Credit: Alison Yin for EdSource Today

Taking on an issue that has received relatively short shrift in the raft of reforms being implemented in California schools, Gov. Jerry Brown ventured for the first time during his governorship into the challenge of preparing – and retaining – teachers.

While the $10 million he is proposing is tiny in the context of the state’s overall budget, the reforms he is calling for have far-reaching implications.

“It is significant,” said Linda-Darling Hammond, a professor in the Stanford Graduate School of Education and chairwoman of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. She said the measures Brown has proposed represent a first step, and that she expects the state to take more steps to “build a high-quality workforce of teachers and school leaders.”

The budget calls for improving the way the state accredits teacher preparation programs. “State oversight of the educator preparation system is currently not robust enough to verify that programs are meeting preparation standards and producing fully prepared teachers,” the budget summary states.

Among the reforms it calls for are:

  • Providing funds to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing to establish a panel to recommend how to “streamline preparation standards” and to develop surveys of students enrolled in teacher preparation programs, and of school districts who hire them, to assess the “quality and effectiveness” of those programs.
  • Revising the Teaching Performance Assessment that all new teachers must take before they can begin teaching.
  • Proposing for the first time to develop a similar assessment for school principals and other administrators.

As the budget summary notes, “there is no assessment to determine if a person is prepared to be a school principal.”

State Board of Education President Michael Kirst said the budget proposals “signal a more aggressive role for the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.” They also send a message that “we are concerned about the quality of new teachers,” he said.

The budget proposal also addresses another major challenge in strengthening the teacher pipeline in California –providing support for teachers in their first few years on the job. Teachers have been required to participate in what is called an “induction program” – primarily the state’s Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA) program – in order to receive their full or “clear” credential. Support programs make it more likely that teachers stay in the profession, rather than dropping out in large numbers.

But there have been multiple problems with the funding and implementation of the BTSA program, as noted in an EdSource report released last fall. Brown is calling for an evaluation of “the burden of the current requirements” on teachers to complete induction programs like BTSA, the budget summary says. He also wants to encourage local districts to provide the supports that new teachers need to succeed, including providing mentor teachers.

The budget summary says the Brown administration won’t wait until the fiscal year begins in July to begin working on this issue, but will begin “engaging with stakeholders” on this issue in the coming weeks.

Darling-Hammond said that in some districts induction programs aren’t even offered, or teachers have to pay thousands of dollars to enroll in them. In other cases, districts may offer “help groups,” but no mentors or actual coaching in the classroom.

The reforms aimed at improving teacher preparation – and to support teachers after they begin teaching – indirectly addresses the issues raised by the Vergara vs. California lawsuit, including the time and expense of firing incompetent teachers.

In his press conference Friday, Brown described the challenge of firing such teachers as “a nightmare.” If his proposed reforms result in significant changes in teacher preparation and support, that could improve the effectiveness of teachers across the board and reduce the number of ineffective ones.

What the budget summary does not address is the challenge of recruiting new teachers. The number of students enrolled in teacher preparation programs has plummeted over the past decade – from more than 77,000 in 2001-012 to less than 20,000 in 2012-13.

Darling-Hammond said the decline was in part a response to the massive layoffs inflicted on teachers as a result of the state budget crisis precipitated by the financial collapse of 2008. She said districts now have a “pent up demand” to hire teachers back as they reduce class sizes and respond to rising enrollments in some areas.

“I am quite sure there will be a lot of attention to this in the next few years, to make sure we can underwrite people coming into the profession,” she said.


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  1. Walt 7 months ago7 months ago

    Teacher credential in gist a complete waste of time and money. The process weeds out good teachers who aren’t willing to do endless and meaningless assessments and reports. The teacher training industry should be scraped. Let schools bring in people. To the classroom. The good teachers are ready after a few weeks. The bad apples are never ready no matter how many trainings they receive.

  2. Stephanie Gillis 2 years ago2 years ago

    I applaud the Governor’s focus on teachers, but one thing seems to be missing here: doesn’t this “pent up demand” of potential teachers entering programs offer us the opportunity to do a better job raising the standards of who is eligible to become a teacher in the first place? Can we get ahead of the curve with reforms to entrance requirements?

