AACTE Thought Leadership

AACTE and its members are committed to addressing current challenges facing education and educator preparation. We strongly believe in instilling within students and learners the importance of making a difference in the world. Our teacher educators must model social responsibility through embracing and advocating for societal changes that uplift all citizens.

AACTE’s thought leadership series highlights critical societal issues that affect education in our world today. We believe the following articles and resources will help all educators find their voice and support their students’ activism toward creating positive change.


Teachers and staff from UCLA Community School meet with UCLA professors to discuss the various research projects happening at the school.

June 29, 2021

Turning a Crisis into an Opportunity to Invest in Teachers

By Jane E. West

In the past year, our nation’s educational system faced an epic crisis brought about by the pandemic, leaving education leaders wondering when relief would be in sight. That relief arrived on March 11, 2021, when the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) was passed by Congress, allocating approximately $130 billion for the K-12 education system and nearly $40 billion for the higher education system. Read more.

Tutor helping student

May 21, 2021

PATHS to Tutor Act: Helping Students Overcome Pandemic Learning Loss

By Laurie Henry

The COVID-19 pandemic has set back learning for millions of students and exacerbated existing educational inequalities countrywide. A recent study by McKinsey Analysis found that Black, Latinx and lower-income students are less likely to have access to high-quality remote learning, resulting in their falling further behind and expanding the achievement gap by 15% to 20%. Read more.

Teacher standing in the front of a classroom

April 23, 2021

Challenging Times and the Best of Times for Educators

By: Dr. Jacob Easley II 

The COVID-19 pandemic made a profound impact our nation’s education system. In most states, educational policies have been implemented to promote the wearing of face coverings, physical distancing, virtual instruction, and intermittent school closures based on the rise of positive COVID-19 cases reported in local communities. Despite the many challenges educators face during this unprecedented time, there are lessons learned and a call for transformation that make this the best of times to pursue a teaching career. Here are some reasons why.  Read the full article.

A social studies teacher participates in an online staff meeting alone in his classroom at Middletown High School.

April 16, 2021

Learning Lessons from the Pandemic for Improvements in Clinical Practice

By Dan Goldhaber and Roddy Theobald

Dan Goldhaber and Roddy Theobald surveyed 29 Washington state-accredited educator preparation programs and explore what the findings will mean for the preparation of teacher candidates planning to join the teaching workforce.  Read the full article.

Teacher in the classroom wearing mask during instruction

January 29, 2021

Critical Capacity: COVID-19 and the Future of Educator Preparation Programs

By Kathleen DaBoll-Lavoie

As we enter the new year, many education leaders are questioning the impact of the pandemic on educator preparation programs (EPPs) and the pipeline of new teachers entering classrooms in 2021 and beyond.  Will colleges and universities expand and invest in their education programs to meet the demand for new teachers as educators retire due to COVID-19 health concerns?  Read the full article.

Making connections graphic

January 4, 2021

Making Connections in Times of Crisis

By Andrew J. Schiera

Andrew J. Schiera of the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education discusses how preparing the nation’s teachers and social justice educators in today’s virtual world requires blurring boundaries, democratizing knowledge, and rethinking hierarchies.  Real the full article.

Happy New Year

January 4, 2021

New Year, Renewed Hope

By Lynn M. Gangone

The year 2020 was a tumultuous one for educators. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought educator preparation to a dangerous crossroad, with teachers, principals, school counselors, and other essential education professionals experiencing a debilitating spate of closures and faculty layoffs. The public education workforce lost more than 600,000 jobs last year, with university-based educator preparation programs also encountering reduced enrollment and program closures.  Read the full article.

American flag in front of blackboard - Educators, the First Responders for Democracy

November 2, 2020

Educators, the First Responders for Democracy

By Lynn M. Gangone

AACTE President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone underscores that educators much must teach the skills and model the values of an informed and compassionate citizenry to meet the primary goal of creating environments where all children, regardless of their race or socio-economic background, can learn and excel. Read the full article.

