State toughens regs for interns teaching English learners

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing will now require non-credentialed Teach For America teachers and other intern teachers to receive more training in how to teach English learners and to get weekly on-the-job mentoring and supervision.

The Commission’s unanimous vote last week followed two hours of public testimony and debate among commissioners over 14 separate recommendations aimed at improving the rigor and preparation of interns to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to teach the state’s 1.4 million English learners.

In 2010-11, the most recent data available, California granted 2,245 intern credentials out of 18,734 according to its annual report to the Legislature. Of those, about 700 are in Teach For America; the rest are in a variety of alternative credentialing programs through which they can start teaching and earning a salary after receiving a minimum of 120 hours of training.

Tara Kini with Public Advocates law firm says the new policies will improve educational opportunities for English learner students, but they need more specifics.  Source:  CTC.  (Click to enlarge).

Tara Kini with Public Advocates law firm says the new policies will improve educational opportunities for English learner students, but they need more specifics. Source: CTC. (Click to enlarge)

In traditional teacher preparation programs in California, college graduates attend a year-long postgraduate program at a college or university focused on teaching skills, classroom management and student teaching. They don’t get a paid teaching job until they’ve passed all the required exams and are credentialed by the CTC. Intern programs are considered an alternative route to teaching and are generally offered through school districts in partnership with colleges or through county offices of education. Part of their appeal is that students can start teaching after 120 hours of pre-service training and earn a salary while going to school. Courses are usually held after school.

Civil rights groups have long raised concerns about the readiness of interns to teach English learners, who are disproportionately poor and in special education. Under the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also known as No Child Left Behind, interns, who generally take classes toward earning their credentials in the evening while teaching during the day, are considered highly qualified teachers. However, in California, many of them have bare-bones training in teaching English learners.

Under the new regulations, interns, the Commission, school districts and intern programs will have to meet the following requirements:

  • Every intern program approved by the CTC must have a memorandum of understanding between the program administrators and the school district outlining the responsibilities of each, such as who provides supervision and support in the classroom;
  • Interns must receive 144 hours of support during the school year, with a minimum of two hours per week, in course planning, coaching within the classroom and problem solving;
  • Districts must also provide an additional 45 hours per year of support, mentoring and coaching specifically focused on teaching English learners from a mentor teacher who has an English learner authorization;
  • The Commission will establish minimum levels of content and expectations for what interns need to learn during their 120 hours of pre-service training, before they begin the formal intern program;
  • Districts will have to submit biennial reports to the CTC containing the number of interns they have and what type of supervision and support they’re receiving.

Teri Clark, director of the CTC’s professional services division said during the meeting that the new requirements are just the basic standards. “A program may always do more than what the Commission sets. The Commission’s requirements are minimum standards,” said Clark.

Thursday’s action was surprisingly quick, coming one month after commissioners asked staff for a detailed plan and just weeks after a stakeholders’ meeting to review that proposal and work through their differences.

The result was a consensus that members of the stakeholders group themselves referred to as something of a Kumbaya moment.

“This is really like lions lying down with lambs,” joked David Simmons, with the Ventura County Office of Education, as he and representatives of the state teachers union, school boards association, administrators and county superintendents presented joint testimony before the Commission.

“Our view of things is that you have done a great job,” Bill Lucia, president of EdVoice, told the CTC. “There’s still a lot of work to do; I think you’re absolutely on the right track.”

Bill Lucia, president of EdVoice, said the CTC did a "great job".  (Source:  CTC meeting).  Click to enlarge.

Bill Lucia, president of EdVoice, said the CTC did a “great job.” Source: CTC meeting. (Click to enlarge)

Advocacy and civil rights groups, the teachers union and administrator organizations are generally on the same page about what additional work needs to be done. Their concerns and outstanding questions center on two main issues – the level of proficiency that interns will have to meet to teach English learners, and how to squeeze more instruction into an already packed 120 hours of pre-service training.

The recommendations are not specific enough about what interns need to learn and be able to do, testified Tara Kini, a staff attorney with Public Advocates. “Is it just that the programs must expose them to those standards, do they have to meet some level of proficiency or is it the same mastery level that someone completes at their preliminary preparation program? We think it should be some level of proficiency because they’re earning an English learner authorization that authorizes them to teach English learners on day one,” said Kini.

But Los Angeles Unified School District has a very different worry about intern teachers: They come, they get trained, they move on to schools in better neighborhoods or high-paying districts, leaving students with one intern after another.

“Those students unfortunately are experiencing a churning year after year of interns,” Janet Davis, director of a Los Angeles Unified School District committee that provides access to professional development classes, told the Commission. “We had a strand of kids who actually had an entire elementary experience with only intern teachers. And those students suffered.”




