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(May 29, 2013, Washington, D.C.) – The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) celebrates an advocacy victory through Sen. Jack Reed's (D-R.I.) and Rep. Mike Honda's (D-Calif.) reintroduction of "The Educator Preparation Reform Act" (S. 1062/H.R. 2172). The bill, originally introduced in September 2012, will improve the teacher quality in high-need schools by reforming and strengthening accountability for educator preparation programs and supporting partnerships to meet the needs of teachers and educational leaders.
"The Educator Preparation Reform Act represents a practical approach to real, systemic reform in the nation's education system," said Sharon P. Robinson, Ed.D., president and CEO of AACTE. "It invests in teacher and principal residency programs, puts forth a sensible, fair and state-based accountability system, and improves the TEACH grant program, which places some of the best and brightest teachers in high need fields in high need schools. I commend Senator Reed and Congressman Honda for their enduring commitment to ensuring that all students are served by fully prepared and effective educators."
The key provisions of "The Educator Preparation Reform Act" reflect many of the same priorities outlined in AACTE's policy recommendations for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and Title II of the Higher Education Act (HEA). The bill's provisions include:
- Improving the Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) Grant program by expanding the residency program to include principals who commit to serve at least three years in a high-need school, and supporting partnerships to prepare other educators needed by their local school districts, such as literacy specialists and school counselors;
- Strengthening accountability by: requiring all teacher preparation entities to submit report cards to the public on programs' quality and performance; collecting data on teacher candidates' clinical experiences; and improving current state requirements to report on and hold accountable low-performing preparation programs, among other requirements.
- Coordinating ESEA teacher quality initiatives with educator preparation programs by allowing states to use the 2.5 percent set aside under the Title II ESEA teacher quality state formula grant to, among other things: develop and implement a performance assessment of pre-service teacher candidates' classroom effectiveness; provide low performing programs with technical assistance; and develop a system for assessing the quality and effectiveness of professional development programs; and
- Reforming the TEACH Grant program in Title IV of HEA by limiting eligibility for grants to juniors, seniors, master's degree level and post-baccalaureate students and restricting eligibility for institutions designated to close by a state.
"America's economic future depends on the success of our public schools, and the success of our schools depends upon effective teachers and principals," said Sen. Reed. "I am proud to work with Congressman Honda to improve the chances for student success by building a truly collaborative system for educator preparation – one that creates a positive school environment, allowing educators to work together and connect higher education to early childhood and K-12 education. Passing the Educator Preparation Reform Act will help hardworking teachers, principals, and support staff work to spark innovation and prepare our students to meet the challenges of tomorrow."
"Communities, especially the underserved, must seek sustainable solutions to their unique challenges and problems," said Rep. Honda. "These bills empower high-needs school districts to cultivate high-quality teachers and principals. Part of the solution for creating robust schools is to find educators who will remain committed to their school community, who reflect the communities in which they teach, and who will make a long-term commitment to the profession of teaching. This legislation is a good example of investing our federal dollars wisely."
More than 25 national K-12 and higher education organizations have endorsed the bill, including members of the Higher Education Task Force on Teacher Preparation. For more information on AACTE's government relations and advocacy work, visit www.aacte.org.
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 fuels its mission of serving learners by providing all school personnel with superior training and continuing education.
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