-by Claire Miller
Representatives from Georgia State University’s College of Education traveled to the nation’s capitol in June to talk with congressional leaders about the COE and the future of education.
The COE representatives attended the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education’s annual Day on the Hill June 16-17, a two-day event in Washington, D.C. that allows educators from around the country to provide recommendations to policy makers on current legislation and showcase what their colleges do to prepare future teachers.
“If officials are to have an accurate understanding of the impact of colleges of education, they need to have firsthand information from those of us who are working in their districts and who are shaping the work of teacher education in the field,” said Joyce Many, COE executive associate dean of academic programs.
Many attended Day on the Hill with Gwen Benson, COE associate dean of school and community partnerships; Terry Fisher, COE clinical assistant professor; Carolyn Hall, COE alumnus and principal of L.O. Kimberly Elementary School; and Yasaman Dehnavi, a recent COE graduate.
“Taking an expanded team to Washington, including a principal and a recent graduate, provides an opportunity to share real-life stories about our impact on children and families in the communities they represent,” Benson said. “They can also hear from our graduates about their career concerns in this time of budget cuts and teacher layoffs.”
On the first day, the Georgia State delegation met representatives from other colleges and universities from around the country and with several congressional leaders. On the second day, the delegation met with U.S. Reps. David Scott, Phil Gingrey and Hank Johnson, as well as assistants to U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss and U.S. Reps. John Linder and John Lewis.
“I was nervous at first to speak with officials in Washington; however, when I started speaking about topics I’m passionate about, I became very comfortable,” Dehnavi said.
Dehnavi and the other COE representatives touched on a number of education topics, from teacher turnover rates to support for partnerships between universities and local school systems.
“I hope the officials understand how important it is to continue to recruit teachers and to keep teachers in their professions,” Dehnavi said. “Students are going to be at loss if we keep letting go of valuable teachers and raising class sizes.”
For more information on the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, visit www.aacte.org.