Official AACTE Statement
For interviews, contact: Lisa Johnson
202-478-4502 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

(September 30, 2011, Washington, D.C.) – The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) is pleased to have the U.S. Department of Education join us in our efforts to reform educator preparation and strengthen accountability measures through its blueprint, “Our Future, Our Teachers.” We have long held the position that preparation programs should be held accountable for the skill of their graduates, and that low-performing programs that consistently fail to deliver should be closed.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For interviews, contact: Lisa Johnson
202-478-4502 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Proposed Grant Program Would Offer Better Access to Quality Instruction for High-Need Students

(Sept. 14, 2011, Washington, D.C.) – The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) today celebrates a promising legislative development through Rep. Judy Chu's (D-CA) introduction of H.R. 2902, "The Equal Access to Quality Education Act." The Association has been working collaboratively with Rep. Chu's office on the bill, which would establish a competitive grant program to ensure that students in high-need schools have equal access to a quality education delivered by an effective, diverse teaching workforce.

From Education Week
By Liana Heitin

As more and more states push legislation tying teacher evaluations to student achievement – a policy incentivized by the federal Race to the Top program – many are scrambling to put data systems in place that can accurately connect teachers to their students. But in a world of student mobility, teacher re-assignments, co-teaching, and multiple service providers, determining the roster of students to attribute to a teacher is more complicated than it may sound.

From: Inside Higher Ed
by Allie Grasgreen

When it comes to teacher education, pragmatism beats idealism. But most education professors – save for a small minority – are complacent with antiquated teaching philosophies.

These conclusions, released today in a report by FDR Group and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute on the views of education professors, summarize the "sobering data" gathered from surveys distributed at colleges and universities across the country.

"Idealism, good intentions, and progressivist thinking suffuse what education professors strive to impart to prospective teachers, despite tension between these values and the policies pursued by school districts and states," the report says. "Teacher educators show only modest concern for real-world challenges.... even though K-12 teachers often say these are among the most difficult elements of teaching."

But there is hope yet, the researchers say. The report laments that most professors are stuck in old-world ways but touts the few who seek to improve K-12 teacher education and American schools.

"What's clear is that education school campuses already contain some potential allies for reformers," the report says. "There are cracks in the Ivory Tower – cracks that might be widened with a little encouragement from the outside."

Some take issue with the survey's validity, however. Sharon P. Robinson, president and C.E.O. of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, said that although the report calls attention to the important issue of preparing K-12 instructors, its results "cannot be deemed definitive" because only about 14 percent of the 5,500 teacher educators surveyed responded, and it was unclear whether all respondents were directly involved in teaching.

"While we are not confident in the results of this survey due to the low response rate, we and the majority of our members agree that educator preparation needs to change – and that it is changing," Robinson wrote in an e-mail. She also noted that some organizations and institutions are working to develop a teacher performance assessment to improve the validity and reliability of teacher effectiveness.

The key finding of the study is the apparent divide among the professoriate, Fordham Institute Research Director Amber Winkler said. "Our hope is not to beat up on education schools," she said. "It's more to say, 'OK, there is a group of professors that are advocating for change and are very vocal about it,' " and to encourage those professors they dubbed "reformers."

Researchers determined that, based on the range of responses and lack of overwhelming agreement, teacher education is in flux.

"One segment – Reformers – is strongly dissatisfied with the status quo; they point to weaknesses in education programs and agitate for change," the report said. "Another segment – Defenders – sees criticism as without merit and is mostly comfortable with the status quo. A close look at these two groups reveals opposing forces at work in teacher education."

But Robinson said it's not that simple. "Although they make for interesting discussion, it is difficult to make such black and white distinctions," she said. For instance, AACTE member institutions teach students practical skills for managing and disciplining, but also how to be lifelong learners and change agents within the reality of today's schools. "Good teachers who stay in the field should be both idealistic and realistic," she said.

