Dear Chairman Guthrie and Ranking Member Davis:
We, the undersigned, are writing as chief executive officers of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO), the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), the Asian Pacific Islander Association of Colleges and Universities (APIACU), and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), in support of H.J. Res 58, intended to block implementation of the Teacher Preparation Regulations finalized by the U.S. Department of Education in October 2016. Working collaboratively for nearly two decades as The Alliance for Equity in Higher Education (AIHEC), our associations represent more than six hundred American colleges and universities, in forty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, and countries worldwide.
Our member institutions are educating disproportionate percentages of the growing populations of the states and the United States. Our member institutions include Kentucky State University and Simmons College in Kentucky, and Grossmont College, San Diego State University, and Southwestern College in California. California’s MSIs educate 90% of the state’s students of color. California has 133 MSIs, including 61 Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), 27 Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs). Three institutions are both HSIs and Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs), and one institution is both an AANAPISI and a PBI. Our schools of education are graduating the lion’s share of diverse teachers that are serving in areas of highest need and lowest socio-economic strata.
In the midst of a serious teacher shortage, and a significant decline in enrollment in teacher preparation programs, the final teacher prep regulations constitute a flawed and unworkable structure, would prove significantly costly and burdensome to those charged with implementing them, would decrease the likelihood of every student having access to a fully prepared and profession-ready teacher, and would not move the nation closer to having the excellent, diverse teacher corps required to meet the needs of the nation and most especially the growing majority diverse populations and service areas of the nation.
The final regulations admirably reflect an understanding that excellent teacher education programs must graduate and add to the teacher force, education professionals who are diverse in race, ethnicity, and socio-economic strata, and competent in pedagogical and content understanding. The regulations also indicate an understanding of the value of all teaching professionals exemplifying the ability to impart information in ways that reach and inspire to learn the increasingly diverse students of this nation. The regulations exhibit an appreciation for the fact that teacher education programs and placement in the states must move the states toward closing the achievement and attainment gaps. The approach and methodology for assessing quality teachers do not, however, include assessment measures that would gauge these attributes of effective teachers.
The regulations fail to include: a criterion for assessing the effectiveness of the teacher education programs in increasing the diversity of their graduates; measures of the success rates in placing and maintaining graduates in high-need schools; any of the generally accepted criteria for measuring the extent to which the teachers graduated would increase the pool of excellent teachers from the growing majority populations of the nation–persons who are low-income, first-generation, and/or students of color; and any measurement for the success of the schools of education in placing African American males, Latinos, and other underrepresented teachers of color in the classroom–national priorities of the highest order. All of these low-cost, highly predictive measures of program and graduate effectiveness included in stakeholder comments to the Department would move the nation and the states toward increasing education excellence, access and success, and toward closing the achievement and attainment gaps–goals that we all share.
In supporting H.J. Res 58, setting aside the current teacher preparation regulations, The Alliance for Equity in Higher Education, welcomes and looks forward to working with you and other members of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development in advancing our shared goal of increasing the numbers of excellent, diverse, profession-ready teachers in the American Teacher Corps.
Lezli Baskerville, Esquire
President & CEO
The National Association of Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO)
Chair, The Alliance for Equity in Higher Education
1800 K Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 2006
Carrie Billy, Esquire
President & CEO
American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC)
121 Oronoco Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Dr. Antonio Flores
President & CEO
Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU)
8415 Datapoint Dr.
San Antonio, TX 78229
Honorable Ruby G. Moy
President & CEO
Asian Pacific Islander Association of Colleges & Universities (APIACU)