  3. Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

    "The reforms aimed at improving teacher preparation – and to support teachers after they begin teaching – indirectly addresses the issues raised by the Vergara vs. California lawsuit, including the time and expense of firing incompetent teachers." Well, no it does not. The "fair and balanced" rag out of San Diego did an "expose" recently on the issue of dismissing teachers and how "difficult and expensive" [sic] it was. They were able to identify ONE teacher … Read More

    “The reforms aimed at improving teacher preparation – and to support teachers after they begin teaching – indirectly addresses the issues raised by the Vergara vs. California lawsuit, including the time and expense of firing incompetent teachers.”

    Well, no it does not.

    The “fair and balanced” rag out of San Diego did an “expose” recently on the issue of dismissing teachers and how “difficult and expensive” [sic] it was. They were able to identify ONE teacher and it was not at all clear that the teacher deserved to be dismissed as all of the rationales explained in the article were basically hearsay complaints made by students. There were a couple of complaints made by administrators that were minor issues that could (should) have been handled by verbal warnings or a letter in the teacher’s personnel file.

    Again, the most telling allegations of the “nightmare” of firing teachers and the apocryphal assertions about the “hundreds of thousands of dollars and years” it took to dismiss teachers were made by former LA Superintendent. We now know his level of competence. The unappreciated irony of his testimony was he couldn’t quite decide if the dismissal process was so cumbersome or to brag about how effective he was for dismissing large numbers of teachers. And then it turned out he wasn’t dismissing teacher so much formally, they were mostly senior teachers who took the easy way out and retired rather than deal with district harassment. (Anyone ever hear that the reason teacher due process rights were first legislated was because districts were known to arbitrarily fire senior teachers as a cost cutting measure rather than for sound educational reasons?) During the “discovery” section of the trial it was revealed that the actual process in LA took tens of thousands and months, not “hundreds” and “years.” Some will suggest that’s too long and too much; however, what is the appropriate amount of money and time when you are ending a person’s career and only a due process procedure will uncover if the dismissal charges have any basis in fact?

    And please don’t try and broad-brush teacher personnel issues by citing a freakishly sordid case out of LA.

    Also, it was established by other testimony submitted in discovery, by a large district administrator, that when handled sensitively and professionally most teachers will do just what happened in LA, retire or resign. A well written piece on this site actually dealt with a real life situation some months ago. Finding “professionalism and sensitivity” in Broad trained management is pretty much an aimless pursuit.

    As to Jerry Brown’s “nightmare,” assertion. For decades Brown has been used to being the smartest guy in the room, and I’ve been in rooms with him a number of times. But this can also lead to his being rather dismissive and glib. I suggest this is one of those times. Both his nightmare (and his bias) are more about getting anything productive done with the charters he established in Oakland.

  4. Julie Sheldon 2 years ago2 years ago

    I am a BTSA Induction Coordinator and am very happy to see that this issue is finally being addressed by the Governor. Since the Credentialing Block Grant funds were included in the general funding in 2009, many districts discontinued their BTSA programs or dramatically reduced funding and personnel to support their new teachers. Induction is a requirement of credentialing, so all new teachers must participate, but because the teachers who are hired in districts with … Read More

    I am a BTSA Induction Coordinator and am very happy to see that this issue is finally being addressed by the Governor. Since the Credentialing Block Grant funds were included in the general funding in 2009, many districts discontinued their BTSA programs or dramatically reduced funding and personnel to support their new teachers. Induction is a requirement of credentialing, so all new teachers must participate, but because the teachers who are hired in districts with no BTSA program have to pay thousands of dollars to complete Induction, they put it off in their first years of teaching, when they most need the support of a mentor. The universities, seeing the demand for Induction by these teachers, have created one year online Induction programs, which do not give the intensive support that research shows is most effective for supporting new teachers, and adds significantly to their burden of student loans. This is most definitely an issue of equity for students, because many of the school districts with socioeconomically disadvantaged students used funds originally earmarked for BTSA for other purposes, and their new teachers do not have the same level of support and professional development as those districts who chose to retain and fully fund their BTSA programs. Local Control Funding Formula has exacerbated this issue, as many of the BTSA Consortium districts have declined to offer financial support to the LEAs for the BTSA programs, therefore further impacting resources for the program. I am very fortunate to lead the Walnut Valley BTSA program, which has given consistent support to its new teachers. I don’t think it’s entirely coincidental that Walnut Valley was recently named as one of the top districts in California. All new teachers deserve quality mentorship, professional development, and support in their first years of teaching, and more importantly, their students deserve it.

