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The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing extended a waiver Thursday that will allow those in teacher preparation programs to begin teaching while they finish required exams, coursework and practice hours. It was the latest in a series of state actions to ease teaching requirements during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since the pandemic began many teacher candidates — those who are in or have completed a teacher preparation program but have not yet earned a teaching credential — have been unable to complete required exams because testing centers were either closed or had a backlog of appointments due to social distancing requirements. Others have not been able to complete student teaching or required coursework because school campuses are closed.

In April the commission approved the waiver that allows teacher candidates to begin teaching if they had not completed all credential requirements due to the pandemic. The vote Thursday extends the eligibility of those “variable-term waivers” for people unable to complete requirements through Aug. 31 of this year. The waivers must be requested by the candidate’s teacher preparation program.

Since last March, when communities went into lockdown because of the Covid-19 outbreak, the credentialing commission, state legislators and Gov. Gavin Newsom have taken a number of actions designed to help teacher candidates move into the classroom and prevent a worsening of the teacher shortage

The commission temporarily suspended some teacher testing requirements in April. It also temporarily waived the 600 hours of student teaching normally required to earn a teaching credential, allowing teacher preparation programs to decide if a candidate is ready for the classroom. California’s teacher candidates have been required — at various points in their credential programs — to take up to six tests to earn a credential, depending on what they plan to teach. 

Legislators jumped into the fray in late spring, authoring bills that would give teacher candidates the option of using university coursework to replace the California Basic Educational Skills Test, otherwise known as CBEST, and the California Subject Examinations for Teachers, or CSET, for the next three years. The bills never made it to a vote, but Newsom has made the same proposal part of his state budget, without a three-year sunset. 

The governor also issued an executive order in May allowing eligible teacher candidates to earn preliminary credentials without taking either the California Teaching Performance Assessment, otherwise known as the CalTPA, or the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment, or RICA. Both must be completed before earning a clear credential. It also allowed students to enter teacher preparation programs without passing the CBEST.

Before the new flexibilities, the CBEST was generally taken before enrollment in a teacher preparation program. Some teacher preparation programs require that students pass the CSET before admission, while some allow students to enroll first, then require they pass the test before they begin student teaching.

“As we continue to look forward to the new year in 2021, staff continues to work diligently with the field to understand and address the needs of candidates who are enrolled in educator preparation in this current academic year, many of whom may be completing programs and entering the profession without significant opportunities for in-person in classroom experiences,” said Cheryl Hickey, an administrator at the commission.

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  1. Debora Rinehart 1 week ago1 week ago

    While I am sure that the intention behind lifting requirements is good. I work in a Catholic school in Oakland and I can tell you with absolute certainty that those of us with a teaching credential are teaching between 80% and 100% of the state required curriculum, even during the pandemic. It took a while for us to figure it out in the spring. We completed lesson plans over the summer and we are up … Read More

    While I am sure that the intention behind lifting requirements is good. I work in a Catholic school in Oakland and I can tell you with absolute certainty that those of us with a teaching credential are teaching between 80% and 100% of the state required curriculum, even during the pandemic. It took a while for us to figure it out in the spring. We completed lesson plans over the summer and we are up and running. We are teaching in person and online. We are holding classes in a classroom and on the playground. We also have colleagues who are “good Catholics” with no teaching credential, and each teacher without a teaching credential is teaching between 40% and 60% of the curriculum – and that is only in some areas. In other areas it is even lower.

    Because they have not learned and have experience teaching English language learners, differentiating up and down the curriculum, building curriculum when there is a lack of pandemic-appropriate curriculum, and the responsibility drilled in the teacher credentialing program that every child can succeed at grade level if taught appropriately, they have cut what they teach. And, the students who suffer the most from relaxed regulations are always going to be the kids who are in the lower socio-economic status positions, students of color, and those whose parents are not educated. And the cycle continues.

  2. M Raum 2 weeks ago2 weeks ago

    Thanks for this article and updated info on credentialing tests.
    I am supposed to start student teaching this fall and due to center closures have not been able to attempt any tests. The article mentions waiver for 600 hours for student teaching. How do I get around to doing this?

  3. Dr. Bill Conrad 2 weeks ago2 weeks ago

    This credentialing conundrum is getting crazy! We need to abolish all credentialing exams for our charity worker teacher candidates. Having the will to teach and the ability to be nice should suffice. A lot of nice people are being denied their right to teach our children! Truly crazy. This must end. EdSource reports that the state recruits teachers now from the cafeterias, janitor closets, and bus yards. We have not gone far enough! We need to establish some … Read More

    This credentialing conundrum is getting crazy!

    We need to abolish all credentialing exams for our charity worker teacher candidates. Having the will to teach and the ability to be nice should suffice. A lot of nice people are being denied their right to teach our children! Truly crazy. This must end.

    EdSource reports that the state recruits teachers now from the cafeterias, janitor closets, and bus yards. We have not gone far enough!

    We need to establish some state vans and drive around looking for mendicants on the medians of our streets. If the spelling on their cardboard placards is accurate, let’s recruit them immediately to be teachers! Let’s waive the requirement to attend a woeful college of education or the requirement to pass any credentialing exam. Let’s put them into classrooms posthaste.

    Let’s get busy. Time is a’ wastin!

    Learn more at http://sipbigpicture.com. Scroll down to access my book, The Fog of Education!

  4. Matt 2 weeks ago2 weeks ago

    It’s extremely disappointing that the arduous CTEL exams continue to be forgotten about whenever testing waivers are brought up. If it weren’t for CTEL, many of us would have no issues obtaining a clear credential. So many hoops to jump through, so little time to actually focus on, you know, teaching.

  5. Anes 2 weeks ago2 weeks ago

    No more RICA? How do I apply for the credential? Please help.