The reformers, who make up 12 percent of survey respondents, agreed that teacher education needs "fundamental overhaul or many changes," and that the following statements come "very close to their view": "Teacher education programs often fail to prepare teachers for the challenges of teaching in the real world" (a statement that defenders called "not too close" or "not close at all to their view") and those programs "need to do a better job weeding out students who are unsuitable for the profession."

Defenders, who constitute 13 percent of respondents, said teacher education works very well and needs only "minor tinkering," and that the statement "teacher education programs are often unfairly blamed for the problems facing public education" comes very close to their view.

The report follows up on a 1997 study, which was also commissioned by the Fordham Institute, led by the same researchers and asked many of the same questions.

It found significant changes in few areas. Winkler pointed to 20 percent drops in the number of professors who say it's more important for students to struggle with a question than come up with the answer, and who say the early use of calculators will not prevent kids from learning arithmetic.

Fewer professors believe teacher programs are unfairly blamed for the problems facing education (71 percent compared to 82 percent). Though a large majority still agreed with this statement, Winkler said the response supports a general conclusion that professors today are more open to being held accountable for their performance and the quality of graduates. "They're willing to take more responsibility," she said.

Professors' "low priorities" include teaching effective classroom management, as well as teaching phonics and math, the report found. Additionally, professors are more likely to value teaching methods that focus on all students equally rather than raising the achievement of disadvantaged students who are struggling academically, such as students at high-need or urban schools.

Asked which statement comes closer to their personal philosophy of their role as teacher educator, 68 percent of professors said it's to "be change agents who will reshape education by bringing new ideas and approaches to public schools," while 26 percent said it's to "work effectively within the realities of today's public schools" – e.g., state mandates, limited budgets, and beleaguered administrators. (Six percent said they weren't sure.)

Robinson pointed out that to address these issues, there are about 1,300 educator preparation programs in the United States, some of which attempt to prepare teachers by connecting them through residency with high-need K-12 programs. However, the funds to support these programs are limited.

"The 'challenges of teaching in the real world,' especially in the nation's hard-to-staff urban and rural schools, are monumental," she said. "There are known solutions, but not enough support to realize them in a systemic way."

Integrating 21st-century skills into teacher prep will help students compete globally, new paper says

From eSchool News

Teachers equipped with digital-age skills will best serve today's students.

Teachers equipped with digital-age skills and teaching strategies will best serve today's students, a new paper argues.

The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) are calling on teacher education programs to update their curricula to better prepare future teachers to integrate 21st-century skills into their instruction.

The groups released a paper on Sept. 23 seeking to establish a shared vision for infusing digital-age knowledge and skills into teacher preparation programs and spark a meaningful discussion among higher-education leaders about how to implement this vision.

WASHINGTON and TUCSON, Ariz. – September 23, 2010 – The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) and P21 today released a paper to establish a shared vision around 21st century knowledge and skills in educator preparation and spark meaningful dialogue among higher education leaders about implementing this vision in educator preparation programs.

As noted in the paper, 21st Century Knowledge and Skills in Educator Preparation, AACTE, a national alliance of educator preparation programs dedicated to the highest quality professional development of educators and school leaders, and P21, the leading national organization that advocates for 21st century readiness for every student, believe that educator preparation programs need to recognize new opportunities and make improvements required to respond to the needs of 21st century learners.

"Today is an exciting and challenging time for those who prepare the educators of tomorrow," said Sharon P. Robinson, Ed.D., president and CEO of AACTE. "In order to meet the demands of the profession, AACTE is leading efforts to help its member institutions more effectively embed 21st century knowledge and skills into their programs so new teacher candidates are properly prepared to integrate them into their classroom practice."

"One of the main goals of the paper was to outline how educator preparation programs can support 21st century educators and students," said Julie Walker, P21 executive board and strategic council chair and executive director of the American Association of School Librarians. "It is incredibly important for preparation programs to go beyond the ‘transmission method' of teaching and instead offer educator candidates experiences that help them develop rich, applied learning opportunities that will ensure 21st century readiness for all students."

