For many AASCU institutions, educating the next generation of excellent teachers is at the heart of their mission. AASCU institutions continue to graduate over half of the bachelor’s degrees in education and recognize effective teacher preparation programs through the Christa McAuliffe Award. As Congress moves forward in reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and states contemplate changes to teacher preparation policy, AASCU believes that policymakers should continue to set high standards for programs training educators and school leaders and support higher education’s role in preparing teachers from underrepresented populations and for high-needs schools.
Preparation Reform Negotiated Rulemaking
In January of this
year the Department of Education began a process called negotiated rulemaking
for the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant,
more commonly known as the TEACH Grant. Negotiated rulemaking is a process that
provides for significant community input through representation on a negotiating
panel to create new or revised rules. AASCU was an active part of this most
recent process through inclusion of a nominated panel negotiator who provided
significant constructive input. The proposal that emerged during the negotiated
rulemaking process created concerns for AASCU and our higher education
association counterparts. Below are several documents created by the Higher
Education Task Force on Teacher reform that gives more background.
- The Facts--and Fictions--About Teachers Shortages - May 2005 (View PDF)
Public Policy Agenda
AASCU Public Policy Agenda Priorities Related to Teacher Education
Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)
- Support strong, meaningful partnerships between state and local education agencies and institutions of higher education to support teacher education; standards, curricula and assessment alignment; and accountability.
- Support the strengthening and funding of high-quality clinical experiences in all traditional teacher preparation programs and require that all federally funded alternative teacher preparation programs include high-quality clinical experiences. Clinical experiences are essential components in preparation programs, especially when preparing teacher candidates to teach diverse students in high-needs rural and urban schools.
- Secure a dedicated funding stream to support reform in university-based teacher preparation.
- Ensure that any federally funded grant program supporting reform in teacher preparation programs requires a meaningful and sustained partnership with a high-needs P-12 school district and a strong emphasis on clinical training.
- Support efforts to better align Title II of the Higher Education Act and Title II of the ESEA to strengthen recruitment; pre-service preparation; induction and mentoring; and in-service professional development of teachers, principals and other K-12 school leaders.
- Support a requirement that all teacher candidates complete and pass a performance assessment prior to becoming a licensed teacher. By passing the performance assessment, teacher candidates demonstrate that they are equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to effectively lead a classroom.
- Secure appropriations to assist states in meeting the updated teacher quality requirements set forth under the reauthorized ESEA.
- Oppose federal legislation that infringes on state authority in the regulation of teacher preparation programs. The certification and regulation of teacher education programs is most appropriately handled through the collaborative efforts of accreditors and appropriate statewide entities.
Accountability of Teacher Preparation Programs
- Provide federal funds for research and evaluation of teacher preparation programs—including improvement of state P-20 data systems—through the linkage of teachers with student outcomes in order to inform and improve program performance, productivity and impact on student learning. Ensure that preparation programs have access to the data by which they are being evaluated.
Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategies
- Provide federal funding to increase the number of educators from underrepresented and nontraditional teaching populations through various incentive structures, including centers of excellence based at institutions of higher education.
- Fully fund service-payback models, such as the TEACH Grant program, to recruit students who agree to teach in targeted school districts, especially schools that are difficult to staff or where salaries are often not comparable to those of more affluent school districts.
- Support loan forgiveness for teachers who work in high-need schools or teach in high-need subject areas.
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education
- Support continued incentives for partnerships among institutions and states to strengthen traditional and nontraditional pathways for qualified candidates to teach in STEM fields.
- Boost appropriations to support recruitment, training, placement and retention of STEM teachers in areas of greatest need and encourage federal incentives to improve their compensation.