CTC again considers special credential for ROTC teachers

by Teri Burns, Senior Director, Policy & Programs

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing met last week and again took up the issue of granting a Special Teaching Authorization to ROTC instructors who have met California’s basic skills requirement and verification of subject-matter knowledge in physical education.  The Special Teaching Authorization in Physical Education for members of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps would serve as recognition that the credential holder has met the subject matter requirement and represent another option for school boards considering whether to grant high school graduation credit for ROTC or Basic Military Drill.

Commissioner Julia Tiffany-Morales, also a school board member in the Campbell Union School District, helped her fellow CTC members understand the boots-on-the-ground impacts of the proposal in the board room and demonstrated the value of the designated board member seat on the CTC.

CSBA testified in support of the authorization, noting that the right of boards to determine whether or not to grant PE credits is in statute and not changed by this authorization.  The authorization will give greater clarity to the public about the skills of ROTC leaders and greater leverage for boards when working with military units to ensure their leaders have the requisite training.

Much of the conversation and testimony focused on whether ROTC was appropriately a PE course, an issue not on the table, with some objecting to having individuals without full teaching credentials teaching core subjects and undermining the profession. District ROTC leaders expressed a desire to satisfy the basic skills requirement and implement state physical education standards.

Tiffany-Morales emphasized that as board members we aren’t experts at all things curriculum or credentialing and that the authorization would be helpful in making local decisions.  It is not the CTC’s role to direct boards in making local curriculum decisions, she said, but rather to provide information.  She also noted that within the new Local Control and Accountability Plan requirements, strengthening the ROTC option for engaging students was a valuable tool.

The proposal was heard at the prior CTC meeting and failed after a close vote.  It returned at this meeting due to a significant number of comments during the 15-day regulation comment period encouraging restoration of the language.  With the April approval another 15-day comment period ensues and if there are again public comments, the matter will be heard again at the June CTC meeting.

Comments may be submitted on the CTC website under the rulemaking tab.

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