Dr. Kevin Zook, Dean of the School of Education, led a group of current and former teachers to Harrisburg on May 23 for Teacher Education Day, hosted by the Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Teacher Educators (PAC-TE). The event is a chance for higher education teachers to meet with elected state officials to form relationships and advocate for strong educator preparedness in Pennsylvania.
Teacher Education Day has grown to be one of the association's most popular and important events. According to Zook, education policy makers usually have no experience in the classroom. As members of PAC-TE, their goal is to provide perspective and expertise to help guide lawmakers to develop effective regulations and anticipate consequences of proposed regulations.
“The purpose of Teacher Education Day is to familiarize members of the General Assembly with the mission and work of PAC-TE and to discuss current issues of concern to Pennsylvania teacher educators,” Zook said. “Teacher education is highly regulated by the state legislature and Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). We created Teacher Education Day to help ensure that legislators and PDE officials know about our organization and our ability to provide input and counsel on various statutes and regulatory proposals that will affect us. We want to build positive, productive working relationships with lawmakers and PDE officials so we can work together effectively.”
Speakers at this year’s event included Representative James Roebuck from the House Education Committee and Representative Carolyn Comitta, who sponsored a resolution in the House designating May 23 as Teacher Education Day in Pennsylvania. Also present were Dr. Jim Scanlon, Superintendent of the West Chester Area School District; Mark Holman, Director of Human Resources for the School District of Lancaster; Ron Cowell from the Education Policy and Leadership Center; Dolores McCracken from the Pennsylvania State Education Association; and Christina Baumer, Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Zook, who was elected President of PAC-TE on June 1, 2016, acts as the official “face and voice” at various education meetings throughout the year. His duties include attending bi-monthly meetings of the State Board of Education in Harrisburg and meeting with officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Zook made Teacher Education Day a priority when he was named President-Elect, implementing the first one in 2016.
The Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Teacher Educators (PAC-TE) is a nonprofit professional association for those in Pennsylvania who are engaged in the preparation and development of professional educators. With 88 member institutions (including private, state-owned, and state-supported colleges and universities), 375 institutional representatives, and 164 individual members, PAC-TE is the largest professional organization of teacher educators in Pennsylvania and serves as the primary voice for professional educator preparation programs across the Commonwealth.