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(December 7, 2020, Washington, D.C.) The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone issued the following statement today on behalf of its member institution, the University of South Florida College of Education, regarding its recent efforts to navigate the teacher shortage and COVID-19 related financial challenges:
“The University of South Florida (USF) College of Education is an active, respected member of AACTE, dedicated to high-quality, evidence-based preparation that assures educators are ready to teach all learners. We commend its work to identify viable solutions to the multiple challenges that currently impact schools and colleges of education across the country. These are indeed difficult times for all levels of education, yet USF remains committed to its mission to transform lives through the promotion of equity, social justice, and improved outcomes for students and communities, to help solve the most complex problems of a diverse society, and to prepare practitioners to be agents of change.
The global pandemic has deepened the national teacher shortage crisis. College and university programs that prepare our teachers, principals, school counselors, and other essential education professionals are experiencing a debilitating wave of closures and faculty layoffs. The rising demand for high-quality educators from the PK-12 sector, yet shrinking production capacity in our nation’s colleges and universities, endangers the prospects of generations of American students receiving a high-quality education in the 21st century and achieving a prosperous quality of life for themselves and their families. It is critical now more than ever to recruit diverse, talented people into the education profession, which requires our nation’s leaders allocating funds to aid colleges and universities in their recovery from the significant financial challenges caused by the pandemic. It is also critical for legislators to revamp policies and practices to support a diverse education workforce.
AACTE continues to advocate on the federal level and, in partnership with its state chapters, at the state level for COVID relief funding in education; increased incentives for students to complete high-quality educator preparation programs, especially in high-need fields; and greater investments in educator preparation programs at colleges and universities to support and expand innovative and successful practices.
AACTE strongly urges university leaders and administrators to strengthen their efforts to preserve and continue the good work of preparing future educators who will lead students across the country and globally toward a bright future. AACTE stands with USF, its member institutions in Florida, and those throughout the United States, Virgin Islands, and Guam to advance educator preparation during this arduous time.”
AACTE: The Leading Voice on Educator Preparation
The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education is a national alliance of educator preparation programs and partners dedicated to high-quality, evidence-based preparation that assures educators are profession-ready as they enter the classroom. The 700 member institutions include public and private colleges and universities in every state, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands and Guam. Through advocacy and capacity building, AACTE promotes innovation and effective practices that strengthen educator preparation. Learn more at aacte.org.