Finally, the paper recognizes educator preparation programs play a vital role in developing leaders who understand and can influence assessment, particularly around 21st century knowledge and skills. Consequently, preparation programs should serve as a research and evaluation test bed for innovative approaches to student measurement; integrate 21st century knowledge and skills assessment strategies as key components of the program's curriculum and assessments; and ensure graduates can demonstrate mastery of a wide range of P-12 student assessment methods to evaluate student proficiency in academic subject knowledge and skills.

"P21 is excited about the report's potential for generating conversations among colleges of education on the role they can play in assuring the next generation of educators are ready for the challenges of the 21st century," said Ken Kay, president, P21. "We are hopeful that this report will start a robust dialogue on how colleges of education can proactively move 21st century education forward across the country."

The 21st Century Knowledge and Skills in Educator Preparation paper is available at www.p21.org and www.aacte.org. The paper was sponsored by Blackboard, ETS, Intel, Microsoft, National Education Association and Pearson – all of which are P21 strategic council members.

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Contact:
Lisa Johnson | 202-478-4502 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Karen Frey | 773-818-0498 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About AACTE
The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education is a national alliance of educator preparation programs dedicated to the highest quality professional development of teachers and school leaders in order to enhance PK-12 student learning. The 800 institutions holding AACTE membership represent public and private colleges and universities in every state, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam. AACTE's reach and influence fuels its mission of serving learners by providing all school personnel with superior training and continuing education. For more information on AACTE, visit www.aacte.org.

About the Partnership for 21st Century Skills: P21 is a national organization that advocates for 21st century readiness for every student. As the United States continues to compete in a global economy that demands innovation, P21 and its members provide tools and resources to help the U.S. education system keep up by fusing the three Rs and four Cs (critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration and creativity and innovation). While leading districts and schools are already doing this, P21 advocates for local, state and federal policies that support this approach for every school.

21st Century Skills Leadership States include: Arizona, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

Member organizations include: Adobe Systems, Inc., American Association of School Librarians, Apple,  Blackboard, Inc., Cable in the Classroom, Cengage Learning, Crayola, Cisco Systems, Inc., Dell, Inc., EF Education, Education Networks of America, Educational Testing Service, Hewlett Packard, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Intel Corporation, JA Worldwide, KnowledgeWorks Foundation, LEGO Group, Lenovo, Learning Point Associates, McGraw-Hill, Measured Progress, MHz Networks, Microsoft Corporation, National Education Association, National Academy Foundation, Nellie Mae Education Foundation, netTrekker, Oracle Education Foundation, Pearson, Project Management Institute Educational Foundation, Quarasan!, Scholastic Education, Sesame Workshop, The Walt Disney Company, and Verizon. Organizations or states interested in joining the Partnership may contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

CONTACT:
Jade Floyd,
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
or 202.478.4596

Who:     Sharon P. Robinson, Ed.D., president and CEO of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), will keynote the North Carolina Association of Colleges and Teacher Educators (NC-ACTE) during their 25th Annual Fall Teacher Education Forum.

What:     NC-ACTE is the organization that unites teacher educators in both public and private colleges and universities, staff and faculty in state created initiatives and consortiums, and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Originally separate, two teacher education organizations merged in 2005 to form the NC-ACTE. Always cooperative, the two organizations came together every fall to sponsor jointly the NC Teacher Education Forum now in its 25th year. For more information on NC-ACTE and their Teacher Education Forum please visit http://www.nc-acte.org/

When:     Thursday, September 20, 2007 at 10:00 a.m. Interviews are available via phone by contacting Jade Floyd, communications manager AACTE, 202.478.4596 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Where:     North Raleigh Hilton, 3415 Wake Forest Road, Raleigh, North Carolina. Phone number: 919.872.2323

Why:     Dr. Robinson was selected as AACTE’s top executive in 2005 and assumed leadership of the association in April of that year. In selecting Dr. Robinson, AACTE’s board of directors acknowledged her strong commitment to high-quality teaching, rigorous scholarship, and diversity in the nation’s teaching workforce. A lifelong civil rights activist, Robinson has waged a personal crusade to realize the nation’s moral and professional responsibility to educate and maximize the potential of minority and disabled students.
Dr. Robinson was formerly president of the Educational Testing Service's Educational Policy Leadership Institute. Before joining ETS, Robinson was assistant secretary of education with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Educational Research and Improvement.

