California Task Force Seeks Sweeping Changes to Special Education – Education Week

By Christina Samuels

Improving the academic outcomes for California students with disabilities will require an extensive revamp of the states education system, a task force said Wednesday. Among them: a revision of teacher preparation, support for early learning, and an overhaul of special education financing with an eye to more local control and accountability.

Those recommendations are part of a 100-page report drafted by Californias Statewide Task Force on Special Education and submitted to the state board of education. (The task force also released an executive summary of its findings, as well as four subcommittee reports.)

About 613,000 students ages 6 to 21 receive special education services in California, about 10 percent of the nations total special education population of 5.8 million in that age range. The graduation rate for California students with disabilities is about 60 percent, compared to 80 percent for the student population as a whole.

via California Task Force Seeks Sweeping Changes to Special Education – On Special Education – Education Week.

National Council on Teacher Quality report is deeply flawed | EdSource Today

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This week, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) issued a report, NCTQ Teacher Prep Review. Billed as a consumer’s guide, the report rates teacher preparation programs on a list of criteria ranging from selection and content preparation to coursework and student teaching aimed at the development of teaching skills. While the report appropriately focuses on these aspects of teacher education, it does not, unfortunately, accurately reflect the work of teacher education programs in California or nationally.

National Council on Teacher Quality report is deeply flawed | EdSource Today.

EdSource Today: Vast reforms proposed for teacher credential programs

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When California placed a one-year limit on the length of teacher preparation programs back in 1970, there were no personal computers, tablets or smart phones; no online classes or Common Core standards; and not nearly as many English learners in public schools. Recognizing that these graduate programs can’t squeeze in an additional 40 years of knowledge and change into a one-year program, a state panel is recommending that the cap be lifted, among a range of other proposed changes intended to modernize and strengthen how teachers are prepared for the classroom.

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing will begin considering 40 reforms Thursday proposed by its Teacher Preparation Advisory Panel (TAP), charged with updating the requirements to become a fully credentialed teacher.

via Vast reforms proposed for teacher credential programs – by Kathryn Baron.

EdSource Today: California needs alternative certification now more than ever

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California, now more than ever, is facing an urgent need for qualified and talented professionals to enter our teaching workforce. At a time when one-third of California’s educators are nearing retirement, school districts are going to need the thousands of teachers entering the profession through alternative certification programs, which allow candidates to teach in the classroom while simultaneously earning their teaching credential. This is not the time for hasty policy decisions that threaten to further dismantle the state’s Learning to Teach System. Eliminating guaranteed funding will result in increased tuition fees for those entering the teaching profession.

via California needs alternative certification now more than ever – by Corinne Muelrath / commentary.

EdSource Today: Higher standards coming for state’s intern teachers

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The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing signaled Thursday its intention to increase training requirements for intern teachers, including Teach for America members, before they’re allowed to teach any of the state’s 1.4 million students who are English learners.

At a packed, highly charged meeting in Sacramento, Commission members staked out a compromise position to avert threatened lawsuits from supporters, who had urged the Commission to severely restrict districts’ ability to hire intern teachers, and opponents, who argued that intern teachers, while comprising less than a quarter of the new teachers in California, play an important role, especially where there are shortages, and have proven to be effective.

via Higher standards coming for state’s intern teachers – by Kathryn Baron.

EdSource Today: Bill would open the door to undergraduate teaching credentials

For the first time in decades, aspiring teachers in California would be able to major in education as undergraduates and get both a preliminary teaching credential and a baccalaureate degree in four years if a bill in the Legislature becomes law.

Senate Bill 5, sponsored by Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, could result in a dramatic shift in teacher preparation. Distinct among the states, students wishing to become teachers in California are required to major in subjects other than education in college. Then, to get their teaching credential as post-graduates in nine to 12 months, they must pass a content test measuring their knowledge of the subject they plan to teach, and take courses in teaching techniques and intern as a student teacher in the classroom. Critics of the current system, including Linda Darling-Hammond, the chair of the state Commission on Teacher Credentialing, say compressing everything a teacher is expected to know into a program lasting a year or less leaves teachers less prepared than they should be, shortchanging their students.

via Bill would open the door to undergraduate teaching credentials – by John Fensterwald.

