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Strengthen the Educator Pipeline through Community College Teacher Education Programs

By: Executive Board President Dr. R. Lennon Audrain and Executive Director Julie Ferin

On behalf of the members of the National Association of Community College Teacher Education Programs (NACCTEP), we are thrilled to see the Biden-Harris Administration initiate cross-sector action to strengthen the teaching profession and find solutions to staffing shortages.

Of particular interest is the administration’s emphasis on resources to strengthen the educator pipeline through the expansion of of high-quality programs that prepare and support teachers. The administration believes that “students need qualified teachers who are prepared to teach them, and who reflect the diversity of our students” (“Fact Sheet,” para. 12). We at NACCTEP believe that, to accomplish this, it is important to acknowledge that over 1,000 community colleges across the United States who offer pathways that lead to associate degrees or certificates in education.

Community colleges make significant contributions to education degree attainment, particularly for a more diverse teacher candidate population. As the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education notes in their second national portrait of colleges of education:

  • community colleges serve as the point of entry to higher education for almost 40% of student who eventually major in education at 4-year institutions

  • Community college students majoring in education are more racially and ethnically diverse than their peers at 4-year institutions.

It is with this in mind that NACCTEP seeks to elevate the role of community colleges because they do, indeed, play a role in the administration’s call for high-quality programs and for increased teacher diversity.

For over 20 years, NACCTEP has advocated for the increased visibility of the role of community college teacher education programs in the attainment of education degrees. As we chart our course for the next 20 years, NACCTEP is dedicated to being the single most influential voice for community college teacher education programs across the nation. To accomplish this, we invite public, private, and non-profit partners to work with us to advocate, promote, and advance the over 1,000 community college teacher education programs which prepare high-quality teachers for our nation’s students and schools. Learn more about us at

About the authors

R. Lennon Audrain is the Executive Board President of the National Association of Community College Teacher Education Programs. He is a community college teacher education program graduate himself, current CTE Education Professions teacher in Mesa Public Schools, and a PhD candidate in educational policy and evaluation at Arizona State University.

Julie Ferin is the Executive Director of the National Association of Community College Teacher Education Programs. She began her studies at a community college, is a first generation college graduate and hold a Bachelors and Master’s degree. Her career in Education began as an elementary school teacher and she has worked at Maricopa Community College District in the Educator Preparation Program for the past 17 years.

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