The Iowa Association of Colleges for Teacher Education seeks to continuously improve teacher preparation, the teaching profession, and student learning by supporting and applying scholarship and the collective wisdom of practice. We are committed to high-quality, evidence-based preparation of educators who are profession-ready when they complete our programs. We stand with educator preparation leaders from across the country who agree to the following state policy priorities affecting our work:
STRENGTHEN THE EDUCATOR PIPELINE
Some states are seeing dramatic decreases in the number of individuals interested in becoming teachers. Iowa has joined other states with the growing challenge of recruiting and retaining educators, especially in rural communities and specific disciplines. This shrinking pipeline exacerbates longstanding concerns about high teacher turnover, a lack of diversity in the educator workforce, and shortages in some geographic areas and fields. States can help to create a supply of well-prepared teachers in several ways.
- Leverage teacher educators’ willingness to work with state leaders to understand local needs, to develop strategies for recruiting and retaining teachers—including professionals from other fields—and to collaborate on implementing new ideas.
- Support programs that help identify and encourage high school students interested in teaching, particularly students from underrepresented backgrounds.
- Invest in research-based innovative models of clinical practice to better prepare new teachers who are more likely to persist in the profession.
- Support programs that prepare career changers to meet high standards for initial licensure.
- Create and support scholarships and loan-forgiveness programs—especially for educators who commit to work in high-need schools or teach in-demand subjects—to encourage more people to enter teaching.
- Address inadequate salary structures, professional development, leadership opportunities, and overall working conditions to make teaching a more attractive profession.
EDUCATORS AS PROFESSIONALS AND ADVOCATES
Teaching is the profession that makes every other profession possible. Well prepared teachers in Iowa’s classrooms provide the foundation of Iowa’s economic vitality. Iowa’s teachers are prepared in professional programs using evidenced-based practices. Educator preparation professionals often are underutilized when state education policies and rules are developed. States can address these problems in ways that elevate program quality and educator readiness while also strengthening the teaching profession.
- Require all teachers in Iowa’s classrooms to have completed an accredited, professional preparation program.
- Hold all programs and pathways that prepare teachers to consistently high standards, professional program reviews, and transparency expectations.
- Require all candidates who complete these programs and pathways to meet equally high expectations to enter the field.
- Consult teacher educators when policies regarding the teaching profession are being discussed, developed, and finalized.
- Include representatives of educator preparation programs in conversations related to implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act.
- Include teacher education program representatives on state boards, task forces, committees, and hearings.
IMPROVE DATA SYSTEMS
Educator preparation providers want to use program data to inform and improve the preparation of effective teachers. Iowa teacher preparation programs utilize multiple data points including: rigorous program checkpoints, extensive clinical experiences, graduate placements and retention in the field for continuous program improvement. Iowa’s teacher preparation programs are committed to work closely with schools, legislative bodies, and communities to meet their current needs for schools.
- Require data systems to be more accessible by educators and better integrated across agencies and jurisdictions.
- Require that all program reviews, teacher credentials, student learning outcomes, demographic data relative to equity and access are transparent and available to the public for informed decision making.
These policy statements were initiated by leadership from the 45 state chapters of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) representing more than 1,100 educator preparation programs. Learn more at http://aacte.org/state-chapters.
Iowa Association of Colleges for Teacher Education is an affiliate of AACTE.