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27 Responses to “State toughens regs for interns teaching English learners”

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  1. Mark on May 15, 2013 at 3:31 pm05/15/2013 3:31 pm

    • 000

    Why would anyone want to teach English in this state? unless you are one of the precious “STEM” people, you can count on low pay, no job security, a weak union, etc. Amazing how the geniuses leading our state educational system will gladly pay fair wages to math and science teachers, yet can’t extend this “generosity” to those of us teaching English to non-native speakers. Are they trying to say that there is no demand for English teaching? do they think that it is a good idea that students can solve math problems, but cannot write effectively?

  2. Paul on Apr 24, 2013 at 6:00 pm04/24/2013 6:00 pm

    • 000

    Tara, surely you know the difference between law and regulation. Your answer quotes federal regulations, which did indeed conjure up a “demonstrates satisfactory progress” exception not originally present in statute.

    I was quoting from federal law, which does say “OR passed the State teacher licensing examination, and holds a license to teach in such State…”

    “Renee II” was based on overbroad regulations, yes, and federal legislation had resolved the issue by the time of “Renee III” (at least temporarily — though what more could Congress have done given the ESEA renewal impasse and the looming presidential election?).

    But let us not forget “Renee I”: “The problem here is that because the meaning of full certification is a matter of state law, California could still determine, as it has already, that teachers participating in alternative routes to certification were ‘highly qualified’ even
    if the federal regulation was declared void.”

    And let us not forget the OR in “OR passed the State teacher licensing examination, and holds a license…” — an opening never considered (to my knowledge) in Renee v. Duncan.

    See above for my comments about parents’ need to know. Knowledge and understanding are two different matters. Many of the participants in our present discussion — system insiders, all of us — are still coming to understand that interns have already demonstrated subject matter competence. The third and fourth paragraphs of the article imply that interns have not yet passed their exams! If such basic issues are misunderstood, by knowledgeable people, no less, then what would parents be expected to conclude? That intern necessarily implies bad teacher.

    Knowledge and action are also two different matters. The logical result of finding out that your child’s teacher is a lowly intern is pressuring the school board to dismiss the teacher, or pressuring the school to switch your child to a different class. The first action is incompatible with professional specialization (which recognizes that principals/district administrators possess the knowledge needed to make hiring decisions) and the second action is incompatible with equality (why your child, if not mine too?). Researchers have never been able to demonstrate that intern teachers are inferior to regular teachers! There’s scant evidence that any sort of credential makes a difference.

    Your organization argued in court that interns harm students. The necessary impact of the positions your organization advocated with respect to interns would have been greater reliance on the less well-qualified teachers that you and I have mentioned (STSP holders, substitutes, etc.). It’s hard to tell, from these confusing positions, what yours and your organization’s true goals are.

  3. Paul on Apr 24, 2013 at 4:49 pm04/24/2013 4:49 pm

    • 000

    Navigio, I like the notion of transparency but worry how parents would use the information, if they were legally entitled to see a teacher’s complete educational and employment history. I agree that credentials and “highly-qualified” status are an imperfect shorthand. What would be a good middle ground?

    On a fundamental level, public school parents want the right to hire, direct and fire teachers. The charter movement is, in part, an embodiment of this desire.

    As valuable as parent input is, if parents held the reins, they would favor teachers who gave their own children high grades. We’d have an even larger army of “nice”, compliant teachers with middling academic qualifications, low salary demands (“it’s for the children, after all”), and classrooms where any learning that is not “fun” is simply avoided.

    In a system which balances the needs of students/parents, eventual employers/post-secondary educational institutions, and taxpayers — and in a system where teachers are meant to be specialized professionals — parents have to place some confidence in hiring decisions made by professional leaders: principals (in the few major districts where they have ultimate hiring discretion) or district human resource representatives (more commonly). Now, you know that I don’t have great faith in current teacher hiring practices. It’s just that letting parents hire (or more likely, fire) teachers would result in even worse decisions.

    There is a place where teachers are completely tranparent as to their qualifications, and where parents hire, direct and fire teachers at will. It’s called a private school! The following article about private schools in South Africa shows where we are heading, as private school voucher programs and charter schools gradually erode the influence of democratically-elected school boards in the US: “If kids’ grades drop or a discipline problem crops up, the parents change schools…”

    I know of one large jurisdiction, the Province of Ontario, in Canada, whose teacher certification authority lets the public look up teachers’ degrees (institution, major, and year of completion) in addition to their credentials. The CTC’s public lookup interface rarely exposes such information. Intern Credentials, interestingly, list the sponsoring university or school district, and the district in which the intern is authorized to work. An intern’s progress can be inferred from the issue date, although not for SB 57 ECO interns, who are ready immediately for the summative Teaching Performance Assessment (TPA). Preliminary and clear credentials don’t list an institutional source. Degrees never show up, but a few very old credentials do name specific academic majors, in which case the degree completion date can be inferred from the original issuance date of the credential.