    Replies

    • Andrew 2 years ago2 years ago

      To have BTSA at all you need beginning teachers, and it seems that all the CA beginning teachers I know personally from 2009 to 2013 were ultimately dumped from employment due to LIFO and layoffs and permanently found new occupations or left the state. One K-8 school wasn't left with a single teacher with less than 15 yrs seniority due to the geriatric favoritism of LIFO. Now the challenge is getting anyone … Read More

      To have BTSA at all you need beginning teachers, and it seems that all the CA beginning teachers I know personally from 2009 to 2013 were ultimately dumped from employment due to LIFO and layoffs and permanently found new occupations or left the state. One K-8 school wasn’t left with a single teacher with less than 15 yrs seniority due to the geriatric favoritism of LIFO.

      Now the challenge is getting anyone with real talent to start in the profession when everything is in place for LIFO layoffs to happen all over again,LIFO, bad funding in good times and worse funding in bad times, inevitable cycles of boom and bust, overpriced real estate, and Prop 30 due to expire before long. The dumped teachers were not only faced with car repossessions and evictions and poverty, but struggled to meet the onerous requirements to maintain and clear their CA credentials while unemployed and destitute. Some of those we are trying to coax into credential programs remember all this. What are we going to tell them?

      • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

        Andrew: The universe is a wider place than your immediate surroundings, something you seem to struggle with. Certainly, and tragically, many young teachers were laid off during the financial industry driven recession. Not all though and, as another post from a BTSA Coordinator asserts, new teachers continue to be hired and demographic changes (both for teachers and students) suggest increasing numbers will be hired in the near future. It is vital that the legislature, the governor, … Read More

        Andrew:

        The universe is a wider place than your immediate surroundings, something you seem to struggle with. Certainly, and tragically, many young teachers were laid off during the financial industry driven recession. Not all though and, as another post from a BTSA Coordinator asserts, new teachers continue to be hired and demographic changes (both for teachers and students) suggest increasing numbers will be hired in the near future. It is vital that the legislature, the governor, and the CTC provide support for an induction program that is mentor and classroom based.

        You also seem to suggest that layoffs for newer and younger teachers, who likely have more employment options available (not to mention possible parental supports) is a worse societal outcome than for older teachers with likely fewer options, likely more obligations (homes and families,) and fewer potential supports available. Can’t say I follow the logic (or the humanity) of those assumptions. And then there is the solid research to support the value to students of keeping experienced teachers in the classroom.

        We do face challenges with recruiting new teachers and you’ve laid some of those out. The likelihood that the new Congress will free up the financial sector to make risky decisions that will undermine the economy as well as education is probable. CA’s historical underfunding of education is likely to continue even with increases mandated by Prop 98. Getting around half of a growing, but still too small overall, state budget doesn’t really solve the systemic problems. When you get the “perfect storm” of abysmal funding and a crashing economy bad things happen to students as well as teachers young and old(er).

        I tend to be more optimistic though. As has been frequently stated teachers are not monks sworn to poverty, nor are they primarily motivated by financial issues. The primary motivation for those who stick with it are a desire to work with young people, teach them, and help them develop to the best of their abilities. It will take the entire teacher preparation system some time to ramp up again, and there will be issues in trying to put qualified people in classrooms and in front of kids, but the calling to teach will eventually win out. We will deal with potential personnel shortages.

        • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

          The case that Gary is making - that firing an older teacher with fewer options is less humane than firing a new one (assuming the new one is also young which not all are) - hinges on what is good for the teachers, not necessarily what is good for students. How is it from his societal perspective dismissing a less competent teacher is more humane than retaining a more competent one? It may … Read More

          The case that Gary is making – that firing an older teacher with fewer options is less humane than firing a new one (assuming the new one is also young which not all are) – hinges on what is good for the teachers, not necessarily what is good for students. How is it from his societal perspective dismissing a less competent teacher is more humane than retaining a more competent one? It may be more humane for the family of the incompetent, but certainly not for the thousands of students whose education suffered as a result of LIFO and seniority. Gary doesn’t recognize that bad teaching is a significant problem. And where it does exist his remedy is intervention. We have enough to do to remediate students without having to remediate the “teachers”, too. I know this point has been talked out here on Ed Source, but there’s one point that hasn’t been.

          It’s generally accepted that 1% to 3% of teachers are ineffective. I believe this number has been radically understated as a matter of political correctness. For example, the Vergara plaintiffs did not want to alienate the teaching profession by stating a more realistic number, which is likely to be closer to 25% given that many support the plaintiffs in their quest to raise the level of professionalism. And yet another 25% are mediocre, if not ineffective. We need to move about half the teachers out of the profession in order to elevate the teaching the profession and we need lots of high quality candidates to replace them. Administrators need to routinely listen to what students and families have to say about the quality of classroom instruction. Feedback on evaluations is very limited and student play no part whatsoever. If you as a principal have a whole class of students telling you a teacher sucks, that is worth taking into consideration and exploring. Parents may have concerns with teachers, but they are disinclined to voice them due to a sense of negative repercussions, particularly as grades are concerned at the high school level.

          Where did the two 25% numbers originate? That is based on my experience talking to hundreds of parents and students over the years. Where does the 1 to 3% originate? That primarily derives from principals who only identify the very worst of the worst for dismissal and don’t take into consideration the views of the communities they serve.

          • TheMorrigan 2 years ago2 years ago

            “For example, the Vergara plaintiffs did not want to alienate the teaching profession by stating a more realistic number, which is likely to be closer to 25% given that many support the plaintiffs in their quest to raise the level of professionalism.”

            Stop making stuff up, Don.

          • el 2 years ago2 years ago

            “We won’t rest until 100% of all teachers are above average!!!”

        • Andrew 2 years ago2 years ago

          You refer to the great recession as driven by the financial sector, Gary. I was working in the trenches and with a few others saw it inevitably coming. We timely dumped real estate in anticipation of the inevitable. Government, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, was foolishly, crazily, guaranteeing the payment of bad real estate loans made to unqualified buyers and secured by grossly overpriced properties. The almost limitless … Read More

          You refer to the great recession as driven by the financial sector, Gary. I was working in the trenches and with a few others saw it inevitably coming. We timely dumped real estate in anticipation of the inevitable. Government, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, was foolishly, crazily, guaranteeing the payment of bad real estate loans made to unqualified buyers and secured by grossly overpriced properties. The almost limitless government guarantees of bad loans promoted bad lending practices (suprise) and yes, the private financial sector predicably reaped as much profit as it could from this foolish free government money. A similar situation to what is now the government guaranteed student loan bubble, where government guarantees repayment of educational loans which paid exorbitantly high tuition to for-profit diploma mill private “universities” peddling worthless “educations”, enriching their corporate shareholders, at the behest of their lobbyists. Things are lining up for this to happen all over again.

          You talk of humanity and fairness. Neither the general public nor I agree that it is fair that when layoffs are financially necessary, a poorly performing tenured senior teacher is retained while a superlatively performing, extremely hard working, inspiring, motivated and superbly qualified newer teacher is laid off, even a “teacher of the year.” Where else in the world, in what profession, would it be mandated that a poor performer be retained and a superb performer be dumped? You may seen the sense in that, but few others do. According to today’s lead article, the governor does not agree with you, and even most teachers do not

          • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

            In their book on the financial crisis Business journalists Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera argue that the charges against Fannie and Freddie are "completely upside down; Fannie and Freddie raced to get into subprime mortgages because they feared being left behind by their nongovernment competitors."[35] Most early estimates showed that the subprime mortgage boom and the subsequent crash were very much concentrated in the private market, not the public market of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.[20] … Read More

