Federal Reporter's Notebook

AACTE Warned of Efforts to Harm Public Education

By Vaishali Honawar — March 06, 2007 | Corrected: February 22, 2019 3 min read

Corrected: The original version of this article contained a misinterpreted word in a quote by Jack Jennings, the president of the Center on Education Policy, in reference to the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act.

Diane Ravitch, no friend of the current state of teacher education, got a standing ovation from an unlikely crowd last week: a roomful of deans and directors gathered here for the annual conference of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

In a speech titled “The Future of Teacher Education in a Hostile Environment,” the New York University professor and noted education historian spoke about what she sees as attempts to cast aside public education.

“Today, we face a situation that can be described as a crisis,” Ms. Ravitch told many of the 2,600 conferees. “People in the past did not say public education needs to be dismantled, but today, there are critics who feel the public education system is obsolete.”

The “crisis talk,” she added, is “used as a rationale to destroy confidence” and to further the argument for privatizing schools.

Ms. Ravitch, a former assistant U.S. secretary of education under President George H.W. Bush, called on her audience to make their voices heard collectively on the No Child Left Behind Act, which is due for reauthorization this year, and to prepare high-quality educators.

Your challenge is to prepare teachers who are superb practitioners, that schools boast about hiring them. You have to build a reputation that says our graduates are number one,” she said.

After the speech, Ms. Ravitch, who took questions from the audience, joked: “If someone told me that I’d get a standing ovation at AACTE, I’d have said you’re nuts!”

Ms. Ravitch is the co-author of an education blog that Education Week’s online counterpart, edweek.org, began hosting last week.

Jack Jennings, the president of the Center on Education Policy, a Washington-based research and policy group, told the deans during a session on the NCLB law that the reauthorization will not be quiet.

“It is going to be a brawl, at times,” said Mr. Jennings, noting that organizations that were excluded the last time, such as the teachers’ unions, will ask for a voice this time around.

“It will be quite a thing to watch,” predicted the former longtime education aide to House Democrats.

AACTE is lobbying for its own changes in the law, including the definition of a “highly qualified” teacher, which, the organization’s officials say, does not require that teachers actually be able to teach. In the future, the association wants the definition to be reserved for those who know their content and are able to teach it effectively.

The organization also wants the law to support the development of student-data systems that will help determine the effectiveness of teachers graduating from preparation programs, and to address the inequities in the distribution of teachers, among other requirements.

Henry L. Johnson, until recently the U.S. Department of Education’s assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, predicted major changes in the reauthorization, including a greater emphasis on high schools, more funding for high schools with large numbers of lower-income students, and an increased effort to close student-achievement gaps.

Said Mr. Johnson: “There is also going to be a tremendous discussion about [school] choice.”

At the gathering, the teacher-college association discussed an innovative idea for its members to consider in helping schools fight teacher shortages: training prospective teachers abroad and importing them to U.S. colleges, where they can receive their credentials to become fully certified in local schools.

At a session on establishing a collaborative teacher education program between India and the United States, Om Pathak, who helped set up several public schools in India, said his country has the world’s largest English-speaking population, and a large number of postgraduates, especially in the fields of mathematics and science, who are trainable and deployable as teachers. Besides, he added, teacher-preparation costs are significantly lower in India than they are in the United States.

He said India now has 900 teacher-training institutions, but that country has severe teacher shortages.

While details of the plan have not been worked out, Mr. Pathak said, the training facility in India would set up Praxis preparation and testing for teacher certification. Praxis is a teaching exam required in some states for certification.

Mwangaza Michael-Bandele, a senior director at AACTE who moderated the discussion, said association leaders are “excited about the collaboration” and are working on how best to make it happen.

A version of this article appeared in the March 07, 2007 edition of Education Week

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Making Digital Literacy a Priority: An Administrator’s Perspective
Join us as we delve into the efforts of our panelists and their initiatives to make digital skills a “must have” for their district. We’ll discuss with district leadership how they have kept digital literacy
Content provided by Learning.com
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
How Schools Can Implement Safe In-Person Learning
In order for in-person schooling to resume, it will be necessary to instill a sense of confidence that it is safe to return. BD is hosting a virtual panel discussing the benefits of asymptomatic screening
Content provided by BD
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
How Districts Are Centering Relationships and Systemic SEL for Back to School 21-22
As educators and leaders consider how SEL fits into their reopening and back-to-school plans, it must go beyond an SEL curriculum. SEL is part of who we are as educators and students, as well as
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal CDC: Nearly 80 Percent of K-12, Child-Care Workers Have Had at Least One COVID-19 Shot
About four out of five teachers, school staffers, and child-care workers had first COVID-19 vaccine doses by the end of March, CDC says.
2 min read
John Battle High School teacher Jennifer Daniel receives her COVID-19 vaccine on Jan. 11, 2021. Teachers received their first vaccine during an all-day event at the Virginia Highlands Higher Education Center in Abingdon, Va.
John Battle High School teacher Jennifer Daniel receives her COVID-19 vaccine on Jan. 11at the Virginia Highlands Higher Education Center in Abingdon, Va.
David Crigger/Bristol Herald Courier via AP
Federal Ed. Dept. to Review Title IX Rules on Sexual Assault, Gender Equity, LGBTQ Rights
The review could reopen a Trump-era debate on sexual assault in schools, and it could spark legal discord over transgender student rights.
4 min read
Symbols of gender.
iStock/Getty
Federal Q&A EdWeek Q&A: Miguel Cardona Talks Summer Learning, Mental Health, and State Tests
In an interview after a school reopening summit, the education secretary also addressed teachers' union concerns about CDC guidance.
10 min read
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona speaks during a press briefing at the White House on March 17, 2021.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona speaks during a press briefing at the White House on March 17.
Andrew Harnik/AP
Federal Senators Press Deputy Education Secretary Nominee on School Closures, Lost Learning Time
If confirmed, San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten would be the Education Department's number two as it urges in-person learning.
5 min read
San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten speaks at Lincoln High School in San Diego during the State of the District Address on Oct. 20, 2015.
San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten would be second in command at the U.S. Department of Education if confirmed as deputy secretary.
Misael Virgen/San Diego Union-Tribune