    Gary, years of layoffs in “high-need” fields do indicate an objective teacher oversupply. While neither you nor I agree with the sharp increases in average class size since 2008, we have lost that political battle — roundly. When the local control funding formula goes in, the vestiges of K-3 class size reduction and Morgan-Hart 9th-grade academic class size reduction will go out, once and for all. School employment/service levels will remain as they are today. Taxpayers and the electorate appear to be satisfied with this. (You’d love the language in my local district’s contract: primary-grades classes stay at 25 unless the state discontinues CSR. This was ratified by the union even though LCFF was already on the horizon. Under LCFF, the district will be within its rights, not only under state law but also by contract, to divert the former CSR money to executive salaries, or to our posh new district office!)

    I should have qualified my remarks by saying that we have a teacher oversupply in the current political context.


    • Gary Ravani on Apr 25, 2013 at 12:24 pm04/25/2013 12:24 pm

      • 000


      Without getting all Marxist on you here, you are talking about “surplus labor.” There is no surplus or over-supply of teachers in any real sense. CA has the highest class sizes in the nation. There is an absolute need for more teachers that is unmet because of political and fiscal circumstances. This is due to CA’s insufficient revenue stream both before and after the economic crash.

      (We don’t do a particularly good job on the special ed side either. Particularly since special ed has become unattractive because of the academic ($$) demands to become qualified. and since “instruction” has become a kabuki dance of treading between state and federal mandates and the attendant paperwork required. Did I mention “untrained advocates,” attorneys, and demanding parents?)

      Layoffs in “high needs” areas seems an oxymoron.

      Read other posts here about the “certainty” of LCFF being implemented.

      The linking of CSR and state funding is common, and prudent, practice in collective bargaining. Would you maintain a 20 or 25 class size K-3 if you had to, as a consequence, raise class size to 35 in all other grades? How about 40 or 45? Then there is the reality that CA’s CSR never was actually fully funded. It was always an “encroachment” on district general funds. This means CSR has been paid for out of teachers’ pockets. Would you increase the general fund impacts for CSR or raise class size in other grades thereby triggering more layoffs?

      • navigio on Apr 25, 2013 at 2:03 pm04/25/2013 2:03 pm

        • 000

        Btw, if I’m not mistaken, there is a k-3 class size reduction target in LCFF. I think its 24 and the ‘payoff’ is an additional 11% of base. Unfortunately, the wording does not seem to require class sizes to actually be that low in order to qualify…

  4. navigio on Apr 24, 2013 at 10:31 am04/24/2013 10:31 am

    • 000

    Great discussion guys. This is exactly how the media should work, imho. :-)

    There IS a difference between a complete newcomer and: a second-year intern who has finished her coursework and is preparing her TPA; a first-year SB 57 ECO intern who has placed out of the coursework via a rigorous national ETS exam; a first-year special education intern who already holds a general education credential; or even a first-year intern with extensive prior service as a long-term substitute.

    Thank you Paul!!

    I have been wanting to write something like that for a few days now. It seems in our attempt to refer to these differences using a single term, we’ve made it too easy to allow anecdotes to drive policy. Personally, I think the choice of the term ‘intern’ is a horrible one given these myriad possible incarnations. The state (CTC?) would do good to figure out a better way to make this distinction (I still have not seen any explicit distinction on the CTC site and documents, which seems quite problematic).

    Furthermore–and as already mentioned elsewhere–I also have a real problem with how we use the term ‘highly qualified’. It’s even worse if the term is constant while the underlying requirements change, or worse, if they stay the same but simply become acceptable due to a change in law/policy.

    While I tend to agree with what Paul is saying–including addressing and not ignoring the problems that were brought up in the very valid comments at the hearing–I would also say if we make it impossible for the general public to actually understand these distinctions and terms (we even make it nearly impossible for people who want to understand it), then we deserve to be hammered with the blunt force club of politics.

    Transparency. Community education. There is a reason those things matter.

  5. Paul on Apr 24, 2013 at 9:38 am04/24/2013 9:38 am

    • 000

    Thank you for your response, Tara.

    In “Renee I”, the appeals court concluded that NCLB gave states discretion to treat interns as “highly qualified”. The court changed its mind in “Renee II”, which prompted the leglislative clarification that you mentioned. Given the clarification, Public Advocates lost plainly in “Renee III”.