            In their book on the financial crisis Business journalists Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera argue that the charges against Fannie and Freddie are “completely upside down; Fannie and Freddie raced to get into subprime mortgages because they feared being left behind by their nongovernment competitors.”[35]

            Most early estimates showed that the subprime mortgage boom and the subsequent crash were very much concentrated in the private market, not the public market of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.[20] According to an estimate made by the Federal Reserve in 2008, more than 84 percent of the subprime mortgages came from private lending institutions in 2006.[29] The share of subprime loans insured by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac also decreased as the bubble got bigger (from a high of insuring 48 percent to insuring 24 percent of all subprime loans in 2006).[29]

            To make its estimate, the Federal Reserve did not directly analyze the characteristics of the loans (such as downpayment sizes); rather, it assumed that loans carrying interest rates 3% or more higher than normal rates were subprime and loans with lower interest rates were prime. Critics dispute the Federal Reserve’s use of interest rates to distinguish prime from subprime loans. They say that subprime loan estimates based on use of the high-interest-rate proxy are distorted because government programs generally promote low-interest rate loans – even when the loans are to borrowers who are clearly subprime.[36]

            According to Min, while Fannie and Freddie did buy high-risk mortgage-backed securities,

            they did not buy enough of them to be blamed for the mortgage crisis. Highly respected analysts who have looked at these data in much greater detail than Wallison, Pinto, or myself, including the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office,[37] the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies,[38] the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission majority,[39] the Federal Housing Finance Agency,[40] and virtually all academics, including the University of North Carolina,[41] Glaeser et al. at Harvard,[42] and the St. Louis Federal Reserve,[43] have all rejected the Wallison/Pinto argument that federal affordable housing policies were responsible for the proliferation of actual high-risk mortgages over the past decade.[30]

            • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

              Not my personal statement, BTW. It does sum up what most economists this side of the Wall Street Journal think about the housing bubble.

      • el 2 years ago2 years ago

        I can't speak to your district, obviously, but the demographics of the original teaching force, the case of declining or increasing enrollment, and the budgetary choices made at the district level would have dramatic impacts on the number of teachers laid off. In my local district we've hired new teachers every year since I first started paying attention, in 2006. In part, our district was fortunate that cuts were largely met with retirements. Each district … Read More

        I can’t speak to your district, obviously, but the demographics of the original teaching force, the case of declining or increasing enrollment, and the budgetary choices made at the district level would have dramatic impacts on the number of teachers laid off.

        In my local district we’ve hired new teachers every year since I first started paying attention, in 2006. In part, our district was fortunate that cuts were largely met with retirements. Each district has had its own situation.

        The tragedy was less about which teachers were laid off, but that so many were, and that so many teachers had to be laid off so quickly that there was no other way to choose except by hiring date.

        • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

          It would be great if there were never layoffs. The issue is termination for cause. If Principals actively fired teachers who were underperformers if they could find someone stronger and made sure teachers felt uncomfortable taking days off if they were not truly sick, and made sure there was pressure to use School Loop, come to Back To School Nights, advise kids to work harder and do whatever it takes to improve the … Read More

          It would be great if there were never layoffs. The issue is termination for cause. If Principals actively fired teachers who were underperformers if they could find someone stronger and made sure teachers felt uncomfortable taking days off if they were not truly sick, and made sure there was pressure to use School Loop, come to Back To School Nights, advise kids to work harder and do whatever it takes to improve the knowledge and abilities of kids, that would make schools way better. You’d lose the 3% or so of teachers who are truly damaging kids for decades, and we all know these teachers exist as Don stated, but the side benefits the other 97% would work harder and not feel they had a guaranteed job. Seniority does not lead to hard work. There’s a reason teachers call in sick more than twice as often as engineers, accountants or lawyers, and it isn’t because they get sick more.

