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1 - Preparation for Inclusive Education in the Era of High-Stakes Teacher Education Accountability: Mapping the Territory for New Directions in Theory and Practice

Mon, April 20, 2:15 to 3:45pm, Hyatt, Floor: West Tower - Gold Level, Regency AB

Session Type: Invited Speaker Session

Abstract

The politics of teacher education policy in the United States particularly within the last decade have intensified existing controversies within the teacher education landscape. In particular, discourses of neoliberalism and the discourse of outcomes (Cochran-Smith, Piazza & Power, 2013) have come to inform current debates on accountability of teacher education programs. These debates are beginning to impact teacher education for diverse student populations as research increasingly documents the difficulty of preparing teachers to successfully preserve socially just, learner-centered approaches in the midst of mandated practices and scripted lessons (Anderson & Stillman, 2010). The institutional boundaries of general and special education further complicate the effective preparation of teachers to serve students from differing sociocultural backgrounds and with diverse learning profiles (Pugach & Blanton, 2012; Rueda & Stillman, 2012).
In a climate where federal officers are considering rating the effectiveness of teacher education for the purposes of funding by tracing back student achievement to their teachers’ preparation programs and where adoption of teacher performance assessments like the edTPA increases the onus on teacher education programs to adapt significantly to ensure the success of their pre-service students, how should teacher educators for inclusive education respond? What implications does this changing landscape have for disability studies in education (DSE) scholarship? What innovations does it require in the realm of theory, practice and programmatic structure? The purpose of this symposium session is to frame the work of inclusive education researchers in the current teacher education accountability context and derive implications for a DSE-informed teacher education research agenda.
This symposium addresses the significance of the current teacher education accountability context for the preparation of teachers to work with students from historically marginalized groups, including students with disabilities. Situated within the institutional contexts of general and special education, research on teacher education for inclusive schooling discloses conceptual gaps and assumptions that necessitate new directions for theoretical and pragmatic commitments within a disability studies-informed teacher education agenda. Individual papers in this session will map out the teacher education accountability context, analyze the assumptions underlying current teacher education discourses, re-consider the foundational concepts for inclusive education preparation, and identify conceptual resources that can support the work of teacher educators.

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