    The text of NCLB treats two groups as highly-qualified: teachers with full state certification and those who have both passed a state teacher licensing exam [CSET in California, required for issuance of an Intern Credential] and obtained a license to teach [Intern Credential, in California]. Clearly, Congress intended some flexibility, and gave states some discretion. NCLB: “…the teacher has obtained full State certification … OR passed the State teacher licensing examination, and holds a license to teach in such State…”

    Public Advocates’ stated goal is to put better teachers in classrooms where low-income and minority students are concentrated. Fine. Unfortunately, PA picked three silly targets. Individualized Internship Certificates were struck down not because they were inconsistent with state law, but because the CTC hadn’t promulgated implementing regulations. Interns remain highly-qualified. And now, interns remain adequately qualified to teach English Learners, with some extra support.

    This was most definitely a(nother) referendum on the internship pathway. PA believes that interns are the worst possible teachers, bad enough to damage the children in their care. What PA really wanted from these three battles was parent notification. Parents, who do not understand credential program requirements and would in any case not be privy to information about the background of a particular teacher, would protest. (There IS a difference between a complete newcomer and: a second-year intern who has finished her coursework and is preparing her TPA; a first-year SB 57 ECO intern who has placed out of the coursework via a rigorous national ETS exam; a first-year special education intern who already holds a general education credential; or even a first-year intern with extensive prior service as a long-term substitute.) Students, who today routinely talk about “getting you fired”, would go for blood. As school district leaders testified in March, a notification requirement would make interns unemployable, effectively ending alternative certification.

    I claim that you could have an infinite teacher supply and stilll have hard-to-staff schools. These debates about credentials do nothing to resolve that problem. Since 2008 at least, we’ve had a statewide teacher oversupply, as evidenced by layoffs even to math and special education teachers. Still, districts like Oakland and Contra Costa, and certain charter schools, cannot find enough fully-credentialed teachers. How, specifically, would PA turn these settings into places where teachers want to work?

    Quashing interns would merely increase use of substitutes, applications for STSPs (one-year, once in a lifetime permits), and outright violation of credentialing rules (as happened in the American Indian Model schools, and in some districts, even though the latter are subject to certificated assignment monitoring by the county office).

    Stepping back, we must look at teacher preparation as a system. When 0.79% of your current workforce (8 teachers in 1,000) consists of alternative entrants, you have a healthy system. The problems lie in individual districts and schools, and must be tackled at those levels.


    • Gary Ravani on Apr 24, 2013 at 1:02 pm04/24/2013 1:02 pm

      • 000

      There is plenty of information taken from “exit interviews,” from both teachers leaving the profession (around 50% and even higher for those entering the profession via alternate routes like internships) and those who leave their original sites: teachers leave because of lack of resources to do their jobs and “poor leadership.”

      Of course, “lack of resources” in the state of CA, 49th of 50 states in funding per child k-12, is being redundant. That being said, the reasons hold true across the nation.

      The number of layoffs has nothing to do with a “statewide teacher oversupply” and everything to do with the decline in state revenues triggered by the recession triggered by an out of control financial sector.

      The focus of the debate tends to be on the symptom of an overabundance of interns and low seniority teachers at some sites and the causes for that, the resources and leadership issues that incentivize leaving those sites (and/or the profession)>

    • Tara Kini on Apr 24, 2013 at 5:12 pm04/24/2013 5:12 pm

      • 000

      Paul, your description of the law is incorrect. Here’s what the Ninth Circuit actually stated in its final Renee opinion (Renee III):

      “Before the passage of Section 163, the “precise question at issue,” Chevron, 467 U.S. at 842, was not the meaning of “full State certification” as used in NCLB. Rather, the “precise question at issue” was the difference between the meaning of “has obtained” full State certification in the statute, 20 U.S.C. § 7801(23), and the meaning of “demonstrates satisfactory progress toward” full State certification in the regulation, 34 C.F.R. § 200.56(a)(2)(ii). The difference between having obtained something and merely making satisfactory progress toward obtaining it is patent. The panel majority concluded, before the passage of Section 163, that the Secretary’s regulation impermissibly expanded the definition of “highly qualified teacher” contained in 20 U.S.C. § 7801(23) by including in that definition an alternative-route teacher who merely “demonstrates satisfactory progress toward” the requisite “full State certification.” Renee II, 623 F.3d at 796.”

