Teacher Education

100 Years of the Association of Teacher Educators [Podcast]

100 Years of the Association of Teacher Educators [Podcast]


The Association of Teacher Educators is celebrating 100 years! As educators across the country congregate to Atlantic City this week for the annual ATE Conference, I sat down with the President of ATE, Dr. Christie McIntyre, to discuss the legacy and future of the organization. This includes topics like micro-credentialing to policy initiatives. I know you’ll find this episode insightful, so let’s jump right into my conversation with Dr. Christie McIntyre. (00:00-0:30)

Dr. Christie McIntyre, welcome to The Teacher Education podcast. (0:31)

Dr. Christie McIntyre: Thank you. (0:35).

For our audience to get to know you a little bit better, can you tell us about yourself, how you got started into teacher preparation professionally? (00:36-00:41)

Dr. Christie McInytre: Sure. So my journey began in 1991 as a classroom teacher. I taught kindergarten and first grade for six years in Georgia but I knew when I was in my undergraduate program that I would go ahead and get my doctorate. I did not know I would end up in higher ed at the university. I really thought I would end up in curriculum and instruction, or as a coach at a school. So the fact that I have taken this path I credit to my advisors at Georgia State University, who were also into teacher education. And, at the time, the professor I worked for was the president of the Association of Teacher Educators for the year 2000, so 20 years ago she was president. And crazy enough, here I am coming into this role 20 years later. (00:42-1:39).

So there is a direct connection because now you’re serving as the president for ATE and it’s celebrating its centennial anniversary, I hear. What was your first experience or memory of the Association of Teacher Educators? (01:40-1:53)

Dr. Christie McInytre: It was 1998. I was Edie’s assistant, and so the things that stuck out to me most, at that time, was as an assistant getting to be a part of the board meetings, but also joining her in Washington DC to see her negotiate rulemaking with people that would be influencing legislation for education across the United States. That made a really powerful impact on me. Being in the room for that conversation, taking notes, seeing that the Association of Teacher Educators was engaged in wanting to influence policy, wanting to have a say or a voice at the table on behalf of teachers and educators. It meant that they were in the game and that their voice was respected. And so that was something that was very intriguing to me, and I wanted to also have a voice about what I believed was best in education and for teachers. (1:54-2:55)

Please come and join us. Be a part of the conversation, the discussions, and bring your expertise. We'd love to hear from new voices and new people. You'll immediately be embraced by the ATE family. —Dr. McIntyre, ATE President #ATE100 Share on X

Now, ATE is an old organization. Can you tell our audience a little bit about the Association for Teacher Educator’s mission and history? (02:56-3:03)

Dr. Christie McInytre: Our mission is to be advocates for teachers, for teacher educators especially. And our definition of teacher educators is broad. It’s not just those who are supervising student teachers, but anybody that is working in a capacity to coach, or to better support a classroom teacher or educators. So a principal is a teacher educator, a peer mentor in a school could be a teacher educator. (03:04-03:35)

Today’s Modern Association of Teacher Educators

For being over 100 years old, that’s a long time. And how do you feel like ATE had moved with the times, has modernized to address the problems that are happening right now in teacher education? (03:36-03:48)

Dr. Christie McInytre: So one of the ways that we stay active in making the organization meaningful for everyone is through our state units. We have 34 state units, in addition to the national unit. And at the state level that’s where education policy happens. So there are some policies that happen at the national level, but most of the education, the policy related to it occurs at the state level. (03:49-04:18)

So for what you’re describing, it sounds like the ATE is unique from other organizations and conferences because it is so involved in policy. Would you say that if someone is interested in influencing policy this is the organization that they should get involved with? (04:19-04:34)