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            A teacher could use school loop, regularly attend back-to-school nights and advise students to work hard and still be the worst teacher at the school as those points don't speak directly to the practice of classroom instruction. And others could do none of those things and be the best teachers. The practice of teaching, the content knowledge, instructional enthusiasm and classroom control and organization that an great teacher brings to bear, has little to … Read More

            A teacher could use school loop, regularly attend back-to-school nights and advise students to work hard and still be the worst teacher at the school as those points don’t speak directly to the practice of classroom instruction. And others could do none of those things and be the best teachers. The practice of teaching, the content knowledge, instructional enthusiasm and classroom control and organization that an great teacher brings to bear, has little to do with the minor issues you have incorrectly elevated to importance. And actually teachers do get sick more often because of their daily exposure to children who get sick on average more often than adults.

            Why do you buy into that 3% figure of “ineffective” teachers, ineffective being a polite euphemism for blundering and inept? After years with no effective employment filtering process coupled with virtual automatic tenure, how can anyone seriously maintain that only 1% to 3% of the entire workforce are ineffective? It doesn’t stand to reason.

            The largest impediment to the advancement of the profession of teaching is the anti-intellectual union shop mentality that has led to the spectacle of good teachers backing up the worst teachers on union principle and as a matter of policy. This has corrupted and politicized the professional and turned teachers from instructors to enforcers. Floyd, you’ve seen it for yourself as we have shared experienced in this regard at our own children’s elementary school. It is a spectacle that plays out daily across the state. If the profession is to be elevated and students spared the handicap of years of substandard instructional quality, we have to hold teachers to a higher standard. That doesn’t mean making them work longer or go to work when sick. It means their performance is no longer hidden away behind the closed door of a classroom with no feedback in the evaluation process from those who most affected. The best will hold themselves to their own high standards. The rest require ongoing meaningful evaluation to identify those that are progressing as teachers and those that are stagnating.

            • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

              I agree, ability to teach, charisma, subject matter knowledge, etc. are all important. I do feel teachers should advise kids (and their parents) to do what it takes to become educated and have an opportunity at a good college education and job. Studies show kids who hear more words, watch less TV, and study more do better, as Asians study 13.8 hours and put money to tutoring whereas others often study 5.6 or … Read More

              I agree, ability to teach, charisma, subject matter knowledge, etc. are all important. I do feel teachers should advise kids (and their parents) to do what it takes to become educated and have an opportunity at a good college education and job. Studies show kids who hear more words, watch less TV, and study more do better, as Asians study 13.8 hours and put money to tutoring whereas others often study 5.6 or fewer hours and don’t have money for Kumon but have money for cars, nice clothes, vacations. It’s about priorities, and teachers should give good advice, if every child studied 13.8 hours the achievement gap would disappear. However, you are right that ability to teach is important, as are fair grades. We had a teacher who missed days and would be seen in cafes, at Alamo. She wasn’t sick, and technically she doesn’t have to be, some teachers openly take all 11 days and consider it a benefit. I have a friend who is an SFUSD teacher who does this. I disagree with him on this issue. As for 1-3% it depends on the level. 3% are probably so bad you have to be delusional to defend them. In fact, when the teacher’s union defends these people, they lose a lot of credibility and look ridiculous. I do feel the majority my kids have had are pretty good. The other 97% would probably do better if they were under pressure. There are teachers who have been damaging children for 30 years and have no fear of being fired. There are some at Lowell (Pang), some at Presidio (Ms. Ho), there are teachers who are obviously bad.

              I believe this will be the strategic decision which undoes seniority/tenure. They could have kept it if they policed their own and fired even 3%. It wouldn’t have been ideal, but the reason we are seeing these poll numbers is that so many people have had a bad teacher who simply didn’t care they were bad, didn’t try, that every time it makes the person who suffers from it vow to oppose that in the future. If most people had been beaten up and harassed by a cop, most people would vote against police. When crime was way up, we passed harsh laws on sentencing. When you are a victim, you remember it when you vote. There are too many victims now. The union gives the example of a teacher who some feel is good and some feel is bad, but they are protecting many teachers everyone knows are bad.

              It’s like an earth is flat type of thing, Gary and Caroline go quiet when these issues come up and pretend they don’t exist, as they do with Asian work ethic. They just like to pretend. But in any election, eventually, the majority will look at the facts.