      The Court then discussed the effect of Congress’s action in Section 163 to temporarily write the challenged regulation into statute:

      “Section 163 has temporarily modified NCLB. It provides that the term “highly qualified teacher” in NCLB includes a teacher who meets the requirements of 34 C.F.R. § 200.56(a)(2)(ii). Section 163 thus provides that an alternative-route teacher who merely “demonstrates satisfactory progress toward full certification” is “highly qualified” within the meaning of NCLB. Under Section 163, § 200.56(a)(2)(ii) is consistent with NCLB and is therefore valid. That is, so long as Section 163 remains in effect, it overrules our decision in Renee II. However, by its own terms, Section 163 remains in effect only through the end of the 2012-13 school year. If Congress takes no further action, the pre-Section 163 version of NCLB will again be the law. In that event, § 200.56(a)(2)(ii) will again be invalid because its definition of “highly qualified teacher” will again be inconsistent with the statutory definition.”

      Your comments suggest that you don’t think parents have any right to know whether or not their child’s teacher is fully certified to teach the subject/grade level they are assigned to (and, if their child is an English learner, whether the teacher is trained and authorized to teach ELs.) Really? As a parent, I certainly want to know that information about my child’s teacher.

      And, for the record, I don’t think “interns are the worst possible teachers”. Because they have subject matter competency and are in training to earn a full credential, they are the BEST option—where there is no suitable fully prepared teacher to fill a position. State law appropriately recognizes that, and indeed REQUIRES that interns be hired over a substitute, short-term staff permit holder or other, even more underprepared teacher where there are teacher shortages.

      I don’t disagree that some interns are better prepared than other interns. Of course there’s a difference between a 2nd year intern preparing to pass the TPA, or a special ed intern who already holds a gen ed credential, and one who enters their internship without ever having worked with children before. But state policy is about MINIMUM requirements. There are many interns who begin full-time teaching on Day 1 with no hands-on classroom experience and only 3 weeks of preservice training, because that is the current minimum. Though we’re talking about a few thousand interns here, they teach tens of thousands of students. Our state policy should ensure that every single one of those interns is prepared to be successful with their students.

      • Corinne on Apr 25, 2013 at 4:22 pm04/25/2013 4:22 pm

        • 000

        Glad to hear you say that Interns are the BEST option, Tara. And I hope Public Advocates will continue to fight for Interns when districts no longer have guaranteed funding to pay for the newly imposed increased supervision and support. Some districts may try to side step hiring interns because of their inability to pay for supervision and support and may opt to hire substitutes, teachers on STSPs, and teachers on waivers! Please continue to advocate for our kids by insisting that our districts hire interns and pay for their support and supervision!

        P.S. This is only a comment on the fiscal status of our state, not on the fact that job-embedded learning is a superior model.

  6. Tara Kini on Apr 24, 2013 at 7:20 am04/24/2013 7:20 am

    • 000

    As numerous Commissioners stated at the March meeting, the CTC’s vote was not a referendum on the merits of alternative route (intern) programs. This policy change was about ensuring that the thousands of interns in California have the preservice training and mentoring/support they need to be successful with all their students on day 1 in the classroom, including English learners. The CTC’s newly adopted policies go a long way towards getting us there.

    Paul, you described the “Public Advocates camp” as “seeking a new way to stigmatize and label interns.” I have to disagree. We sought to end the CTC’s prior practice of issuing a full English Learner Authorization to interns who had received as little as 2 hours of EL training and no EL supervision/support. In the words of one Commissioner, “an authorization is a warrant that assures parents that their students are being served by people who have had specialized training for teaching English learners.” The CTC should not have been issuing an EL authorization to individuals who lacked specialized EL training. Period.

    Paul, you also stated that the Renee v. Duncan plaintiffs lost. In fact, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that interns do not have full state certification and therefore that they were not highly qualified under the definition of the term provided in NCLB for nearly a decade pursuant to the unlawful Dept of Ed regulation we challenged. Congressional action through the budget process six weeks after that court decision allows interns to temporarily be labeled HQ until the end of 2013-2014 school year.

    Finally, a clarification about a few data points discussed in the comments here. Data from the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning have repeatedly shown, over many years, that interns are disproportionately assigned to low-performing schools and schools serving large concentrations of students of color and low-income students. The most recent data from the 2011-12 Teacher Supply Report indicates that some urban districts are disproportionately relying on interns, while others seem be able to meet their teaching needs without relying on interns to fill teacher shortages. For example, the Report shows that, while the statewide average of interns is less than 1%, in Oakland and West Contra Costa USD, 5% of the work force are interns. In other urban districts like Long Beach, LAUSD, and San Diego, less than 1% are. I think we have to ask why.


    • Corinne on Apr 25, 2013 at 4:08 pm04/25/2013 4:08 pm

      • 000

      So have you asked them why? I know one gentleman who is an exemplary teacher in West Contra Costa. He is caring, passionate, and hard-working. He quickly moved into leadership positions in his school, including department chair. But how and why did his teaching career begin? He was a police officer and was assigned to some of the toughest schools in the area. While on campus, he found that he loved working with the students. He connected with them not only because of their common ethnic background but also because he, too, had grown up in poverty. It was this connection that caused him to CHOOSE to teach in a high-need, high-poverty school district. He obtained his teaching credential through an intern route and has never looked back.