Dr. Christie McInytre: I think, definitely. And we’re also currently organizing a group called The National Coalition of Educators. And so, at the table, we have leadership from The National Education Association, NEA. We have leadership from AACTE, the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education. We have leadership from our accrediting body CAEP, as well as the National Association for Professional Development Schools and KDP. So, we have community colleges represented, NACCTEP, that particular group, and the American Association for Employment in Education. So I’m sure I’m forgetting somebody, so please forgive me if I’ve forgotten them at this point. But it’s a wonderful group of people. And we come together at least every other month to discuss where we’re all at in relation to policies and/or initiatives in order to raise the profile of educators across the nation. (04:35-05:43)

Teacher Performance Assessments

And with your leadership role with the ATE, I’m sure you’ve seen the breadth and scope of teacher preparation. What are maybe one or two important themes or problems you’ve seen emerging over the past few years? (05:44-05:57)

Dr. Christie McInytre: There’s always this tension between providing quality qualified educators in the classroom, and yet meeting the demands of the teacher shortage. And so, we seem to always be in a phase of either increasing assessment tools, or tests, or whatnot to assess the effectiveness of teachers, as well as then decreasing those types of gateways in order to let people into the profession so that we can meet the teacher shortage. And so, I would love, at some point, for us to be able to come to an agreement and stabilize what is best, and how that should be.

Currently, we have a lot of states that are using a performance-based assessment model from Stanford University and that, on its premise is, is just a wonderful piece. As it stands, it is difficult when you start to put assessments into legislation because then it begins to taint the expectation, and the process a little bit. So as educators we believe that formative assessment is the best way to go. And that’s what the research shows, that the more feedback we give people during the process, then we grow and we learn. It’s not about that test at the end because that’s going to just do your short-term memory for the moment. And so, if we can move forward more performance-based assessments. But if we could reduce the high stakes nature of those performance-based assessments, and allow our teacher education programs to be the final judge of if that person is ready to go into the field to be a teacher, then that’s, to us, where the control belongs. It doesn’t belong at the state level necessarily as it does with the experts at the universities. (05:58-08:08)

Allow our teacher education programs to be the final judge of if that person is ready to go into the field to be a teacher. . . . It doesn't belong at the state level necessarily as it does with the experts at the universities —Dr.… Share on X

Micro-Credentialing in Teacher Preparation

I’d like you to imagine yourself 10 years in the future. What role do you think organizations like the ATE will play in teacher preparation? Will it be similar? Will it be different? (08:40-08:51)

Dr. Christie McInytre: There are some things shifting in education right now, and it’ll be interesting to see where we are in 10 years. With the influx of online universities and opportunities through online education, it’s changed the nature of a master’s degree for teachers. It’s changed the nature of a master’s degree for anybody just about. So as we move in that direction, one of the trends that I see is teachers, especially because of their long days, are looking for convenient access to that next level of education, whether it be a master’s degree or a PhD, they’re looking for convenience and affordability. So, the universities specifically are cognizant of some of this shifting trend. And I’m beginning to see that there’s a decrease in the number of hours required for a master’s potentially. (08:52-09:58)

But there’s also discussion, at least, in some of the states about, something called, micro-credentialing, and portable stackable units. I’m maybe getting into the weeds too much, I apologize if I am. But if you think about a traditional master’s degree, it’s 36 hours of credits at a university. If you’re looking at … and, typically, you can only transfer in so many units of credit into that university to get that master’s degree. What’s happening now, though, is people are recognizing that just getting 36 hours in one spot in one program may not be the avenue that people are seeking as much. And so, they’re looking for a more individualized approach. They’re looking for the ability in the portable stackable units means I’d like to get 12 hours of professional development, or micro-credentials in this particular area, improve my literacy skills in the classroom. (09:59-11:04)

There are some things shifting in education right now. There's a discussion in some of the states about something called, micro-credentialing, and portable stackable units. —Dr. McIntyre, ATE President #ATE100 Share on X

