Update from June Commission on Teacher Credentialing Meeting

June 22, 2017

Download full report by Douglas Gephart

The Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) met on June 15, 2017. The following are the issues addressed during that meeting.

State Sending Mixed Messages on Addressing Teacher Shortage Crisis

Using the flexibility provided under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, the May Revise directs $11.327 million in additional federal resources to enhance the state’s efforts to address teacher recruitment and retention issues throughout the state, with particular focus on critical shortage areas and high need fields. This funding will be appropriated to the Commission, in conjunction with the new California Center on Teaching Careers, to develop a competitive grant program that assists local education agencies with attracting and supporting the preparation and continued learning of teachers, principals and other schools leaders. This supports large urban school districts but not smaller, more rural and suburban districts. Historically, large districts benefit from Teacher Recruitment Centers and smaller districts will continue to face teacher shortages without the benefit of funding to support incentive programs.

Conversely, legislative leaders fail to grasp the critical nature and impact of our teacher shortages.ACSA and other vested stakeholders have been working hard with the legislature to create effective incentives for increasing and retaining the supply of teachers in California, however; the legislative leadership and the legislature as a whole have failed to support these efforts as evidenced by their recent lack of action. For example:

  • AB 586 (Holden) – would have allowed up to a $2,500 tax deduction for teacher professional development expenses during the taxable year. Status: Failed Deadline.
  • AB 1217 (Bocanegra) would have authorize the Superintendent of Public Instruction to award grants to local educational agencies in establishing, maintaining, or expanding teacher residency programs, as defined but was placed on suspense in the Assembly Appropriations Committee
  • SB 807 (Stern) - This bill, for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2017, and before January 1, 2027, would allow a credit under the Personal Income Tax Law in an amount equal to 50% of the costs paid or incurred by a teacher to earn a clear credential, as specified. Status: Failed Deadline. 2-year bill
  • SB 436 (Allen) – This bill would have established the California STEM Professional Teaching Pathway for the purpose of recruiting, training, supporting, and retaining qualified science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professionals, including military veterans, as mathematics and science teachers in California. Requires the Governor to add funding in the annual state budget that has not occurred.

Commission Provides Clarity on 600 Hours of Clinical Practice

Clinical practice is defined as a developmental and sequential set of activities that take place throughout each candidate’s preparation program. These activities must be purposely designed and selected under the guidance and supervision of a master teacher or course instructor. These hours may include all instructional hours in which a veteran practitioner (master teacher) or program supervisor is present and providing guidance, working with professional learning communities and other veteran practitioners on instructional strategies, working with the master teacher or other veteran practitioner in addressing particular student’s instructional needs, and co-planning with the master teacher or other veteran practitioner. Among activities that cannot be included in the 600 hours are general lesson planning typically done independently or hours spent in supervising extracurricular activities.

Commission Concerned About New Teacher Support

New teacher candidates are completing a more rigorous set of standards for teaching and require greater level of support than their veteran colleagues. Teachers need greater flexibility given the diverse school district geographic locations and require collaborative planning with grade level and subject matter teaching teams to ensure greater success. These challenges place greater responsibility upon school site leadership and the master teachers selected to work with the new teachers. Supervision and support is increasingly more of a challenge and veteran teachers are resisting taking on the responsibility for assisting new teachers. School districts will need to provide greater fiscal support for master teachers to help ensure the new teachers receive the level of support they require to attain their full credential. The minimum standard for a master teacher is three years of teaching, just one year beyond their probationary period. Many are concerned this standard is too low because the master teacher may be too new or lack the pre-requisite experience to truly help the new teacher.

More needs to be done to ensure that TK-12 schools have the support, resources, and personnel to allow them to be full partners in preparing future educators. There is often a misconception that educator preparation is the responsibility of colleges and universities alone. In reality, TK-12 schools are an essential part of preparing future educators during fieldwork placements and throughout a new educator’s career. Educator preparation programs are required to ensure appropriate placements that will provide candidates with environments in which to practice strategies and refine their teaching skills while being provided with a strong system of support and guidance from veterans.

Commission Revision Master Plan Nearing Final Stages

Performance Assessments: Both Administrator (Cal APA) and Teacher Performance Assessments (Cal TPA) are under revision. To assist the field in understanding and preparing for changes to these assessments, staff has held webinar meetings, in-person meetings, and specific office hours so that program directors and other institutional representatives engaged in the pilot could ask questions as they came up.

Teacher Induction: As part of the redesign of the accreditation system, new program standards for teacher induction were adopted with approximately 180 institutions sponsoring teacher induction programs.