  7. Janet Davis on Apr 24, 2013 at 1:48 am04/24/2013 1:48 am

    • 000

    II was misquoted. I was proud that LAUSD was the one large, urban district that had a very small percentage of interns. I noted some districts, like Oakland, had a much higher percentage of interns. That was actually in Tara’s comment and the data for that is in the appendix. Some districts and some charter schools have a teacher retention problem. Those schools and Districts have a disproportionate number of interns because they have high turnover. That can result in some students spending several years with teachers who are not yet credentialed. There is a reason Public Advocates and other organizations brought this issue to the Commission. California is not yet providing many students who are English learners the level of instruction needed for academic success. Interns are not the only problem. However, when they are concentrated in a school, their lack of pre-service training can contribute significantly to the problem. There was broad agreement that increasing the pre-service training for teachers who will be teaching English Learners is sound practice. A balanced staff with new, mid-career and senior teachers is considered the most productive and effective way to staff schools. I recommend reading Professional Capital: Transforming Teaching in Every School by Andy Hargreaves and Michael Fullan.


    • Kathy Baron on Apr 24, 2013 at 9:17 am04/24/2013 9:17 am

      • 000

      You did say that you were proud that LAUSD is doing better and had made a “significant dent” in reducing the number of intern teachers in the district. The article didn’t misquote you, but it did misrepresent that you weren’t specifically speaking of LAUSD, and I sincerely apologize for that. You mentioned other “districts and also charter organizations where there is [are] a larger than average number of interns,” but didn’t cite any of them by name.

      Part of the problem was that your microphone wasn’t fully open for the first minute that you were speaking and I didn’t clearly hear what you said about LAUSD. I went back to the archived videotape at CTC, which can be found here:, and transcribed it verbatim (except as noted in the log). Your comments come 4 hours and 9 minutes in. To make clear that you were not speaking directly about LA Unified, here is that transcript:

      “Janet Davis I’m here representing CFT (California Federation of Teachers).
      I appreciate the attention and time that the commission has given to the needs of English learners in California. My concern is related to the earlier item that (inaudible) was speaking to at 3E, [note: this related to the 2011-12 teacher supply report to the legislature] where there are certain districts and also charter organizations where there is a larger than average number of interns, and I’m happy and proud that LAUSD has gotten a better score, which is to say we’re the largest urban local and we are making a significant dent, but then you look at the other places where there’s not, you don’t see the charter school data in that same format, but when an intern is in a community and they do their two or three years when they’re not fully credentialed, then they have a career in that community, sorry, that’s wonderful, because then they’ve got a fully, decades perhaps of a credentialed teacher.

      However, that’s not what happens in places where teachers don’t want to stay, where they have a low pay scale, limited benefits, they’re all getting, they’re our California children and they’re our state that we’re giving money to these districts or organizations, and those students, unfortunately, are experiencing a churning year after year of interns. It’s, you have an intern in kindergarten, and then that person stays maybe two or three years, then you have another one, then another one, and I saw it in my own teaching experience where we had a strand of kids who, actually had an entire elementary experience with only intern teachers. It was just, we realized, and those students were, suffered. I mean, I saw it in fifth grade, it was horrifying.

      So, when we’re seeing this pattern and we’re saying, ‘Oh yes, they’re getting their EL authorization, they’re getting,’ they have half of it. If you did this job, which is great, and I really appreciate what you’ve done, still they’ve got about half of what they should know. And at the very end, then they know this credential’s worth of this knowledge, which is fine if they would stay there, but we know that people don’t stay, that’s why we have these certain areas and certain schools that have a disproportionate number of interns.

      So I just think, I don’t know how it’s going to be registered, when we say EL authorization they’re going to be interns, but they’re going to be counted as having EL authorization, that we have some way of measuring where are the places where we have really half EL authorization because it’s only realistic that they would need to have, they can’t learn it all before they start, but let’s measure it and take some responsibility for some students who are only going to be having interns or just have been interns, and that is, uh, thank you.”

  8. Paul on Apr 23, 2013 at 11:43 am04/23/2013 11:43 am

    • 000

    Hello, Navigio and Corinne.

    Navigio – I’m sorry, my post might have come off as a negative, a sentiment that wasn’t directed at you, but at those who testified before the CTC. On one side, we had tearful, Spanish-speaking parents who claimed that intern teachers had magically changed their children’s lives. These were mostly charter school parents, unwittingly feeding the charter myth and the superteacher myth.

