Friday, April 13, 2007

Oppose new, unfunded mandates on teachers

Regular readers will recognize that last Spring I posted several items on SB 1209, an Omnibus Education Bill in the California legislature, and how it was meddling and pandering rather than improving teacher preparation.
With the help of CFA, we have now prepared to repeal one part of the mandate.

April 12, 2007
Members, Assembly Education Committee

Fr: Susan Meisenhelder, Chair, Political Action and Legislative Committee
David Balla-Hawkins, Legislative Director

Re: AB 750 (Carter) – SPONSOR
Removal of CSU Teacher Assessment Unfunded Mandate

On behalf of the 23,000 faculty, counselors, coaches and librarians who teach at the California State University system, the California Faculty Association is the SPONSOR of AB 750 to eliminate an unfunded mandate affecting teacher credential students.

In lieu of this change, institutions such as the CSU will be required to pay for these teacher assessments – or will simply pass the estimated $400 per assessment costs onto students – when adequate state funding is not provided.

The Need for AB 750

Along with an array of important K-12 teacher credential reforms, a small change resulting from last year’s SB 1209 (Scott) also created an unfunded mandate that – unaddressed – will adversely impact CSU students seeking a teaching credential. Beginning July 1, 2008, CSU teaching candidates will be required to complete teacher assessments as part of their graduation requirement. Unfortunately, SB 1209 changed existing law that made these assessments contingent on the availability of state funding, thus creating a new CSU unfunded mandate.

At the CSU, where over half of all K-12 teachers are taught, student enrollment fees have already nearly doubled in just five years. Having the state require a new assessment of credential students, without providing the necessary funding, would discourage students from seeking a teaching credential by making it more cost-prohibitive – or simply more difficult – by forcing CSU teacher credential students to pay $400 more in higher fees, or eliminating other essential student services and/or classes to pay for these assessments.

AB 750 will simply reinstate existing language that was deleted by SB 1209, thus making teacher assessments contingent on the availability of state funding. Unaddressed, these assessment costs – if continued as an unfunded mandate – will further deplete limited CSU funds or restrict the financial ability of students to obtain a K-12 teaching credential.

It is for these reasons that CFA respectfully requests you vote “AYE” on AB 750.

What you can do.
Write letters of support to your Senators and Assemblypersons. Support AB 750.

For a detailed description of the complex problem and the strategy see
Duane Campbell
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