Plan to bring teacher education candidates as members of your program’s delegation. More details will follow.
The conference will begin October 30, @1:00 p.m. with Dr. Brad Buck, Director of the Iowa Department of Education speaking. Following Dr. Buck, Dr. Andrea Whittaker from the Stanford Center for Assessment Leadership and Equity (SCALE) will be speaking on and responding to questions about edTPA. The IACTE Advocacy Groups will also meet Thursday afternoon. Friday morning Tammy Wawro, ISEA president, will focus on teacher leadership and partnerships. Friday afternoon will include reporting from the Iowa Department of Education.
IACTE 2014 Pre-Conference – edTPA Local Evaluation Workshop
On August 1, 2014, Drake University hosted the first ever – Greater Des Moines Area Teacher Education Field Placement Collaboration meeting. Thirty-five professionals from the greater Des Moines area attended, including IHE faculty, LEA administrators and human resource representatives. Catherine Gillespie shared that the meeting was very productive and provided the attached summary notes from the meeting.
The Iowa Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (IACTE) participated in the 2014 American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) Day on the Hill. The Iowa delegation included the following individuals: Nadene Davidson, IACTE president; Christy Wolfe, IACTE legislative chairperson; Thomas Carpenter, Saint Ambrose; Dwight Watson, UNI; and current educator preparation students, William Battistone, Drake; and Erik Johnson and Celeste Raya both from Saint Ambrose.
We had the opportunity to meet directly with Representative Loebsack and Senator Grassley, as well as education staffers from the HELP Committee, which Senator Harkin co-chairs, and from Representative Braley’s and Latham’s offices.
The main talking points that were shared are as follows:
•the 32 Iowa teacher preparation programs are preparing effective educators,
•these programs engage in a continuous improvement cycle under the direction of the Iowa Department of Education,
•the ongoing need to support the needs of rural education (as all schools/programs in Iowa are basically “rural” from a national perspective), and
•Iowa TE programs require a minimum of 14 weeks of student teaching and additional increasingly rigorous field experiences.
The attached document and contact information for each of the 32 Iowa programs were shared with each of the Iowa legislative offices.
I think most of us would like to see national accreditation an option in Iowa. Good to see that Charles Edwards, a member of our Iowa Board of Education, also agrees in his Des Moines Register op-ed. His essay was published on Saturday, 28 June.
A recent op-ed by Jonathan Wilson in the Des Moines Register called for the “Big Four” (Drake, ISU, U of Iowa, and UNI) to seek national accreditation. The respective deans,
Iowa colleges and universities that prepare teachers have been responding to demands for accountability for many years. The state of Iowa requires accreditation of all programs including annual reports and accreditation reviews on a 5 to 7 year cycle. Requirements include adherence to national and state standards of teaching performance. Programs must demonstrate that their graduates can teach. In addition, all programs have assessment systems designed to provide program improvement data as well as candidate proficiency. Accreditation reviews involve careful documentation that the program meets or exceeds standards and includes a three to five day site visit by a team of 8 to 10 trained reviewers. Detailed results of accreditation reviews and annual reports are a matter of public record. Standards and procedures are also reviewed for improvement. It has been a good system and has served Iowa well. All programs are required to meet published standards.
On June 17, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) published the 2014 Teacher Prep Review. The report purports to assess the quality of teacher preparation among the traditional college and university programs by ranking them on the basis of several nebulous criteria. This year, NCTQ promised and delivers national rankings of programs.
In a society seemingly dedicated to the concept of always being “Number one”, the ranks arouse interest as is the case with US News and World Report rankings of colleges and universities and hospitals. Newspapers invariably pick up the “story” and identify the high flyers, particularly if they are local institutions. Typically, there are a few paragraphs devoted to critics of such rankings but these reports endure. They are well-supported by magazine sales (in the case of US News) and by wealthy plutocrats and foundations (in the case of NCTQ).