Mid adult man attending online math's lecture on laptop at home

September 22, 2020

Navigating an Unpredictable Pandemic

By Lynn M. Gangone

In early spring, when the coronavirus (COVID-19) shut the doors to classrooms, there was an optimistic belief that by fall the obstacles of the pandemic would disappear and in-class instruction would return to normal. However, as states began to lift emergency orders and school districts prepared to reopen schools, it became evident that education leaders would still be grappling with the unpredictable public health crisis this fall.  Read the full article.

african college students using laptop together

September 21, 2020

Overcoming Racial Battle Fatigue Through Education Reform

By Monika Shealey

The horrific image of George Floyd taking his last breath is seared into our hearts and minds. Since that tragic event, we continue to bear witness to racial violence, police brutality, and incidents of discrimination that are played repeatedly in the news and via social media. The cumulative effect of these stressful reports can be traumatizing, and they are having a profound impact on our educators and students of color.  Read the full article.

Diverse hands on table

September 4, 2020

Equity in Teacher Education

By Andrew Daire

In this thought leadership article published in University Business, AACTE member Andrew Daire, dean of the College of Education at Virginia Commonwealth University, addresses the root areas where change must happen in creating a more equitable education system.  Read the full article.

Online Teaching

September 1, 2020

Online Teaching Curricula in Ed Prep

By David Slykhuis

AACTE’s David Slykhuis explores how the sudden outbreak of COVID-19 shed light on the need to enhance online teaching curricula in educator preparation programs. In this thought leadership article, he addresses preparing future teachers to model and integrate online technology in their pedagogical approaches. Read the full article.

Group of happy young children who are at school

August 19, 2020

Overcoming Racial Bias in Teacher Evaluation: Walk It, Like You Talk It

By Maria del Carmen Salazar

Maria del Carmen Salazar of the University of Denver, Morgridge College of Education reflects on her personal experience as a culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) learner and teacher educator in her call for education leaders to challenge white supremacy and racial bias in teacher evaluation. Read the full article.

Social Justice concept

July 13, 2020

Educators on the Front Lines of Social Justice

By Lynn M. Gangone

In her latest thought leadership article, AACTE President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone examines the question: “How can we successfully teach and reach all students, from all backgrounds, while fostering a desire for increased social justice and awareness within them?” Read the full article.

June 2, 2020

Moving Educator Preparation Forward During the Pandemic

By Ann Larson

The current public health crisis has placed a well-deserved spotlight on teachers. This focus has challenged teacher educators to find remote learning paths forward that ensure teacher candidates are well-prepared to enter into their own classrooms—whether in-class or remote. In this thought leadership article, AACTE Board Chair Ann Larson examines how to move educator preparation forward. Read the full article.


May 5, 2020

Leading During Difficult Times

By Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson

During times of crisis, leadership can either ignite fear and uncertainty or provide a sense of purpose and confidence in the path forward. AACTE interviewed board member Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson, president of Clarion University of Pennsylvania, to discuss what leadership in higher education should look like during difficult periods and how she is guiding her institution through the COVID-19 crisis.  Read the full article.

Empty Classroom

May 1, 2020

Beware the Solution That Is Not About the Problem: Reflections on Education and the COVID-19 Shock

By Jane West

In the last few weeks, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has put forward three initiatives intended to privatize the provision of public education. AACTE consultant and former senior vice president Jane West examines the impact such actions have had in the past and lessons learned from previous transitioning of public to charter schools in U.S. districts.  Read the full article.

Disabled pupil smiling at camera in classroom

April 7, 2020

Special Education Equity in the Era of COVID-19

By Lynn M. Gangone and Jacqueline Rodriguez

With the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19), school districts, institutions of higher education, and educators are finding themselves in uncharted territory. As schools across the nation are forced to shut their doors, finding ways to best serve all students equitably has never been more urgent. This is especially true for our most vulnerable students—those with disabilities.  Read the full article.

Black male teacher working with students in the computer lab.

February 26, 2020

Disrupting Inequities: Educating for Change

By Kimberly White Smith

The American education system was not created to support the liberation of the powerless. Instead, it was designed to instill skills, habits, beliefs, and discipline that would allow for better control of the masses. The colonizers who became the architects of this country built a system that perpetuates the status of white-skinned privilege and wealth, while leaving those in the lower and middle classes burdened with the laborious task of building and supporting our nation’s economy and infrastructure. Read the full article.