    On the other side, we had the Public Advocates camp, seeking a new way to stigmatize and label interns, since their earlier court case failed. (NCLB and state law clearly treat interns as highly-qialified; they meet the requirements I listed above, and can work only for one, two or three years while finishing their credential coursework.) An ELD expert testified at the end; I suspect it is the person whom you quoted, but I’m not sure. In any case, she was a university faculty member who gave workshops on ELD. Her point that ELD requires special skill was absolutely correct, but she had a vested interest (she herself teaches the topic to teachers, and probably was enriched by the original CLAD/Certificate of Staff Development mandate) and she was choosing to focus on a very narrow issue (intern credential authorization language) instead of on the basic ELD preparation requirements embedded in ALL credential programs (admittedly weak).

    Corinne – Thanks for your comments. I do want to clear up, for others, one potential source of confusion. Though TFA in California is a placement program rather than a preparation program, all teachers need credentials or permits to work in California. A TFA teacher must, before setting foot in the classroom, obtain an Internship Credential. TFA is affiliated with a private university for this purpose. As interns, TFA teachers must meet the requirements that I listed.


    • Corinne on Apr 25, 2013 at 3:55 pm04/25/2013 3:55 pm

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      Call me Paul! I’d love to talk further off line. 😉

  9. Corinne on Apr 22, 2013 at 12:31 pm04/22/2013 12:31 pm

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    Paul is accurate in his comments above. In fact, 65% of those intern teachers are obtaining a 2nd credential in the area of special education. Intern teachers are filling an important need in our state. An analysis of the actual data will show they are NOT in our under-performing schools but are more likely in our high performing schools. This means they are contributing to increased student achievement and they have a strong desire… AND CHOOSE… to work with our neediest students as a way to give back to their communities.

    Of the almost 3,000 interns hired in California,
    •One-third of math and science teachers are retiring within the next seven years. Alternative certification programs have placed more than 2,000 math and science teachers in California schools in the last three years.
    •The state is facing a shortage of special education teachers to serve the more than 680,000 special education students. Currently, nearly two-thirds of intern teachers are earning credentials in this field.
    •California’s teaching force lacks ethnic diversity whereas, 47% of intern teachers are ethnically diverse and alternative certification programs recruit 50 percent more males that traditional programs.
    •Increased funding for Class Size Reduction will increase teacher need in elementary schools and intern teachers will help fill this need.
    •Interns are often second-career professionals with deep content expertise and professional experience, enhancing our opportunities to support students in attaining Career Readiness, specifically in STEM.

    Intern teachers are not the problem in California. They are the SOLUTION!


    • navigio on Apr 22, 2013 at 4:23 pm04/22/2013 4:23 pm

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      Hi Corinne. I am confused. If the majority of ‘interns’ are in fact already credentialed teachers, how will they be the saviors of public education in the way you describe? Especially if their numbers are as you describe.

      I assume increased credentials means increased compensation? Last I checked, 33% of our spec ed budget came from unrestricted general fund revenues (up exponentially from a few years ago–and varies by district). Is this going to increase the amount of encroachment? Will our state budgets take this into account?

      Regardless, please see the last two paragraphs of the story. The person quoted from LAUSD is clearly referring to a problem that is different than what you characterize. I understand if people believe that the actual number of teachers (and by implication I guess students) is small, and thus maybe not worthy of policy impacts, but on the other hand, if LAUSDs issue is large enough to be brought to issue at the state level, then its really something that should be understood. IMHO of course. (Jonathon Kozol has been mentioning this problem for years, albeit in a different area of the country). And apologies for commenting so much today.. coffee fingers..

      • Corinne on Apr 23, 2013 at 11:05 am04/23/2013 11:05 am

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        Hi Navigio,
        No apologies needed! Coffee fingers are good! Just to be clear, we are not saying that interns are the “saviors of public education” though I do like the sound of that! However, interns offer our districts, schools, students, and aspiring teachers a choice regarding the pathway of which to obtain a credential. Without that pathway, many of those intern teachers would not have chosen to obtain a teaching credential. For example, in the past few years, there was a massive layoff of elementary teachers due to budget cuts. Some districts, like LAUSD, re-hired those exemplary, fully credentialed multiple subject teachers to fill openings in special education. This gave those teachers the opportunity to continue to be employed in their own districts and provided students with very experienced and highly qualified teachers. This is win-win.

        I do not know where Tara Kini is getting her data. It does not match the data we currently have from the Teacher Supply Report of 2010-2011 indicating that LAUSD hired 362 intern teachers most, of those in math, science, and special education.