Our national organization, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), has described the current NCTQ review as providing “unhelpful recommendations… based on questionable methodology. Most, if not all, would agree with a colleague who described NCTQ as “a non-accredited, self-appointed, antagonistic rater of traditional teacher training programs.”
NCTQ was funded in 2000 by the Thomas b. Fordham Foundation to promote alternative certification of teachers. Since then, the organization has been lavishly funded by the US Department of Education and a number of private foundations. NCTQ claims to advocate for “rigor” in teacher preparation but helped create a short-cut to certification by passing a test. Take their $2000 test and you can become a teacher in 11 states. (Thankfully, not Iowa.) Notably, NCTQ has advocated for alternative teacher prep programs but this year’s review included some alternative programs and called them “weak”. NCTQ also does not rate Teach for America (TFA) as a preparation program. TFA provides temp teachers for high-poverty districts in a preparation program of five and a half weeks. TFA is also funded by most of the same supporters as NCTQ.
The rating of over a thousand programs is accomplished primarily through the review of course syllabi. As some have described it, it’s like rating restaurants on the basis of their menu.
For additional background on this group, see a review of their last 2013 Review by the Think Tank Review site at the University of Colorado.
Another source is Mercedes Schneider, author of the just published A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who in the Implosion of American Public Education. Chapter 18 is devoted to NCTQ. Much of the material on the history and supporters of NCTQ are documented on her Ed blog.
The NCTQ report will get media attention. The basis for their ratings and rankings are not well-documented. The agenda does nothing to advance teacher quality but only serves the agenda of promoting alternative certification and privatization of teacher education.
While it is easy to poke holes in the reports and agenda of NCTQ, it would better serve us to bring out and expose the positive benefits of a genuine accreditation process. I know that we value the state accreditation process that is in place, but how might we use it to better inform the public as well as policy makers? It’s an opportunity to give a much better accounting of what we do. Are there possibilities? Love to know your ideas or reactions to the idea. Include them in comments below!
– Barry J. Wilson
New IACTE blog with Christy Wolfe. Check out her perspective on NCTM at Ed Prep Matters. Get in on the conversation!
There also a link to her blog on the “Links” tab on the menu above. We hope you will comment and share your perspectives and insights on the issues raised.
The Iowa CBE Collaborative included 100 school district personnel, 14 Area Education Agency personnel, and 16 institutions of higher education personnel. We have been working through 2013-14 to deepen our understanding of what it means to be competency-based. As you know the team includes three professors from the UNI: Rick Knivsland, Amy Petersen, and Nadene Davidson.
It is very important to us that we make connections from preschool to college and career. Two of our work teams are investigating transitions to higher education and what educators will need to know and be able to do to be successful in these environments.
The Collaborative was required by HF 215, which requires a five-year process toward demonstration sites and a statewide framework or toolkit for others making this transformation. However, we have made it a top priority to share the learning of the Collaborative in as many ways as possible so others do not have to wait to begin this work.
To that end, we have partnered with IA-ASCD to develop a CBE conference this summer. The conference will provide opportunities or professors and administrators of our institutions of higher education to connect to the process.
Please disseminate the attached invitation to anyone at your university who might be interested in learning more about competency-based education in Iowa. Please include the provost and administration office as well as colleges outside of educator prep.
Thank you for your help in this matter, and I hope you will consider joining us at the conference.
The 2014 Distinguished Service Award
The 2014 IACTE Distinguished Service Award recipient is Robin White of Grandview University. Dr. White has been department chair of education at Grandview. She has provided great leadership for the program at Grandview and has served IACTE as secretary for the Executive Board for a number of years. She also organized wonderful support for the IACTE Day at the Capital including lodging in Grandview dorms for students coming from afar as well as developing materials to share with legislators. Robin has also participated in the current Chapter 79 revision work being completed with the Iowa Department of Education. Robin has truly exemplified passion, practice, commitment, and caring in all aspects of her work as a teacher educator. We will miss her when she leaves the state to retire in West Virginia.