How to Set Up and Prepare for Your Meetings with Your Legislative Delegation 1. Plan to attend the FACTE meeting on March 18th. At this briefing, we will review talking points for your meetings and answer any questions you might have. 2. Try to schedule meetings with your Representatives on March 19th between 10:00a.m.-4:30p.m. Do be flexible. If you are offered a different time, try to take it. 3. Learn about your State Legislators Who are your State Senators? Who represents your district in the Florida House? What is their party affiliation? What are their Committee assignments? Determine the answers to these questions and determine how they affect your concerns. To determine who your Representative is, visit: http://www.myfloridahouse.gov To determine who your Senators are, visit: http://www.flsenate.gov 4. Prioritize Meetings We recommend setting up meetings with your legislative delegation. You may also want to meet with Representatives from neighboring districts, particularly if your institution serves residents of many congressional districts. If any members of your delegation serve on any of the following committees please MAKE THEM A PRIORITY: House: K-12, Post Secondary Education, Schools and Learning, Policy and Budget Committees Senate: Education Pre-K-12, Education Pre-K-12 Appropriations, Higher Education, Higher Education Appropriations Committees 5. Requesting a Meeting Before making a verbal request for a meeting, it is a good idea to make a formal request in writing by facsimile or e-mail. (A sample letter requesting a meeting is available.) Include a cover sheet with the request letter. 1 Florida Association of Colleges for Teacher Education 6. Meeting Request Follow-Up After submitting a meeting request, it is important to follow-up on that request with a phone call. Call the office of your Senator or Representative, identify yourself, where you are from, the university you are with and the organization you represent (FACTE). Ask the receptionist to direct your call to the scheduler. When you are connected, again identify yourself and your affiliation. If the scheduler is not available, leave a clear, concise message. An example of a conversation would be: “Hi, my name is <<X>>. I am the Dean of the college of education at <<university>>. I am following up on a scheduling request I sent earlier requesting to meet with Senator/Congressman <<X>> when I come to Tallahassee on March 19th. I would like to talk with him/her about the teacher preparation program at my institution and the initiatives we have underway to meet today’s demands for new teachers. I am also interested in XXXXX Is there a time the Senator/Representative (or the staffer handling education affairs) would be available to meet with me?” 7. Determine Meeting Logistics Tell the staffer if anyone will be attending the meeting with you. Establish a time and place to meet. Keep in mind most meetings are scheduled in 15-minute increments. Thank the staffer and tell him/her you are looking forward to meeting. 8. Realize Meeting May be With Staff Person Realize that you may be meeting with a staff person, not the legislator. The scheduler may tell you this when you first set up the meeting; don’t sound disappointed – staff are the ones really doing the work! 9. Have “Leave Behinds” Prepared Before you go into the meeting, it is important to prepare “leave behind” materials. These materials should provide a good overview of your teacher preparation programs, highlighting initiatives that you are especially proud of. This is an opportunity for you to inform your delegation how your program is meeting the demands of today’s PK-12 schools. If you receive state funds, be sure to describe the grants you have received and the impact they are having. Short, to-the-point materials are most effective, as Members and staff do not have enough time to read through long documents. Information that would likely be useful to legislative offices includes: 2 Florida Association of Colleges for Teacher Education • How many new teachers your programs prepare each year in shortage fields, such as math, science and special education. • What methods are you employing to gauge your candidates’ performance through K-12 student achievement? • How you partner with K-12 schools to ensure that new teachers have the “hands on” training they need to be effective in the classroom • How you partner with colleagues in schools of arts and sciences and/or engineering • How you prepare new teachers to work with diverse learners, including minority students and students with disabilities • How you prepare teachers for hard-to-staff schools, including urban and rural schools • How you work with schools to support new teachers through mentoring, induction and retention programs • How you utilize technology and distance education 10. After the Meeting: Follow Up Always follow up a meeting with a thank you note and any additional information you may have promised during the meeting. The best way to send information to Hill offices is via fax or email. 