Monday, December 11, 2006

Nonsense in Calfornia Legislature and teacher preparation

When you make a serious error and you have dug yourself into a deep hole, the first step is to stop digging.

The recent history of “school reform” efforts clearly reveals that legislatures can be a tool for change or as a tool for meddling, pandering, and muddling. ( A small , united group of people can advance their personal careers and push an over simplification of a reform strategy. Moving the legislature is particularly easy since legislators and their staff seek headlines and are so busy with other tasks. Conning the legislature is easy if your package your “reform” as a scientific process. This claim makes it easy to avoid providing evidence of added value. This process has been well documented in California described in Cornbleth and Waugh, “The Great Speckled Bird: Multicultural Politics and Education Policymaking. “ (1995) and in Taylor, “Beginning to Read and the Spin Doctors of Science; The Political Campaign to Change America’s Mind about How Children Learn to Read. (1998).
By 2000 the prior magic bullets of school reform were not producing miracles in California schools nor positive headlines for legislators so the legislature once again excelled by shifting the focus to teacher preparation as the new instant message. If we don’t know what to do, and we can’t blame teachers for everything, then teacher preparation programs must be the culprit. Note: The alternative of adequate funding of schools and family support programs was not considered. Such reforms cost real money which would raise taxes.
The Legislative mandates of 2042 became an opportunity for persons working with the State Commission on Teacher Credentialing to reform credential programs in California (SB2042, 2000), new accountability measures have been implemented, some without financial funding. As part of these mandates, the State of California’s Commission on Teacher Credentialing has mandated that all teacher education programs implement Teacher Performance Assessments for credentialing candidates (TPA) by July, 2008.
The TPA as an assessment tool is based on reductive, corporate-driven teacher performance expectations (TPEs). As an assessment tool, it is even more simplistic and rigid than
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