But then, I’d also like to get 12 hours in the future looking at assessment, and how I’m conducting an assessment, or creating an assessment, or evaluating assessments in my classroom. And so, the micro-credentialing or the stackable units would allow a teacher to take topics and credit hours, and then put those things together to make up what, eventually, could be a 30 to 36-hour master’s degree, traditionally. But it’s enabling them to stack on pieces potentially from different providers. (11:05-11:43)

So they’re kind of in charge of their own curriculum in a way? (11:44-11:47)

Dr. Christie McInytre: They are potentially, yes. And I think this is something in the next 10 years that we all need to be at the table discussing, and I think there are some advantages to this. I don’t think it’s something we should shy away from. We’re talking about it a lot in the National Coalition of Educators. Some of the groups, NEA and KTP are already providing some micro-credentials. We’ve asked them to help us provide some micro-credentials during our conferences. So it’s finding ways to give teachers credit for the professional development that they do, but we want to make it more than just a workshop. We want to make it sustained learning so that we know that it has an impact in their classrooms. (11:48-12:36)

And so that’s a little bit of the tension in that conversation right now. But I think in 10 years we’ll be on the other side of this. I think it’ll be exciting. Anytime you’re considering alternative, new out-of-the-box ways to approach education or something that’s been the same for 100 years, it’s exciting to look at what are the possibilities? How can we get creative? But, first of all, how can we meet the needs of the teachers and support them in their growth and development so that they can support student learning in the classroom? And that’s what we’re about, at the bottom line, is what are we doing to improve learning for those children in the classroom across the United States? And how are we supporting the teachers and their growth? (12:37-13:26)

The Magic Wand Question

Now, I’m going to ask you a question we ask of all of our guests and we get some interesting answers so I’m excited to hear what you’ll have to say. So the question is if you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about teacher education in the United States, what would it be? (13:27-13:43)

Dr. Christie McInytre: I would want to make teacher preparation and training free. I would want it to be . . . teachers don’t make enough to recoup their college costs. Teachers struggle to pay incoming to get a master’s degree because they can’t afford to pay off the loans afterward. That there’s not enough bump in their raise after they get a master’s degree to make a difference. And I’m trying to think if that would help the teacher shortage because that seems to be a perennial problem. But I guess having education, the teacher preparation opportunity to be accessible to everybody, as well as accountable to appropriate accreditation bodies because the accountability to an accreditation body ensures that quality element that we’ve been talking about this whole time. So I want to see the quality, but I also want to see accessibility. (13:44-14:55)

I want to see the quality, but I also want to see accessibility. —Dr. McIntyre, ATE President #ATE100 Share on X

Now, what’s really interesting is to hear your answer is most people want to ask this question, they usually don’t always have a seat at the table like you do. In making these types of changes. So what are you doing right now? What are you currently working on to make teacher preparation more accessible, more affordable, or have a pay raise? (14:56-15:16)

Dr. Christie McInytre: Well, our vice president, the second vice president that will be coming into this spot in just a few weeks, she spoke to the legislators in her state of South Carolina back in, I think it was, May to help influence legislation that would recognize some of these aspects. For myself, I had the opportunity to join AACTE at Washington week in May, and we were advocating for a policy that would do exactly what we’re talking about. It would provide grants for people who want to come into teacher preparation, come into education to be able to afford that because they would be receiving these grants. And so, it was to extend funding that had been in place before and to make it available and continued. And so that was successful. There were several of us, as organizations, that went in together, but going into Washington and talking to personally my Congressman, and my representatives, but I also had the chance to talk to other representatives in other states about the bill, and what we were hoping to see come out of it. And so, that was a very positive move. (15:17-16:43)

A Playbook for State Leaders

You mentioned, and again this is a theme, this grassroots state movement especially, you mentioned that you’re trying to get a portfolio of some sort for different members in their state so they can become that voice, that representative. If we have listeners that are interested that are like, “Yes, I want to get involved, I want to become that voice within my state,” where are some of the resources that they can find that? (16:44-17:11)