11. Good Luck and Have Fun! 3 Florida Association of Colleges for Teacher Education Tips for a Successful Legislator Meeting Purpose Be a resource. Educate staff and Members about how the state government is an important partner in preparing teachers and providing professional development opportunities, with an end result of high quality in student learning. Do’s 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Say thank you! Do your homework: know what committees the legislator sits on, etc. Respect their time: be on time, prepared and flexible Stay on message: be clear and concise Secure support for your issue: make it clear that you are asking for support for strong teacher quality provisions in legislation. Include a local story: provide facts, figures and anecdotes Build a relationship with staff: become a resource Leave information behind Follow up: send a thank you letter immediately after the meeting Don’ts 1. Be late 2. Show disappointment if your meeting turns out to be with a staff person instead of a Member 3. Assume staffers know all about the role of Colleges of Education and how state programs affect you and the students you serve 4. Get off message – it’s easy to “play the name game” or discuss the weather and lose valuable meeting time 5. Use threats 6. Forget to leave information behind 7. Forget to follow up or write a thank you letter Florida Association of Colleges for Teacher Education Educator Preparation: Myths and Facts Myth #1 Educator preparation in higher education is out of touch and hasn’t changed in 50 years. FACT Widespread reform is well underway in higher education-based educator preparation. Robust partnerships with high-need P-12 schools, yearlong apprenticeships with master teachers, and residency programs based on the medical model have become increasingly widespread. Close collaborations between colleges of education and the arts and sciences to recruit high-performing content majors—particularly in the STEM fields—into teaching are occurring more frequently, and alternate routes for career changers are becoming commonplace in higher education-based educator preparation programs. Further, numerous institutions and states are working in collaboration with AACTE to develop a valid and reliable Teacher Performance Assessment that will inform the public and employers as to a candidate’s readiness to be a teacher. Myth #2 Educator preparation programs in higher education are locked in the ivory tower with little to no understanding of the needs of P-12 students. FACT Higher education-based preparation programs provide teacher candidates with extensive hands-on experience with P-12 students. Strategies for reaching diverse learners, including English language learners and students with disabilities, are developed under the guidance of effective mentor teachers who interact with teacher candidates daily, on site in live classrooms. In fact, teaching is increasingly acknowledged as an academically taught, clinical-practice profession—such as clinical psychology and medicine—involving rigorous and extended clinical experiences for candidates. The average number of clinical preparation hours required in programs is 749, and in many cases it is much higher. Myth #3 Teachers have little to no knowledge about the content they are teaching. FACT Twenty-eight states require teacher candidates at the secondary level to major in a content area, such as math, chemistry, or English. Many preparation programs have this requirement even if their state does not. All teacher candidates must pass content exams before they complete their program and/or become certified to teach. In addition, 12 states require elementary teacher candidates to have a content degree, and 19 states require middle-level teacher candidates to have a content degree. The average GPA of teacher candidates in some preparation programs, such as that at the University of Colorado Denver, is higher than those of their colleagues in the content areas who are not in the preparation programs. Myth #4 Alternative providers prepare most minority teachers. FACT The vast majority of minority teachers are prepared in higher education, particularly in minority-serving institutions such as historically Black colleges and universities and Hispanic-serving institutions. Approximately 91% of all Latino teachers and almost 90% of African-American teachers are prepared through higher education preparation programs. Myth #5 Teachers do not require preparation. Credentials and experience don’t matter. Only content knowledge matters. FACT Knowing something and knowing how to teach it are not the same thing. Research shows that teachers who are fully prepared and fully certified are more effective than those who are not. Numerous rigorous research studies report positive effects on the achievement of students whose teachers were prepared at higher education-based