Thursday, May 21, 2009

Here is $10 million for the budget crisis

May 21,2009

The budget reform proposals failed and the legislature has the lowest approval ratings in modern history. Perhaps it is time to listen.
There is $10 million per year in the CSU budget and about the same in the U.C. budget that could be cut and this would improve teacher preparation.
In 2006 the legislature and CTC imposed an expensive, redundant accountability system TPA/PACT on teacher preparation – one the state cannot afford in its current budget crisis. I am confident that only a few legislators were even aware that they were creating this accountability fraud. It is a gross injustice to add funding for performance assessment of future teachers into the budget when our schools are having to increase class sizes, lay off teachers, reduce career technical education, cancel transportation, and delay long needed school reforms.
Now that the legislature faces cutting class sizes in k-12, lay off teachers, and violate contracts, cutting health care for children, I urge you to look examine this sweetheart deal for a few tenured profs.
There is no evidence that TPA/PACT are valid measures of good teaching. To the contrary, our experience tells us that one-time all-or-nothing tests like the TPA/PACT are among the poorest possible ways to predict the likelihood that a test-taker will be an excellent California teacher. The implementation of TPA assessment was initially contingent upon state funding. But SB 1209 in 2006 removed the funding requirement and required implementation of the TPA throughout the CSU effective July 1, 2008, imposing a new low quality accountability system on teacher preparation programs in addition to the performance assessments currently in place, without providing the funding needed to pay for the new program. The solution is obvious. Rescind this provision of SB 1209.
In times of crisis we should fund important things. This $10 million should be cut from the CSU budget and used for other vital, impacted interests.

For a detailed description of the problems of PACT and TPA see; http://sites.google.com/site/assessingpact/

I remain available to discuss the misguided financing of PACT and TPA with your office. I encourage you to use your leadership position to act responsibly in this budget crisis.

Dr. Duane E. Campbell
Professor of Education Emeritus
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