Board of Institutional Review (BIR): As a result of the changes to accreditation, the training for the BIR is being revised and now includes two distinct parts. One part of the training is specific to the reviews that occur during Year Five of the accreditation cycle, specifically the review of Common Standards and Program Review submissions. The second part of the BIR training is focused on the Site Visit, which occurs in Year Six of the accreditation cycle.

Initial Institutional Approval: The process by which a new institution is approved to sponsor educator preparation programs underwent a complete revision and now includes the requirement that prospective institutions attend Accreditation 101: Expectations and Responsibilities for Commission Approved Institutions. Accreditation 101 will continue to be offered multiple times each year as determined by interest and need.

New CalAPA Placing Greater Burden on Program Designs

The development and implementation of an Administrator Performance Assessment will likely have a significant impact on program design prompting program leaders to request more time to prepare for the embedded leadership cycles of the CalAPA. Three areas of challenge have been identified for preliminary administrator programs:

1.How will program providers identify and provide sustainable field placements for candidates. To complete the three leadership cycles, candidates need to have access to willing educators at their school or district and be able to coach an individual or volunteer teacher. In addition, they need to have access to data and plans for the school or district.

  1. The challenge will be how to best support various candidates such as current teachers and those in positions outside of the classroom. Both of these types of candidates reported different experiences with handling the leadership cycles on the CalAPA due to their current employment.
  2. Third, programs have raised concerns about the amount of time needed to prepare faculty, candidate’s coursework and fieldwork to complete three new leadership cycles during the preliminary administrator program.

Recognizing the challenges of the new CalAPA, the Commission has revised the implementation date for 2019-20 thereby allowing programs an additional year for full administration of the CalAPA with all candidates in all programs, without the scores counting for licensure. Commission staff will work with the administration on a strategy for covering the costs of a non-consequential year. Neither candidates nor programs would be required to pay for the assessment and scoring during the non-consequential year as passing scores would not be required for a credential.

Fortune School Initial Institutional Approval

Fortune School, a charter school authorized by the Sacramento County Office of Education, sought initial institutional approval in order to offer credential programs for preliminary multiple subject, preliminary single subject, preliminary education specialist mild/moderate, and preliminary administrative services. Prior to opening as a charter school, Fortune School partnered with Sacramento County Office of Education and Mount Diablo Unified School District to offer educator preparation programs. Because California law restricts educator preparation programs to be sponsored by either local education agencies or by colleges and universities, Fortune School submitted its application to be considered as a program sponsor through its own charter school and independent of another Commission-approved sponsor. The Commission approved Fortune School’s initial institutional approval without exception.

Division of Professional Practices Workload Report

In the latest report to the Commission, staff opened 381 new cases from all sources including criminal arrest notices, district reports, affidavits, and self reported cases of misconduct. Accordingly, the staff also closed 362 cases. The more involved cases are appealed to the Attorney General who must litigate the cases on behalf of the Commission and the citizens of California. These are cases in which an educator requests an administrative hearing to challenge the recommendation for discipline made by the Committee. An administrative hearing is an evidentiary proceeding where an administrative law judge hears and rules on the evidence. The number of cases currently at the administrative hearing stage is 289, a decrease of 18 from April. The budget for the current fiscal year significantly increased funds available to the Commission to pay for legal services at the AG’s office.

In order to expedite cases before the Attorney General, the Commission has authorized the addition of two permanent staff positions to support ongoing investigators at the Commission. These positions will help to support and provide case preparation to the higher standard needed by the Attorney General to take cases to trial.

Cost Recovery Fees for Accreditation Activities

The changes to the Accreditation System have and will continue to result in greater services provided to institutions and credential candidates as well as credential holders. This will result in greater cost to the Commission and can only be offset by recovery fees, as the Commission does not receive any funding support through the state budget process

  • Additional Fee: The initial institutional approval process now includes multiple stages for which documentation is submitted for review and action by the Commission. This format requires a significant amount of additional staff time to review eligibility requirements, a step that was not part of the previous Accreditation System. An additional fee of $1,000 is proposed to recover a portion of the funds for staff time
  • Deleted Fee: The program assessment process has been renamed to “program review” and streamlined to have only one review session. For this reason, fees associated with multiple late reviews are no longer necessary and will be deleted from the fee structure.

The Commission anticipates that the proposed regulations will result in an increase in openness and transparency in government by clarifying the cost recovery fees associated with initial institutional and new program review and accreditation activities in excess of the regularly scheduled data reports, program assessments, and accreditation site visits. Proposed regulations will not impose a mandate on local agencies or school districts that must be reimbursed from the state budget.

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