Commission on Teacher Credentialing outlines 2023 priorities

In its first meeting of 2023, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) outlined its work for the year, reviewed analysis from the first three years of the Teacher Residency Grant Programs, and, after much discussion, approved Literacy Program Standards and Teaching Performance Expectations for Education Specialist Low Incidence Disability areas, which include students with visual impairments, deaf and hard of hearing students, and children aged 0-5 with disabilities.

New Chair Marquita Grenot-Scheyer opened the Feb. 9-10 meeting with a review of the commission’s responsibilities, and a pledge to continue to be bold in fulfilling those responsibilities. The CTC has four areas under its purview: educator preparation and assessments, educator licensure and related discipline issues, developing and disseminating reports on key issues, and administering and monitoring grants for educators entering the teacher pipeline.

2023 commission goals

Executive Director Mary Vixie Sandy shared the CTC’s goals and projects for the year:

  • Standards
    • Reviewing and strengthening educator preparation standards to ensure attention to equity, diversity and inclusion is a priority
    • Updating the Social Science Subject Matter Requirements to include and address ethnic studies in preparation for it becoming a high school graduation requirement beginning with the class of 2025–26
    • Finalizing updates to the California Standards for the Teaching Profession
  • Teaching Performance Assessments (TPAs)
    • Finalizing and launching the TPA for the PK-3 Early Childhood Education Specialist credential
    • Continuing work on TPAs for low-incidence and education specialist credential areas
    • Beginning work to incorporate the new Literacy Standards and Teaching Performance Expectations into preparation program
  • Launching new grant-funded statewide technical assistance center for residency programs
Teacher Residency Programs

The Teacher Residency Grant Programs — Capacity, Residency, and Expansion — were included in the 2018–19 state budget to support the development, implementation and expansion of teacher residency programs. Additional funding was provided in the 2021–22 budget. A total of $75 million was available in the original funding for competitive grants for local educational agencies to work in partnership with institutions of higher education (IHEs) with CTC-approved teacher preparation programs to offer a teacher residency pathway to earn a teaching credential in special education, STEM or bilingual education. The 2021 legislation adds that the funds can be used to “retain a diverse teacher workforce that reflects a local education agency community’s diversity.”

WestEd researchers used qualitative and quantitative data to evaluate the success of the programs thus far. For Year 3 (2021–22) of the 2018 Teacher Residency Grant Programs, LEAs reported a total of 317 teacher residents. Almost 79 percent are female, 49 percent are Hispanic/Latino, 20 percent are white, 5 percent are Black/African American, and 10 percent are Asian.

While about 80 percent of 2020–21 completers were hired as teachers for the 2021–22 school year, about 90 percent of the two previous cohorts were hired, and 88 percent of those are still teaching in their second year.

“Staff is happy to present additional evidence here that one of the intended outcomes of the grant funding is being met, that the residents being hired are diversifying the teacher workforce in the state with 69 percent of those hired self-identifying as non-white,” said CTC consultant Lynn Larsen.

WestEd researchers identified program barriers through formative evaluations of program participants at the student, LEA and IHE levels. “When we asked partnerships about recruitment challenges, the financial barriers posed to residents was the challenge most frequently identified by the residents,” said Kate Hirschboeck, WestEd senior research associate. “A majority are experiencing financial hardships during their residency year. Around 30 percent experience food or housing and security and just over half experienced in an inability to pay bills or education expenses.”

Hirschboeck said this makes the program hard to compete with intern credentials, in which the teacher candidate teaches on their own in a classroom and is paid a salary. She cited the need for partnerships to braid different funding streams in order to provide more financial support to teacher residents. Another barrier identified by WestEd was a lack of cohesive leadership within the partnerships between LEAs and IHEs. Specific issues cited were an insufficient staffing structure to do the work and a lack of advisory or governance structure to regularly engage LEA and IHE leadership.

For more detailed information, visit the California Teacher Residency Grant Program Dashboard.

The current state budget includes $20 million for technical support for the Teacher Residency Program and the just-announced School Counselor Residency Program, and applications are being accepted through March 10 from LEAs interested in serving as a Statewide Residency Technical Assistance Center to support teacher and school counselor residency programs.

SB 488 implementation continues

Senate Bill 488 will eliminate the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (RICA) and instead require preparation programs to incorporate evidence-based means of teaching foundational literacy skills (like print concepts, phonological awareness, phonics and fluency); tiered supports; ongoing diagnostic techniques and early intervention; alignment with the State Board of Education’s English Language Arts/English Language Development (ELA/ELD) Framework; the incorporation of the California Dyslexia Guidelines and more.

The commission adopted the Literacy Program Standards and TPEs for Education Specialist Low-Incidence Disability Areas, which include students with visual impairments, deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) students, and children aged 0-5 with disabilities. While the visual impairments credential was approved without stipulations, after concerned public comment from the field and a discussion among commissioners, the DHH and early childhood special education Literacy Program Standards were approved with the caveat that certain areas would be clarified and adjusted in the implementation handbook for these Education Specialist Low-Incidence Disability areas. The program standards and TPEs will replace the 2019 Literacy TPEs beginning July 1, 2024, and all credential programs will need to be aligned with these standards by that date. A Literacy Teaching Performance Assessment must be in place by July 2025.