Dr. Christie McInytre: So our Council of Unit Presidents, which is the state president group, they’ve begun to put together a playbook that . . . I know it sounds odd, we haven’t come up with a final name for it yet. I share this tentatively because it hasn’t been approved everywhere yet. But the playbook is intended to be that. It’s intended to help support the states in understanding their role, and how they can access these resources, but give them resources as well. We will be rolling out the first phase of this state playbook for them, for those leaders at this conference. (17:12-17:57)

And I would say where it’s at right now, it’s probably going to take another year to have it in a finished product. So I would say just come to the conference, be a part of ATE, be a part of helping us to develop this at this point. That is one of the things that we’re doing is developing that state playbook. And I would think in a year we’ll have more resources available online, but they’re in development right now. So come and be a part of the conversation and help us put it together. (17:58-18:27)

Lightning Round

Now, at the end of the podcast, we like to do a lightning round with our guests. So I’m going to ask you a series of questions and you just need to respond with one-word or one-sentence answers. Are you ready? (18:28-18:39)

Dr. Christie McInytre: No, but go ahead. (18:40)

Your favorite movie? (18:43)

Dr. Christie McInytre: Right now, it would be Harriet. I really enjoyed the movie that’s just come out. I mean that one’s just kind of sitting on the edge right now, yeah. (18:45)

Your dream keynote speaker at ATE? (18:55)

Dr. Christie McInytre: Well, I have to say the speakers we have coming. We have Paul Gorski coming. We have Elena Aydarova, and Carl Cohn, so I would definitely say each of them is our favorite speaker. (18:58)

The session you’re most excited about for this year’s conference? (19:12)

Dr. Christie McInytre: Elena’s a newcomer, and she’s just beginning to get involved in this notion of how teacher educators can become more active in advocacy and policy. And so, it’s fun to think about hearing a newcomer with a fresh perspective on it to see what she has to share as well. So both of those I’m really looking forward to. (19:15-19:40)

And finally, the next destination on your travel bucket list? (19:41)

Dr. Christie McInytre: Well, it’s Atlantic City. That’s where we’re having our centennial annual conference for the Association of Teacher Educators. That’s my next place, Atlantic City. (19:46)

The Association of Teacher Educators Annual 2020 Meeting

Christie, can you tell our audience why they should consider attending ATE? (19:59)

Dr. Christie McInytre: Well, you will be a part of a momentous time in our history. This is an exceptional time to come to ATE, to learn about not just how we’ve been a part of policy research and practice in the past, for the last 100 years. How we’re engaged right now today in the present, and then be a part of projecting into the future, and what we can do to better support your work as a teacher educator going forward. So please come and join us, be a part of the conversation, the discussions, bring your expertise, we’d love to hear from new voices and new people, and get involved. You will not find a better place to be mentored as a teacher educator, and you will immediately be embraced by the ATE family. (20:06-20:54)

This is an exceptional time to come to ATE, to learn about not just how we've been a part of policy research and practice in the last 100 years. How we're engaged right now today in the present. —Dr. McIntyre, ATE President #ATE100 Share on X

And, again, how can they sign up to go to the conference? Where should they go? (20:55)

Dr. Christie McInytre: They should go to www.ate1.org. (21:00)

Perfect. Well, Dr. McIntyre, thank you so much for joining us on the Teacher Education podcast. It’s been really insightful to learn more about ATE and the work that it’s been doing, and the conference that’s coming up. Thank you so much for joining us. (21:04-21:16)

Dr. Christie McInytre: Thank you. (21:17)


That’s it for today. Don’t forget to subscribe. If you like what you heard, please rate and review this podcast to help others find us. The Teacher Education Podcast is brought to you by GoReact. This episode was hosted by me, Hillary Gamblin, and produced by Danielle Burt, Joseph Winter, and Jordan Harris. Chad Jardine is our executive producer. Guests on the podcast are expressing personal opinions for informational purposes only. They’re not acting as official representatives for their universities or organizations.