New teacher credentials increase for the 10th year; ECE Specialist Credential prep moves forward

In its first in-person meeting since March 2020, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing approved sending to Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature the report, “Teacher Supply in California, 2020–21,” and conducted a review of four key foundational components for establishing a PK-3 Early Childhood Education (ECE) Specialist Credential for California early childhood teachers.

“There is an incredible amount of joy to come into this room and into this building and see you all in person,” said Commission Chair Tine Sloan. “And at the same time, we are reeling from what has happened the past two years — teachers and administrators and students are especially reeling as are our educators in preparation, all of those preparing them and all of us sitting in the room here.”

Candidates earning credentials in 2020–21
Determining teacher supply in California is essential for policymakers as they analyze how current statutes and policies impact teacher recruitment, teaching incentives and teacher preparation. “Teacher Supply in California, 2020–21: A Report to the Legislature” provides data collected by the CTC and addresses several questions regarding the supply of new teachers available for classrooms. The report covers the number of teachers who received credentials, certificates, permits and waivers to teach in public schools.

  • Some highlights contained in the report:
    • From 2019–20 to 2020–21, there was an overall increase of 9.3 percent in newly issued teaching     credentials for Multiple Subject, Single Subject and Education Specialist. This marks a seventh year in which there was an increase since the 10-year decline between 2004–05 and 2013–14.
    • The number of new credentials issued showed an increase for California institute of higher education (IHE)-prepared (13.3 percent) and California district/county-prepared (54 percent), and a decline for out-of-state-prepared (15 percent). California IHEs prepared more than four-fifths of the total new teaching credentials issued in 2020–21. The district/county-prepared pathway here includes only the intern delivery model (not teacher residency programs).
    o Nearly 60 percent of newly credentialed teachers came through the student teaching, or traditional, pathway and 22 percent came through the university intern pathway. Teachers prepared in other states or other countries who became credentialed in California comprised 14.4 percent, and the remaining 4.2 percent of teachers were prepared through district/county-prepared intern programs.
    • The proportion of Multiple Subject credentials increased by 3.6 percentage points and
    the Education Specialist credentials by 0.7 percentage points, while the proportion of
    Single Subject credentials decreased by 4.3 percentage points between 2016–17 and
    • There was a decline of Short-term Staff Permits (STSPs) and Provisional Intern Permits(PIPs) issued between 2019–20 and 2020–21 (46.4 percent and 50.3 percent,
    • There was a dramatic increase (by 107.4 percent) in the number of waivers issued
    between 2019–20 and 2020–21. Staff credited much of this increase to issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

CSBA President and CTC Commissioner Dr. Susan Heredia talked about the need to recruit bilingual candidates following the presentation. “I agree with the speaker who talked about the idea of looking at teacher recruitment for those who have earned the Seal of Biliteracy in schools — to tap into that resource because they will be the ones, hopefully, that will be able to meet the demand for more bilingual teachers as more dual immersion programs are established across the state.”

Chair Sloan raised concerns about the amount of STSPs, PIPs, interns and waivers. “Only 40 percent of teachers who started their career with an intern or waiver get fully credentialed, and of those, 40 percent left the profession within three years,” she said. “That’s really problematic because we’re losing them. Preparation matters. This kind of data shows how critical that is in doing our work. As we grow around teacher residencies and our understanding of innovative staffing models that can capitalize on multiple professionals preparing within a school but preparing under the supervision of more-expert teachers.”

The CTC also collects information regarding race/ethnicity of new teacher candidates. The report found that overall, more than half of the teacher candidates identified themselves belonging to a
non-white race/ethnicity category. The proportion of teacher candidates who identified
themselves as Hispanic/Latino of any race has increased from 29.8 percent in 2015–16 to 32.5
percent in 2019–20 (2.7 percentage points). However, Black teachers decreased in the same time period from 5.1 percent in 2015–16 to 3.1 percent in 2019–20.

ECE Specialist credential preparation moves forward
The commission reviewed the body of work generated and presented from the ECE Specialist Workgroup, including four key foundational components for establishing a PK-3 ECE Specialist Credential for early childhood teachers, and pathways and options for candidates to complete each of the proposed credential requirements. This was an information item.

  • The four proposed foundational components are:
    • Every credential issued by the commission contains an authorization statement that frames what services the credential holder is allowed to perform. The proposed
    Authorization Statement for the PK-3 ECE Specialist Credential is “This credential authorizes the holder to teach all subjects in a self-contained general education classroom setting and, as a self-contained classroom teacher, to team teach or to regroup students across classrooms, in preschool through grade three.”
    • Draft PK-3 ECE Specialist Credential Teaching Performance Expectations (TPEs)
    • Proposed credential requirements for the PK-3 ECE Specialist Credential including 24 units in early childhood education, child development or both
    • Draft PK-3 ECE Specialist preparation program standards

The draft TPEs integrate the job role expectations of early childhood educators at both the PK level and the TK-3 levels. They draw from, integrate and align with not only the ECE TPEs and the Multiple Subject TPEs, but also with the Early Childhood Education Specialist TPEs, the Literacy TPEs and NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) standards. The draft TPEs have undergone an initial field review survey. The survey results included more than 900 responses from a variety of related fields and “support a clear consensus that these TPEs are clearly stated; include knowledge, skills, and abilities needed by PK-3 ECE Specialist Credential holders from the first day on the job; contain no content that should be removed; and need no further content additions.”

Public comment failed to agree with this assessment, however, with many callers from the ECE field calling upon the CTC for further collaboration with those who have expertise in early childhood education. Concerns were also shared that workable pathways are not being developed for early childhood educators to obtain a PK-3 ECE Specialist Credential

Mary Nicely, chief deputy superintendent at the California Department of Education, addressed these issues. “There have been concerns that the options for serving in TK are not sufficiently grounded in child development and ECE practices to ensure that we have a well-prepared teaching force who understand developmentally appropriate practice,” she said. “I think we have the right people at this table and in our field who are engaging with us. This meeting is a real starting point for the continued engagement that we plan to have with our educational partners regarding a new ECE Specialist Credential. That said, until the state has an ECE Specialist Credential grounded in child development and focused on developmentally appropriate practice for children and preschool through third grade, we will have to rely on the credentials we have that are not grounded or focused in a particular way.”

Presenters also noted that the process for candidates to earn this credential will include intentional bridges for Child Development Permit holders as well as multiple subject credential holders and new candidates.

In addition, the ECE Specialist Workgroup strongly felt that because of the significantly different developmental levels of and pedagogical practices for young children in PK as compared to those in grade 3, for example, all candidates for a PK-3 credential should have clinical practice experiences at two different grade levels: one experience in PK or TK, and another in a higher elementary grade level (e.g., first, second or third).

Before the June CTC meeting, staff noted they will work collaboratively with education partners and communities of interest to provide additional opportunities for feedback and discussion.

The next Commission on Teacher Credentialing meeting is June 16–17, 2022.