On Tuesday, January 23, 2018, Rachel Oppenheim, Director of the Antioch University Seattle (AUS) School of Education (SoE) and Carolanne Watness, Director of Field Experiences within the AUS SoE, participated in a “Day on the Hill” event along with other members of the Washington Association for Colleges of Teacher Education (WACTE). Oppenheim and Watness spent the day in Olympia meeting with legislators to advocate on behalf of public schools and teacher education. Their message to Washington lawmakers was clear: in order to help insure a robust and highly-qualified teacher workforce, the state must offer more support to both current and emerging educators. They argued that the state should lower the cost of becoming a teacher, through programs such as conditional scholarships and forgivable loans. They also argued that the state should maintain high standards for teacher education programs and should not create shortcuts that undermine quality teacher preparation in Washington.
Oppenheim and Watness met with Sen Takko, Rep Frame, and Rep Macri. Meeting face-to-face with Sen Takko was especially important for Watness, who lives part-time in his district. In her words, “He was knowledgeable about early learning funding, and very supportive of education funding. it was important to have this face-to-face conversation, and to introduce myself to him as a resource for upcoming issues that affect education.”
They also met with Sen Hasegawa, a proud graduate of Antioch University Seattle’s BA Program. Before sitting down to discuss teacher education, Sen Hasegawa showed off his Horace Mann and Distinguished Alumni Awards from Antioch, which are displayed prominently in his office and he affirmed our joint commitment to justice and equity. All of the lawmakers with whom Oppenheim and Watness met were receptive to their requests for support for Washington’s teachers and thanked them for their advocacy.
This WACTE Day on the Hill represented an important collaboration of the colleges of teacher education across Washington state. Altogether, WACTE members met with dozens of lawmakers and presented a clear, unified voice on behalf of eliminating barriers for teachers and maintaining high standards in teacher education