflect changing times,” said Tonya Bartell, associate professor and associate director of elementary programs. “This means preparing high-quality beginning teachers ready to serve our nation’s diverse student population, including teaching English learners and students with disabilities, and serving as agents of change toward equity and social justice.”

Fifty Percent of Teachers say, ‘Salary is Not Enough to Sustain Them Long-Term’

Nearly 1 in 5 teachers have to work second jobs.

The Teacher Salary Project surveyed 1100+ teachers nationally, with an oversample of recognized teachers (e.g., State Teachers of the Year -STOYs, Nationally Board Certified Teachers – NBCTs, Teach Plus Fellows, and others) and found:

  • Nearly half of the surveyed teachers say their salary was not sufficient to sustain them in teaching for the medium-to-long term (two-thirds when teachers who weren’t sure if they could continue teaching on their salary are included). 

University of Wisconsin – Whitewater and the Impact of Teacher Ed Entrance Assessment Requirements

AACTE’s Consortium for Research-Based and Equitable Assessments (CREA) project recently released a framing paper titled The History, Current Use, and Impact of Entrance and Licensure Examinations Cut Scores on the Teacher-of-Color Pipeline: A Structural Racism Analysis. The paper addressed the following questions: (1) How are standardized entrance and licensure tests being used as a gateway into the profession? (2) Who determines cut scores for these tests?, and (3) What is the historical significance and implications of these tests on the diversity of the profession today?

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (UWW) represents one of fourteen lead institutions that comprise the CREA project. Lana Collet-Klingenberg, professor and interim associate dean at UWW recently reflected on the effects of entrance assessment requirements at her institution and her institution’s plans to ensure equitable access for all students who choose to pursue teacher education.

Why did University of Wisconsin – Whitewater pursue membership in the CREA project?

Increasing the diversity in our educator workforce is a high priority for our state and our institution. By many measures Wisconsin is failing when it comes to equity in our schools and in our educator workforce. As the EPP that prepares the most first-time licensed teachers in the state, we are interested in any initiative that advances the cause. In addition, in an effort to lessen the number of barriers for prospective teachers, our state changed rule, providing EPP with flexibility regarding what measures we use for admission. In our state, students can meet requirements with GPA OR test scores. Our state is continuing to address removal of barriers by recently changing rule again to allow for alternate measures to GPA for licensure (which, in turn, will allow greater flexibility with admission requirements). I believe our inclusion in the project is a means of sharing these avenues with states still requiring standardized test performance as the primary admission pathway.

URI’s Feinstein College is Lead Institution in AACTE Consortium to Address Barriers to a Diversified Teaching Workforce

The University of Rhode Island’s Alan Shawn Feinstein College of Education and Professional Studies will represent the state as a lead institution in the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education’s Consortium for Research-Based and Equitable Assessments, an initiative funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that engages 14 states in a study of state-level tests and qualifying scores for entry into educator preparation programs.

URI will collaborate with the Rhode Island Department of Education, Rhode Island College, Central Falls School District, and Pawtucket School Department to examine state data and practices, as well as engage in quarterly convenings to inform guidelines and recommendations for setting qualifying cores for educator preparation program entry and exit.

Congress Passes Legislation to Improve TEACH Grants

An elementary art teacher instructs second-grade students attending in person and remotely at Wesley Elementary School.

Photo by Allison Shelley for EDUimages

This week, the House of Representatives passed the Consider Teachers Act, which would make certain improvements to the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants program.  The TEACH Grant program is intended to encourage individuals to enter the teaching profession by providing recipients with grants of up to $4,000 per year to pursue coursework that leads to a certification in teaching. AACTE has long supported this program to help address the nation’s shortage of educators.

AACTE Contributes to the Committee for Education Funding’s Budget Book

Council for Education Funding - Education MattersOne of the important coalitions AACTE is a member of is the Committee for Education Funding (CEF), which is the oldest and largest coalition of education associations and calls for an increase in federal funding for education. CEF’s current campaign is “5 Cents Makes Sense,” which calls for 5 cents of every federal dollar to be spent on education. The campaign’s official hashtag is #5Cents4EdFunding. 

Each year, CEF publishes a Budget Book, which analyzes the President’s budget proposal and its impact on federal education programs.  AACTE contributed two articles to the Book.  One is on TEACH Grants, the federal program that supports the recruitment of high-quality teacher candidates for hard-to-staff fields and schools. The other article is on the Teacher Quality Partnership program, which is the only federal initiative designed to strengthen and reform educator preparation at institutions of higher education.

AACTE’s Consortium for Research-Based and Equitable Assessments Needs You

Marketing segmentation, target market, target audience, customers care, customer relationship management (CRM), human resources recruit and customer analysis concepts, bokeh in background.The Consortium for Research-Based and Equitable Assessments (CREA) is seeking your help to recruit teacher candidates, teachers, and faculty for its upcoming focus groups. The Consortium, which is comprised of educator preparation programs (EPPs) and state and local education agency representatives across 14 states, is examining the processes and considerations that states use to determine cut scores for entrance (i.e., Praxis Core) and teacher licensure examinations.

Through data collection of key stakeholders, analysis of trends and policies, and shared learning, the Consortium will produce recommendations and guidelines to establish equitable criteria for setting qualifying scores and model state policies that promote equity and diversity in the profession.

UW College of Education Launches Competition to Spark Interest in Teaching

University of Wyoming - WY TeachThe University of Wyoming College of Education and UW Trustees Education Initiative (TEI) have partnered with Mursion, a company that develops virtual reality training simulations, to present the inaugural College WYTeach competition.

UW and Wyoming community college students who are freshmen or sophomores and interested in becoming teachers can participate in the contest. The top three participants will be awarded scholarship money to UW or a Wyoming community college.

In Wyoming and across the nation, schools are experiencing a shortage of teachers. The WYTeach competition was developed to get students interested in teaching careers and provide a stream of highly qualified teachers into classrooms. This exposure will provide students the opportunity to practice their professional skills and put their teaching abilities to the test by leading a class of students inside a virtual reality simulation.

Let’s Work Together to Solve a Growing Demand for Skilled Teachers

A first-grade teacher at Capital City Public Charter School leads a lesson about bee colonies with her students.This article originally appeared in The Hechinger Report.

Long before the pandemic, school districts across the nation struggled to staff classrooms with skilled teachers. The crisis did not create the teacher shortage, but it accelerated teacher retirements and other departures while contributing to declining enrollments in educator preparation programs.

Our nation’s education system spans national, state, district, classroom and community levels. Many rightly wonder if this ecosystem’s demand for qualified teachers can be met in the post-pandemic era.

To do so, we need deeper—and more active—collaborations to address the multiple layers of challenges inside the teaching profession so that we can effectively recruit, train and retain more teachers.

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