EdSource Today: Credentialing commission head says California teachers lead way in stress levels

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Against the backdrop of a national survey showing half of teachers experiencing “great stress” on the job, the head of California’s teacher credentialing commission says that stress levels among the state’s teachers are likely to be even higher.

“I would think California would be at the forefront of this group (of stressed-out teachers) and teachers’ stress levels here even higher,” said Linda Darling-Hammond, professor of Education at Stanford University’s School of Education and chair of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. “California’s teachers are undoubtedly stressed and very concerned about the level of support for children and schools and teachers in this society.”

via Credentialing commission head says California teachers lead way in stress levels – by Susan Frey.

California Watch: K–12: In California, thousands of teachers missing needed credentials

The last time Charlie Parker took a social studies class, he was a teenager with an Afro and Jimmy Carter was president of the United States. Yet here he was, standing at the front of a classroom, trying to teach dozens of high schoolers subjects that never appealed to him when he learned them more than 30 years ago.

On his first day teaching U.S. history, world history and economics at McAlister High School in Los Angeles nearly four years ago, Parker struggled to keep his course materials straight and handed a student the wrong textbook. Some days, his students’ questions went unanswered or were directed to the Internet. Later, Parker said, when his students took state tests, their scores were low.

via In California, thousands of teachers missing needed credentials.

California Watch: K–12: State’s calculation of teacher misassignments gives skewed rate

Teachers are required by law to have appropriate credentials, authorizations or permits for the subjects and students they teach.

But in California every year, thousands of teachers do not. They instruct English-language learners without the training to do so, teach U.S. history when they’re licensed to teach biology and serve students with disabilities whose needs they’re not prepared to address.

via State’s calculation of teacher misassignments gives skewed rate.

EdSource Today: Darling-Hammond elected new chair of Credentialing Commission

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The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing has elected Linda Darling-Hammond as its chair, placing one of the nation’s foremost authorities on education in a position to shape the state’s policies affecting the recruitment and training of teachers and principals in a year where major changes are in the works.

Darling-Hammond is a professor at the Stanford University School of Education and author of 300 publications. Appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to the Commission last year, she has been the vice chair and was in line to succeed English teacher Charles Gahagan. The only question was whether she would have time for the job.

via Darling-Hammond elected new chair of Credentialing Commission – by John Fensterwald.

EdSource Today: Credentialing commission imposes tougher test to become school administrator

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Alone among states, California has permitted passing a primarily multiple-choice exam as one path to become a school or district administrator.

That will change. The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) on Friday voted to require aspiring administrators to pass a more challenging “performance-based assessment,” showing how they’d handle complex situations that administrators face on the job, like designing a school improvement plan and evaluating teachers. The new test will replace the current exam, the California Preliminary Administrative Credential Examination, when the contract for administering it expires in October 2014.

via Credentialing commission imposes tougher test to become school administrator – by John Fensterwald.

The Educated Guess: Credentialing Commission receptive to Torlakson’s Task Force reforms

If “Greatness by Design,” the hot-off-the-press report by State Superintendent Tom Torlakson’s Task Force on Educator Excellence is going to have any legs, the state Commission on Teaching Credentialing may provide the first, important steps.

The Commission oversees the preparation and initial on-the-job training of teachers and administrators, and, to a lesser extent, the equitable placement of teachers in the classroom. Many of the dozens of recommendations in the Task Force’s report, released last month (see coverage here), would fall within its purview.

At the Commission’s meeting last week, Executive Director Mary Sandy said the Commission’s work was in sync with many of the recommendations.

via Credentialing Commission receptive to Torlakson’s Task Force reforms – by John Fensterwald.

EdSource Today: Once castigated, Commission on Teacher Credentialing is praised

By John Fensterwald

Eighteen months ago, State Auditor Elaine Howle called the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing one of the “worst-run” agencies she had investigated in a comment to the Sacramento Bee.

Howle had conducted a review at the Legislature’s request after reports surfaced that the Commission had been slow in investigating thousands of reports of arrest and prosecution against teachers – some involving criminal charges requiring automatic revocation of teaching credentials. There were also complaints of nepotism and employee intimidation. Several key administrators, including the executive director and chief counsel of the Commission, retired soon after.

via Once castigated, Commission on Teacher Credentialing is praised – by John Fensterwald.