Press Releases & Statements

AACTE President and CEO Sharon P. Robinson Releases Comments on U.S. Department of Education's RESPECT Project

Official AACTE Statement
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(February 16, 2012, Washington, D.C.) - The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) commends the Administration for its focus on preparing a more effective, appropriately compensated education workforce. In his town hall meeting to announce the Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence, and Collaborative Teaching (RESPECT) Project, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan cited results from a 2006 survey that found 62 percent of teachers did not feel adequately prepared to enter a classroom.

This is certainly not an acceptable number, but the good news is that number has been on the rise over the years. A recent study from Public Agenda and the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality, a group funded by the Department of Education, found that 80 percent of first-year teachers felt either very or somewhat prepared for the classroom ("Lessons Learned," Issue 3, 2008). I believe we should work to get that number even higher, and that can be achieved through collaboration with the Administration and adequate support of the reforms that are working in schools of education.

Many university based teacher preparation programs are, in fact, moving in the direction the Administration is seeking. There are several concerted efforts happening around selectivity and recruitment of students from the top of the talent pool. More than 60,000 teacher candidates have received TEACH grants, which means those students scored in the top-25th percentile on their college entry exams and hold at least a 3.25 GPA. The CU Teach program at the University of Colorado at Boulder is recruiting premier students into STEM teaching fields. CU Teach graduates are among some of the highest-performing math and science students at CU, with an average GPA of 3.22.

In addition, teacher preparation programs are actively engaged with school districts to ensure that the universities are aware and responsive to their local schools' workforce needs. This includes many partnerships, such as those under the Teacher Quality Partnership grants, where teacher candidates are working in diverse classroom settings and learning first-hand about culturally responsive pedagogy and classroom management, all under the mentorship of a master teacher. Further, nearly 200 institutions are participating in the design of a performance assessment for new teachers that will measure beginning teachers' ability to impact student learning before they are credentialed and enter a classroom.

We are ready for President Obama and Secretary Duncan to recognize these contributions to the agendas called for in the RESPECT Project and other recent announcements. Funding should support university-school district partnerships around workforce development; valid, reliable measures of productivity at the state level such as the Teacher Performance Assessment; results-generating recruitment programs at institutions; and other similar efforts that are vital to the Administration achieving its goal to advance the teaching profession.


AACTE: Serving Learners
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 fuel its mission of serving learners by providing all school personnel with superior training and continuing education.