educator preparation programs and were licensed by their state to teach. In fact, many studies have reported that well-prepared teachers are likely to stay longer in teaching than those from inadequate alternative preparation programs or those with no preparation. The fact that over 90% of all Teachers of the Year—from every state in the union—over the past 2 years received their initial preparation and/or subsequent professional degrees through universities illustrates their confidence in the value of higher education-based teacher preparation. Myth #6 There are few entry or exit requirements for teacher candidates. Anyone can get in, and everyone gets out. FACT Preparation programs utilize a range of entry criteria including GPAs, SAT/ACT scores, interviews, and success on basic skills tests. The quality of the teaching pool is rising as evidenced by increases in SAT scores earned by teacher candidates and by a significant increase in the number of top teacher candidates graduating from colleges. However, it is the in-program and end-of-program screenings that are most important, as they ensure that only the successful candidates are recommended as program completers. Particularly encouraging is the expanding interest and participation across the states—26 states and 180 institutions—in the new Teacher Performance Assessment (referenced in Myth #1). Candidates will be required to pass the TPA in order to become certified, thus ensuring their readiness for the classroom. Myth #7 Teacher preparation programs in higher education operate with no accountability and actively oppose accountability efforts. FACT Multiple accountability mechanisms are in place for preparation programs—such as state program approval, annual reporting on the quality of programs to the federal government, and voluntary professional accreditation. Most institutions have developed their own measures of program effectiveness, and as mentioned above, the profession is currently engaged in developing a nationally available, valid and reliable Teacher Performance Assessment to measure new teachers’ readiness. Additionally, preparation programs support the development of statewide longitudinal data systems that offer feedback to programs regarding the performance of the P-12 students taught by their graduates. Data from these state systems and from the TPA are useful to institutions for program improvement. Myth #8 Higher education offers only one route to becoming a teacher. Alternative routes are found outside of higher education. FACT The U.S. Department of Education reports that 92% of all teacher preparation is provided by institutions of higher education, but a wide range of programs offer many choices to teacher candidates. Over 52% of all alternate-route programs are based in higher education. Higher education has been a great innovator in developing alternate routes for career changers and older students. Myth #9 Value-added scores of teacher preparation programs’ graduates are the most appropriate and meaningful measure of preparation program effectiveness. FACT Value-added modeling (VAM) was created to measure teachers’ impact on student learning, not the effectiveness of their preparation programs. While many institutions do use VAM to help inform their programs, it is not appropriately used for high-stakes determinations, such as establishing eligibility for student financial aid. VAM has many limitations: It can only be used for teachers in certain grades and subjects, as it requires standardized tests scored on equal interval scales. Further, the results provide no insights into why a teacher received a particular VAM score, thus limiting the usefulness of VAM to help improve preparation programs. VAM also provides no insights into characteristics of the preparation program that prepared the teacher, and VAM scores of individual teachers have been shown to fluctuate dramatically from year to year, making them an unreliable gauge of preparation program quality. Myth #10 Graduates of teacher preparation programs do not know how to effectively use technology or assessment data with P-12 students. FACT Higher education-based teacher preparation has been at the forefront of articulating the integration of utilizing technology and understanding student data into both pedagogy and content. Programs utilize a wide range of technologies and strategies for analyzing student data in preparing candidates for the P-12 classroom. Increasingly, preparation programs develop teachers to be virtual teachers for online schools and programs. The sophisticated use of technology in some programs has enabled the development of avatars who serve as P-12 students, allowing candidates to hone their teaching skills before they enter a classroom with live students. The new Teacher Performance Assessment (referenced in Myth #1) requires candidates to demonstrate how they analyze and use student data to improve their instructional strategies. Additionally, in a