Sunday, February 18, 2007

Legislation imposes costs on future teachers

In conflicts such as the imposition of an unfunded mandate in SB1209 (Scott), the role of legislators and their consultants is to make major decisions on issues that they know little or nothing about. They have the arrogance of power combined with a massive deficit of information.
The bill SB 1209 (Scott) from 2006 imposes an unfunded mandate which will cost new teachers hundreds of dollars. One possible consequence of focusing on this new performance assessment in a test situation is to significantly reduce the dollars spent on teaching or supervision in order to pay for assessment. A second possibility is to pass along the significant cost of testing to teaching candidates. Our brief estimate is that it would cost $400 - $500 per candidate. Is this the way to recruit new people to teaching?
We are currently looking for a legislator to carry a bill to repeal this mandate.
A major function of bureaucracies, in this case the Commission on Teacher Credentialing and their staff is to keep the public out of decision making. Their role is to substitute their own views for information. Since the 1990’s, the CTC and the California School board have been dominated by ultra conservative, pro corporate elements.
CTC staff and members make certain that the persons who do the work, teachers, faculty in teacher preparation, are not listened to.
In those rare occasions when the public breaks through the bureaucratic front, both CTC and the State School Board arrange for hearings where only their own “experts” are allowed to speak. In summary, the role of these bureaucracies, and at times of legislators and consultants to is block or prevent democracy.

Although the political power of the neo conservatives in politics has eclipsed as a result of the 2006 elections, the persons whom they placed in administrative and policy positions remain well entrenched.
Our experience with SB 1209 and SB 2042 teach me that we need to intervene politically at an earlier stage. Early interventions require an improved policy development and monitoring apparatus and the development of legislative skills among faculty.

Duane Campbell

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