Education Majors School Lawmakers on the Importance of Federal Aid for Teachers
Aiken, SC (06/21/2019) — Students and faculty from the University of South Carolina Aiken headed to Washington to meet with legislators and learn about trends in education policy from leaders in the field, all as part of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education's annual Washington Week.
"The primary goal of the trip was to collaborate with the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and engage with staffs of the South Carolina representatives and senators," said Tiffany Zorn, a USC Aiken education major.
"This experience permitted us to expound upon particular bills that aid with teacher preparation as well as [champion] the necessity to continue funding the Teach Grant and reevaluate the data gathered within the teaching profession. Without voices to be advocates, our teachers' stories would never be heard, and no progress would ever truly be made".
The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, or AACTE, is considered "the leading voice on educator preparation," according to its website, which also states that AACTE represents more than 800 postsecondary institutions with educator preparation programs, like USC Aiken.
"The USC Aiken School of Education is an honored member of this organization. I was extremely pleased with the way our teacher candidates articulated their priorities and engaged with our legislators," said Dr. Judy Beck, dean of the USC Aiken School of Education.
AACTE sponsors Washington Week every June. During the trip, Zorn and fellow education major Kelsey Spurlin met with Rep. Joe Wilson, R-SC, and staffers from six other representatives and the two senators from the state, allowing the Pacers the opportunity to learn more about the nation's political system. The experience also taught them how to better advocate for teacher preparation.
"It is imperative that educator preparation programs have a voice at the table when decisions that directly influence our teacher candidates are made. This is why it is so important to take part in advocacy opportunities like Washington Week with the American Associations of Colleges for Teacher Education," said Beck.