survey conducted by ETS for AACTE of teacher candidates taking Praxis in 2009-2010 (N= 7000 teacher candidates), 71% reported that they were very well-prepared or well-prepared to use student achievement data to modify or differentiate instruction. June 2012 For more information, contact Mary Harrill-McClellan at [email protected] AACTE, 1307 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20005 Sources and Examples Myth #1 – Examples of widespread reform are the U.S. Department of Education’s Teacher Quality Partnership grantees, awardee abstracts for which are found at http://www2.ed.gov/programs/tqpartnership/2009awards.html and http://www2.ed.gov/programs/tqpartnership/2010awards.html. Additional examples are described in selected publications: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. (2010, November). Transforming teacher education through clinical practice: A national strategy to prepare effective teachers. Washington, DC: Author. http://www.ncate.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=zzeiB1OoqPk%3D&tabid=715; AACTE. (2009, June). Innovation and reform in teacher preparation. Washington, DC: Author. http://aacte.org/Downloads/Innovation%20and%20Reform%20in%20Teacher%20Preparation.pdf; AACTE. (2007, June). Preparing STEM teachers: The key to global competitiveness. Washington, DC: Author. http://aacte.org/pdf/Events/AACTE_STEM_Directory2007.pdf. The new Teacher Performance Assessment is described at http://aacte.org/Programs/Teacher-Performance-Assessment-Consortium-TPAC/teacher-performance-assessmentconsortium.html. Myth #2 – The emergence of teaching as an academically taught, clinical-practice profession is discussed in Alter, J., & Coggshall, J. G. (2009, March). Teaching as a clinical practice profession: Implications for teacher preparation and state policy [Issue brief]. New York Comprehensive Center and National Comprehensive Center on Teacher Quality. http://www.tqsource.org/publications/clinicalPractice.pdf. Data on hours required for clinical preparation are from U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education. (2011). Preparing and credentialing the nation’s teachers: The Secretary’s eighth report on teacher quality—Based on data provided for 2008, 2009 and 2010, p. 16. Washington, DC: Author. http://www.ed.gov/about/reports/annual/teachprep/2011-title2report.pdf Myth #3 – See U.S. Department of Education (2011), pp. 43-46. See also AACTE. (2012, Spring). Where we stand: Selectivity of educator preparation programs. Retrieved from http://aacte.org/pdf/Publications/Reports_Studies/Where%20We%20Stand%20%20Selectivity%20of%20Programs.pdf Myth #4 – See U.S. Department of Education (2011), p. 14. Myth #5 – See two relevant research summaries: AACTE. (2012, Spring). What we know: How teacher preparation affects student achievement. http://aacte.org/pdf/Publications/Reports_Studies/What%20We%20Know%20-%20Student%20Achievement.pdf; and AACTE. (2012, Spring). What we know: How teacher preparation affects teacher retention. http://aacte.org/pdf/Publications/Reports_Studies/What%20We%20Know%20-%20Teacher%20Retention.pdf Myth #6 – Educational Testing Service reports that the quality of the teaching pool has increased in recent years, with SAT-Math scores of teacher candidates having risen by an average of 17 points, and SAT-Verbal scores by 13 points. See Gitomer, D. H. (2007). Teacher quality in a changing policy landscape: Improvements in the teacher pool. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service. Further, the number of teachers with degrees from top colleges and universities has increased by 59% for females and 29% for males over the last two decades. See Ingersoll, R., & Merrill, L. (2010, May). Who’s teaching our children? Educational Leadership, 67(8), 14-20. Myth #7 – For example, AACTE is a member of the Data Quality Campaign (DQC), which encourages the use of state longitudinal data for improving teaching and learning. AACTE, DQC, and other organizations collaborated to create a template that institutions can use to work with their SEAs and others to build data systems that provide useful feedback to preparation programs. Myth #8 – See U.S. Department of Education (2011), pp. 11, 14. Myth #9 – See http://edpolicy.stanford.edu/blog/entry/573 for a useful statement, supported by AACTE, entitled “Evaluating Teacher Evaluation,” by Linda Darling-Hammond, Audery Amrein-Beardsley, Ed Haertel, and Jesse Rothstein, from the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education. Myth #10 – For example, see the Lockheed Martin/University of Central Florida Academy for Mathematics and Science program, which has developed the TeachLivE program that provides teacher candidates the opportunity to learn skills and develop their practice without placing real students at risk in the process. Virtual classrooms are developed using student avatars that mimic realworld scenarios and students.
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