  5. Gai Jones 2 years ago2 years ago

    CA Educational Theatre Association (CETA) would like to see the creation of the single subject credentials in Theatre and in Dance. It would elevate the Theatre Arts and Dance teachers to the equal status as the other arts of Visual and Performing Arts strands of Art and Music. We would then have highly qualified teachers with the much needed pedagogical strategies which Theatre and Dance teachers need. We need to have these Theatre and Dance teachers … Read More

    CA Educational Theatre Association (CETA) would like to see the creation of the single subject credentials in Theatre and in Dance. It would elevate the Theatre Arts and Dance teachers to the equal status as the other arts of Visual and Performing Arts strands of Art and Music.
    We would then have highly qualified teachers with the much needed pedagogical strategies which Theatre and Dance teachers need.
    We need to have these Theatre and Dance teachers who are skilled to teach the potential new VandPA national standards to bring us in line with the other states who have Theatre and Dance licenses and credentials.
    CTC is the source of these single subject credentials.
    Gai Jones

  6. Paul 2 years ago2 years ago

    Bravo, Governor Brown! It's high time that the CTC began talking to teacher candidates about the preparation programs in which they are participating. Today, the first-hand experiences of candidates have little to no bearing on accreditation decisions. (While we're at it, the CTC should also begin consulting teacher candidates and ordinary, currently serving teachers -- this does not mean union leaders or lobbyists -- about changes to preparation requirements and credentials. It is a rare event indeed … Read More

    Bravo, Governor Brown!

    It’s high time that the CTC began talking to teacher candidates about the preparation programs in which they are participating. Today, the first-hand experiences of candidates have little to no bearing on accreditation decisions.

    (While we’re at it, the CTC should also begin consulting teacher candidates and ordinary, currently serving teachers — this does not mean union leaders or lobbyists — about changes to preparation requirements and credentials. It is a rare event indeed for a teacher candidate or an ordinary teacher to testify before the CTC, and those two categories are not considered stakeholders in CTC policy consultations. Instead, the CTC consults large numbers of school district executives, university program people, and credential technicians, plus a handful of state-level union leaders.)

    On the subject of credential streamlining, Brown is in for a nasty surprise: formal requirements, program length, and cost (to the state and to candidates) have increased dramatically over the past decade.

    Some of the changes have been beneficial: there is a rudimentary computer skills requirement where there was none before, and candidates are now required to learn a little about serving English Learners and students with disabilities.

    BUT, a recent law allowing universities to double the length of credential programs and a recent regulatory change deterring teachers from adding new subjects to their credentials are regressive.

    Let us hope that Brown, whether for lack of evidence, for lack of funds, or for desire to devolve more control to the local level, will kill BTSA as part of this review.

    The CTC’s self-congratulatory stance is preposterous. There were no official, state-level teacher retention statistics before BTSA; today’s statistics are gathered from fundamentally voluntary surveys of individuals rather than from official employment records; CalTIDES was never implemented, so it would be impossible to follow teachers from one employer to the next, anyway; and teachers who don’t finish BTSA are never counted.

    While there is evidence that supporting beginners helps, there is NO evidence that BTSA helps, because there is NO pre-BTSA or non-BTSA control data for California.

    Replies

    • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

      Paul: The CTC has PUBLIC meetings. Anytime you want to "testify" to the CTC on an agenda item, just show up, fill out a participant card (the lady who does this sits a table to the right as you enter the chambers). Talk away. The current change to regulation (passed in the legislature) re the length of teacher preparation programs did not "double" the time for the programs. It allowed for more units to be … Read More

      Paul:

      The CTC has PUBLIC meetings. Anytime you want to “testify” to the CTC on an agenda item, just show up, fill out a participant card (the lady who does this sits a table to the right as you enter the chambers). Talk away.

      The current change to regulation (passed in the legislature) re the length of teacher preparation programs did not “double” the time for the programs. It allowed for more units to be added in order to deal with the increasing demands on teacher preparation. It also. as I recall, allows for some of the program requirements to be completed as an undergraduate.

      In my experience the effectiveness of BTSA programs (as perceived by participants and their reports to teachers’ union representatives) varied based on “geography.” In some districts/regions, the more “top down’ and bureaucratic ones, where BTSA became primarily a management driven program teachers complained about the “paper chase” nature of BTSA. On the other hand, in many districts and regions the program was teacher driven and participants felt the program was helpful and supportive.

