Support of Changes to Policy in Curriculum and Instruction for California’s Public Schools

AS-2791-07/TEKR (Rev) - March 8-9, 2007

RESOLVED: The Academic Senate California State University (ASCSU) urge the State Board of Education and the Superintendent of Public Instruction to:

  • Support teacher discretion in the use of curriculum resources and the application of instructional methods described in California’s state curriculum standards and frameworks rather than prescribing scripted curricula from published programs,
  • Support the right of teachers to augment state adopted instructional programs with curriculum resources of their choosing under approval of their local board of education; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the teacher preparation programs of the California State University place teacher candidates in practical training settings where;

  • The cooperating teacher and student teacher, or intern teacher, are able to make curricular and instructional decisions as described in the first resolve, and
  • They are not required to teach exclusively from one adopted program in a manner that prohibits their exercise of professional knowledge and skills identified in the California Standards for the Teaching Profession; and be it further

RESOLVED: That this resolution be forwarded to the State Board of Education, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the CSU Deans of Education.

RATIONALE: The teacher preparation programs of the CSU are expected to prepare teacher candidates who can demonstrate proficiency in the California Standards for the Teaching Profession (www.ctc.ca.gov/reports/cstpreport.pdf), including standard four, “planning instruction and designing learning experiences.”
Several policies and directives of the State Board of Education and the Superintendent of Public Instruction establish conditions in public school classrooms that prevent teacher candidates from acquiring the skills and knowledge of standard four. Several reports and policies promulgated by the California Department of Education, under the direction or approval of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education, limit the exercise of teacher professional knowledge and skills by requiring teachers to convey certain state-adopted curriculum programs under rigid guidelines that limit teacher decision making and sharply curtail their authority in the classroom. For example, the Essential Program Components for student achievement of English/reading/language arts (www.cde.ca.gov/ta/lp/vl/essentialcomp.asp) include the passage, “the school/district prepares and distributes an annual pacing schedule in order for all teachers to know when and in what sequence each lesson is expected to be taught. Further, California’s Reading First Plan (www.cde.ca.gov/nclb/sr/rf/) states on page 33, “This (holding to fidelity of instructional programs) includes diligence in avoiding the use of other supplemental materials, technology programs, and/or assessments not aligned to the adopted reading/language arts instructional program.

In research recently reported by colleagues at San Jose State University (Meyers, Nelson, and Strage, (2007). Linking academic research and social policy: rethinking the roles and responsibilities of the urban and metropolitan university. Metropolitan Universities. 18. pp 5-15.) the observation was made, “Over and over again, they (SJSU student teachers) reported that the pedagogies they were reading and learning about in their coursework were nowhere to be found in the classrooms they visited. Finally, a new report, A Possible Dream Retaining California Teachers So All Students Can Learn, written by Dr. Ken Futernick of CSU’s Center for Teacher Quality (www.calstate.edu/teacherquality/documents/possible_dream.pdf), identifies “Inadequate decision making authority,” and “Curriculum narrow and scripted” among specific conditions cited by dissatisfied teachers choosing to leave the position.

Approved Unanimously - May 10-11, 2007


 
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