AACTE Response Statement
For interviews, contact:
Lisa Johnson, AACTE
AACTE Endorses NCATE Blue Ribbon Panel Report on Clinical Preparation
(November 16, 2010, Washington, D.C.) -- The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) congratulates the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) Blue Ribbon Panel for producing a compelling call to reorient the educator preparation profession around the clinical experience. "Transforming Teacher Education Through Clinical Practice: A National Strategy to Prepare Effective Teachers" builds on existing research, including the experience of the Professional Development Schools movement and on models of teacher preparation built around the clinical experience, which AACTE has also endorsed and disseminated.
Download AACTE's publication: Reforming Teacher Preparation The Critical Clinical Component (Adobe PDF)
AACTE looks forward to working with NCATE under the name of the newly developed unified accrediting body, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), to produce accrediting standards that reflect the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Panel. As the vast majority of educator preparation programs are housed in universities and the majority of these programs are professionally accredited, the most effective way to achieve change in the profession will be through professional accreditation standards. CAEP is well-positioned to serve as the barometer of where the field is in terms of developing and managing integrated, effective, clinical programs and then developing the needed standards to move its programs toward meeting the recommendations set forth in the report.
AACTE strongly endorses the Panel’s 10 Design Principles for a Clinically-Based Profession and its recommendations for their enactment. The Principles outline the essential elements needed in every program, particularly: Strong and reciprocal relationships between institutions of higher education and the P-12 districts and schools they serve; careful selection and training of cooperating teachers and clinical faculty; and the integration of coursework and clinical practice. AACTE’s own recent policy briefs, on topics such as clinical preparation, are in complete alignment with these Principles and with the Blue Ribbon Panel report.
AACTE's recent policy briefs (Adobe PDF)
Learning to Practice: The Design of Clinical Experience in Teacher Preparation. Pam Grossman (Adobe PDF)
One of the report’s strengths is its description of how the infrastructure of higher education institutions will have to change in order to support a more practice-based professional preparation. Addressing topics of staffing, funding and curricular changes provides a level of specificity that will enable preparation programs to more readily adopt the recommendations. Like collegiate institutions, school districts with which they partner must also reorient themselves to meet the needs of a practice-based profession. School districts have an equal role and responsibility in ensuring that teacher candidates’ clinical experiences are meaningful. Therefore, recommendations and examples of how school districts could select and support cooperating teachers, and how school sites should be organized to serve as clinical settings for teacher candidates, must be developed to complement the recommendations for higher education from the Blue Ribbon Panel.
Another area that deserves further exploration is implications for state policy. Educator preparation policy, for the most part, is determined through state legislatures and state education agencies, and guidance to these decision-makers on appropriate state policies to support clinically-based teacher preparation programs is essential. AACTE will work with its state chapters and CAEP to develop recommendations to inform state policymakers in this area.
Schools, colleges and departments of education are more than ready to embrace the reorientation of educator preparation to a clinically-based profession. The recent Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) Program Grant competition is a sure indicator of this readiness. More than 200 partnerships of institutions and high-need districts and schools vied for the 40 grants awarded by this federal funding program, which aims to significantly strengthen the clinical component of preparation programs, and among other obligations, requires those programs to provide at least one-year of clinical practice. It also supports the development of teacher residency programs – one-year master’s degree-level initial certification programs based on the clinical, medical residency model. AACTE will be looking to these TQP grantees to serve as models for the evolution into clinical programs. Indeed the recent release of standards for the urban teacher residencies from the Urban Teacher Residency United organization further contributes to the development of standards for a clinical profession. In addition, the soon-to-be released new InTASC standards for teachers imply that new teachers bring with them extensive clinical experiences.
AACTE commends the NCATE Blue Ribbon Panel for putting forth this important report and thanks the AACTE members who served on the Panel for the expertise they offered in the development of the recommendations laid out in the report. AACTE looks forward to helping implement its recommendations, toward educator preparation as a fully clinically based profession and to higher education as a driving force toward that end.
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.