      I believe the CTC does have a fairly solid grasp of the number of teachers who continued in the profession, requiring them to complete a number of CTC functions, vs. the number of teachers who left the profession. The requirement to complete an induction program in order to receive full credentialing remained in place regardless of teachers transferring or staying with their original district. A supportive, teacher and classroom driven, induction program is a key to bringing new teachers up to speed as soon as possible as well as keeping teachers in the profession. And such a program is BTSA done right.

      • Paul 2 years ago2 years ago

        I've done it several times, Gary. One time it was funny seeing the paid lobbyist for CFT or CEA (I don't remember which) fumble in her testimony. She clearly didn't know much about the issue at hand, and was just reading a script. Yes, a few of us who spend the time to understand legal and regulatory changes and to travel to Sacramento can speak. The problem is that this is exceptional, and that the CTC, in … Read More

        I’ve done it several times, Gary.

        One time it was funny seeing the paid lobbyist for CFT or CEA (I don’t remember which) fumble in her testimony. She clearly didn’t know much about the issue at hand, and was just reading a script.

        Yes, a few of us who spend the time to understand legal and regulatory changes and to travel to Sacramento can speak. The problem is that this is exceptional, and that the CTC, in its official policymaking processes, reaches out to school districts, universities and state-level unions, but not to ordinary teachers, and not directly, either.

        Looking at the current accreditation process, the opinions and experiences of credential candidates are unimportant. It would be interesting to look at real accreditation reviews and ask: 1. How many program participants and recent graduates were interviewed? 2. How were these people, if any, chosen — by the institution or as a result of an announcement sent by the accreditation team directly to all candidates and alumni. 3. Were the candidates free to speak, i.e., were university staff in the room? 4. Were the comments balanced, i.e., were there any incisive comments? 5. How did candidate commentary, if any, affect the accreditation findings/recommendations?

        An executive at the University of California, Santa Cruz once told a friend of mine that no student problem lasts more than 4 years (in an undergraduate context). Teacher credential program staffs can boast 2 years, and can effectively silence student complaints by threatening bad placements, bad grades, and no credentials.

        Re: AB 5, I said it ‘allowed’ doubling the length of credential programs, which is exactly what it did, from a one-year-equivalent to a two-year equivalent. Hopefully no universities are dumb enough to yake advantage in this market, but we will probably see some longer programs/increased unit counts. Also removed was a very old 9-unit cap on required coursework before student teaching. There is no evidence that raising ceilings on years and unit counts, and delaying the onset of actual classroom experince, yields better teachers.

        And no, the CTC has no idea of true retention rates. It has no involvement with employment data, and its BTSA surveys are not and cannot be sent to program completers who never find teaching jobs, nor to teachers who do not complete BTSA (mid-year start, district with no free program, layoff after year 1, etc. etc.). Retention “statistics” that ignore large groups of non-retained teachers, and that aren’t based on employment records, are useless.

        • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

          So, how does the CTC, practically speaking, reach out to all classroom teachers in CA? And, if you are a classroom teacher and you take advantage of opportunities to address the CTC, what's your specific gripe? Again, by law, all teachers must complete an induction program if they want to move beyond the "preliminary" level and if they want to be retained in their position. If they are "non-retained" why does the CTC want to know? Again, universities … Read More

          So, how does the CTC, practically speaking, reach out to all classroom teachers in CA?

          And, if you are a classroom teacher and you take advantage of opportunities to address the CTC, what’s your specific gripe?

          Again, by law, all teachers must complete an induction program if they want to move beyond the “preliminary” level and if they want to be retained in their position. If they are “non-retained” why does the CTC want to know?

          Again, universities now have the ability to expand the preparation programs beyond the previous statuary requirement of one year. Teacher preparation is becoming more complex. What should they do?

          And BTSA, “done right” focuses on classroom experience and not on the paper chase. Reports (and I got them) suggest new teachers found them supportive. If your personal experience was otherwise, that’s unfortunate.

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