        I believe there may be a deeper issue that has to do with Teach for America, not intern programs. In California, Teach for America is NOT an intern program. They do provide some preparation for aspiring teachers but in California, all interns must obtain their preliminary credential through an approved CTC credential program.

        A deeper look at the placement of interns would reveal that most interns are placed in high to average “performing” schools, NOT low performing schools. Check out CTC’s Intern website for more info on this topic.

        California has developed a sound Learning to Teach System that includes multiple pathways to obtain a preliminary and clear credential. We need to continue to support options to fill our teaching force with the most diverse and talented teacher corps possible! With fewer teachers being prepared and more teachers retiring, California cannot afford barriers to becoming a teacher, no matter what the pathway!

        • navigio on Apr 23, 2013 at 12:27 pm04/23/2013 12:27 pm

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          Hi Corinne. To be clear regarding the placement data, I found a document called “Intern Placements by School Rank” on the intern page of CTC’s site (most recent is 09-10). It looks like 50% of school placements are to lowest 3 decile schools (70% to the lowest 5). I’m assuming school ranking means decile ranks assigned by the state based on base API, since the document does not otherwise define ranking. Are you saying ‘school ranking’ used in that document is a different measure?

          • Corinne on Apr 25, 2013 at 3:53 pm04/25/2013 3:53 pm

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            Sorry, it is not clear by looking at the chart. Our understanding of the chart is that 1 is the highest ranking, not lowest decile. I will research this and get back to you. It is old data, though, so maybe not as useful as it could be.

          • navigio on Apr 25, 2013 at 4:11 pm04/25/2013 4:11 pm

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            Hi Corinne. Thank you for getting back to me. You’re right that it’s a bit old, but unfortunately it seems to be the latest data on the CTC site. I’ve looked through some of the other presos there but have yet to find more recent or clearer placement data. I do think the answer is important, as there seems to be some disagreement on this point. It would be good to have a definitive answer (to the extent such a thing is possible.. 😉 ). Perhaps we can ask CTC to clarify the definition in the document directly, as well as provide any updated data it has.

          • navigio on May 30, 2013 at 2:41 pm05/30/2013 2:41 pm

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            Hi Corinne. Were you ever able to check up on the meaning of the rank value in the CTC document?


  10. Paul on Apr 22, 2013 at 9:49 am04/22/2013 9:49 am

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    Unfortunately, her comment is anecdotal, and highly emotional, like much of the testimony (on both sides) at the March CTC meeting. When the anecdotes don’t match current (and future) statistical reality (few, and fewer, interns), to say nothing about practical reality (alternative to interns in hard-to-staff classrooms = substitutes), they do not form a basis for sound policy decisions.

    That must be some school (or cluster of schools) in which all the positions, from Kindergarten through Grade 5 or 6, are filled year after year by interns. That would indicate a local hiring/retention problem, one that could not be solved by restricting the terms of the English Language Authorization for interns.

  11. Paul on Apr 22, 2013 at 8:51 am04/22/2013 8:51 am

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    Here is the quantification: 0.79%, or less than eight tenths of one percentage point, of California teachers are interns. In 2011-2012, there were only 2,245 interns* in a teacher workforce numbering 283,836. The teacher supply report is in the April, 2013 CTC meeting agenda.

    If we look ahead to the day, one to three years hence, when these interns start teaching under preliminary credentials, they will, under the new regulations, be better-prepared to serve English Learners than will their more numerous counterparts who earn preliminary credentials through student teaching. Interns take the same courses but get more, and more responsible classroom experience, and now they will have ELD-specific support.

    I think that the added support requirements are onerous, and won’t be honored in practice by all employers. That’s not a problem, because (a) so few people are affected and (b) if not for interns, those classrooms would be staffed by Emergency 30-Day Substitute Permitholders (no subject matter competence requirement/CSET, no admission to a teacher credential program, no ongoing coursework, and no university support whatsoever).

    * This figure overstates the problem. Of the 2,245 interns, several hundred were adding a Special Education Credential and so already had other credentials with English Learner Authorizations.


    • navigio on Apr 22, 2013 at 9:14 am04/22/2013 9:14 am

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      Hi Paul. The quote indicated direct knowledge and understanding of the impact, which is a statement about historical and comparative performance, irrespective of the future impact of modified qualifications or similar. That’s what I was asking about. Can we ask this administrator for the report she was citing?

  12. navigio on Apr 22, 2013 at 7:13 am04/22/2013 7:13 am

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    “Those students unfortunately are experiencing a churning year after year of interns,” Janet Davis, director of a Los Angeles Unified School District committee that provides access to professional development classes, told the Commission. “We had a strand of kids who actually had an entire elementary experience with only intern teachers. And those students suffered.”

    Really? And we knew and did nothing? Is this quantifiable?

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