Marquita Grenot Scheyer.

January 13, 2020

Equity and Women in Leadership

By Marquita Grenot-Scheyer

Female leaders throughout history have made significant contributions to societal advancement, in such areas as the civil rights movement and education reform. Yet to this day, women still fight for equity, be it in the boardroom or the classroom. However, the good news is this occurs less often within the educational ecosystem today. Read the full article.

Free Speech - Women standing in front of US flag with hands over her mouth

18 December 2019

Freedom of Speech and Civil Discourse

By Marvin Lynn

Nationally, there is a growing tension between the promotion of civil discourse and the protection of free speech on campuses. Marvin Lynn, dean of the College of Education at Portland State University, examines the concept of campus free speech through his lens as a college administrator in this thought leadership article. Read the full article.

Students of different races studying

December 9, 2019

Racist Curricula in the 21st Century Do Exist

By Patricia McHatton

In her thought leadership article, AACTE member Patricia McHatton offers insight into the responsibility of educators to be critically self-reflective and continuously monitor their work and interactions with students and in examining various curricula. Read the full article.

Girl drawing sad face and the word help in her notebook

December 5, 2019

Why Trauma-Informed Instruction is Vital to Success in the 21st Century Classroom

By John A. Kuykendall 

With the onset of new threats to our children’s safety, AACTE member, John A. Kuykendall, dean of the University of Indianapolis College of Education, emphasizes the importance of equipping teachers with the tools they need to recognize and respond to all students.  Read the full article.

December 3, 2019

The Reality of Segregation in Public Schools

By Michael Dantley

What are the signs of a segregated school environment, and what are the solutions? AACTE Board member Michael Dantley addresses these questions, and offers insight into why educators are necessary for change. Read the full article.

Classroom with all white students

14 November 2019

Walk the integration walk, New York

By Ward Cummings

In an opinion piece published by the Daily News, AACTE’s Ward Cummings illustrates that students of color, as well as white students, benefit substantially from attending integrated schools. He reports on various state’s legislation and areas, like New York, where teachers joined with parents to shape stronger diversity plans. Read the full article.

The Problem We All Live With ~Norman Rockwell

November 07, 2019

Do Americans Understand Immigration? Here’s a Pop Quiz to Test Your Knowledge

By Leslie T. Fenwick

AACTE Dean of Residence Leslie T. Fenwick’s article, published in the Washington Post, examines how well Americans understand immigration and its associated issues in education with a true/false-style perspective.    Read the full article.

Protest for safe schools

October 22, 2019

Reducing the Violence that Permeates Through Our Schools

By Deborah Koolbeck

Deborah Koolbeck offers insight into how federal legislation can help equip state and local leaders with the tools to foster safe learning environments and highlights AACTE’s role in advocating for these initiatives on a national level.  Read the full article.


September 20, 2019

Immigration and Its Impact on American Schools

By Lynn M. Gangone

Through each wave of immigration, U.S. public schools incorporate immigrant students into the fabric of our country. AACTE President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone explores how public schools serve as a cultural incubator to nurture acceptance of diversity and the role educators play in supporting immigrant children and their families. Read the full article.

pdk poll

August 30, 2019

2019 PDK Poll Results and Their Meaning to Mindful and Meaningful Education

By Lynn M. Gangone

While serving on this year’s (Phi Delta Kappan) PDK Poll Advisory Board, AACTE President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone collaborated with other thought leaders in education to determine how to quantify, understand, and disseminate the data garnered from the recent poll. She shares her insight on how the results can be utilized to advance 21st century classrooms, its students, and those who lead them. Read the full article.


August 16, 2019

Educators and Social Responsibility: What This Means to Informed Citizenry

By Lynn M. Gangone

What should social responsibility look like in the teaching profession? Gangone shares insight into the role and quest of today’s educators to create and foster students’ zeal for learning and ways to contribute to the society they will one day shape. Read the full article.