She also held a variety of leadership positions at the National Education Association, including director of the National Center for Innovation, NEA's research and development arm. Just prior to joining AACTE, Robinson served briefly as interim deputy director of the National PTA's Programs and Legislation office.

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CONTACT:
Jade Floyd,
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
or 202.478.4596

Legislation includes funds for innovative TEACH grant program and Centers of Excellence  

Washington, D.C. (September 10, 2007) Last Friday, the United States Congress approved the Higher Education Reconciliation Bill (College Cost Reduction and Access Act, H.R. 2669) creating TEACH grants, an innovative program to recruit and support new teachers.

Under Title I of the bill, TEACH Grants offer tuition assistance (scholarships) for undergraduates and graduates who agree to teach for four years in public schools with high shortage or high need subject areas including, mathematics, science, foreign languages, bilingual education, special education, and reading.

“This level of investment in teacher recruitment is historically unprecedented. The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) has worked diligently to ensure TEACH grants were included in this bill. These grants will serve as a magnate to help attract students interested in these critical high-needs subjects,” said Dr. Sharon P. Robinson, president and CEO of AACTE. “This is a wise investment in teachers that will pay off handsomely by enhancing our nation’s capacity to participate in the highly competitive global economy.”

Undergraduate TEACH grants fund up to $4,000 per year per student for a total of $16,000. Graduate TEACH grants are for a maximum of $8,000 per student for a Master’s degree. Students eligible for TEACH grants must have a high grade point average or a high score on an admissions test. Students who receive TEACH grants must agree to serve as full-time teachers for at least four academic years within eight years after completing their course of study.

For the complete language and summary of the Higher Education Reconciliation Bill please visit
http://thomas.loc.gov/.

CONTACT:
Jade Floyd,
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
or 202.478.4596 

Washington, D.C. (September 6, 2007) Today, Dr. William Tate, IV, the Edward Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor in Arts & Sciences and Chair of the Department of Education at the Washington University in St. Louis, provided comments on the behalf of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) before the National Mathematics Advisory Panel in St. Louis, Missouri.

AACTE’s comments are focused on elementary and middle school (K-8) mathematics education, according to the Panel’s charge, and particularly address the training, selection, placement, and professional development of teachers of mathematics in order to enhance student learning in mathematics.

Dr. Tate gave the Panel eight policy recommendations from AACTE:

    1. Support syntheses and wide dissemination of the best research available
    2. Support research on critical mathematics teacher/teaching issues
    3. Encourage consensus-building efforts to develop high-level student mathematics standards
    4. Support the development of student data systems with links to teacher preparation programs
    5. Support teacher preparation reform at both state and federal levels
    6. Eliminate out-of-field teaching
    7. Encourage investments in mathematics teacher recruitment and retention efforts
    8. Correct the inequitable distribution of high-quality teachers

“The recommendations presented by Dr. Tate provide policy support for the challenges that AACTE member institutions are ready to address. We are prepared to engage through professional and political partnerships, and we realize the benefits these recommendations hold for teacher education students and the students they will serve,” says Dr. Sharon P. Robinson, president and CEO of AACTE.

Recently, AACTE released a publication, “Preparing STEM Teachers: The Key to Global Competitiveness”, which highlights more than 50 teacher preparation programs across the country dedicated to increasing the number of effective K-12 educators in the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

For more information, please contact Jade Floyd at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at 202.478.4596. 
For more information on the National Mathematics Advisory Panel, please visit http://www.ed.gov/about/bdscomm/list/mathpanel/index.html.

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