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Staff Analysis of the Professional Personnel Development Working Group Final Report

The following analysis sets forth the specific recommendations contained in the final report of the Professional Personnel Development Working Group, organized by the categories contained in the report. The staff comments that follow each section are intended to illuminate those recommendations, the deliberations that led to those recommendations, and/or important information that should be considered in evaluating those recommendations.

Goals of the Working Group

The Joint Committee to Develop a Master Plan for Education established the Working Group on Professional Personnel Development (PPD) to provide recommendations related to educational personnel that achieve the following goals:

  • Every student will have the opportunity to learn from a fully qualified teacher or faculty member.
  • The state will ensure a sufficient supply of teachers, faculty and administrators with the qualifications necessary to promote student learning.
The Working Group also established additional goals of ensuring that (1) students and schools with the greatest challenges have access to the best teachers and administrators, and (2) teacher preparation programs fully train teachers in subject matter and pedagogy.

The PPD Working Group determined that to meet its goals, it would be essential to establish an operational definition of "teacher quality" and "administrator quality" that would apply to the continuum of careers for those professionals and serve as reference points for the Working Group deliberations and subsequent recommendations. The Group did not view a credential as a sole determinant of quality, but recommended its retention for K-12 personnel as an indicator of initial preparation and competence. The Working Group's definitions for quality were:

  • Teacher quality
Teacher quality is an attribute that grows and diminishes based on conditions in which a teacher works, personal motivation, and opportunities for growth and development. The following qualities are essential for a teacher to possess in order to be considered initially qualified, or qualified to begin work in the teaching profession with the expectation that much more will be added with time, practice, professional collaboration, and opportunities for focused growth and development:
  • Subject matter knowledge that is broad, deep and related to the public school curriculum;
  • Pedagogical knowledge and skill that includes a repertoire of teaching strategies that are responsive to a range of learning needs;
  • Commitment to professional collaboration;
  • Ability to examine student work and student data and respond accordingly;
  • Belief that all children can achieve state adopted academic content and performance standards with appropriate time, instruction and intervention; and
  • Ability to be reflective about their own teaching and modify practice as necessary and appropriate to enhance student learning.
  • Administrator quality
The following qualities are essential for an administrator to possess in order to be considered initially qualified:
  • Demonstrated teacher effectiveness and ability to expertly supervise instruction;
  • Ability to use data to drive decision making;
  • Strong overall leadership skills and the ability to lead, manage and direct change;
  • Ability to effectively allocate financial and human resources; and
  • Ability to communicate effectively with a diverse range of constituents, including fellow educators, students, parents and families, and community groups.
The PPD Working Group proposes 14 major recommendations for professional personnel development - the first three concern state and regional issues, recommendations four through nine are regarding K-12, and recommendations ten through fourteen deal with postsecondary education. For brevity, certain sub-recommendations are paraphrased in this analysis and immediately follow the recommendation. Those sub-recommendations variously provide expansion on the primary recommendation or constitute a strategic plan for implementing the recommendation.

State/Regional Recommendations

  • Place responsibility for coordination of K-12 professional personnel development activities in the Governor's Office through the Office of the Secretary for Education.
  • Create an independent entity that is responsible for collecting data related to teaching and school administration, and evaluating programs and initiatives.
  • Forge voluntary regional partnerships to provide program coordination, evaluation, monitoring and intervention at the local level.
Staff Comments
  1. While the Group would assign responsibility for statewide coordination and monitoring of the state's investment in professional development activities to the Governor (through the Secretary for Education), it does not recommend change in actual control of those programs. The Working Group concluded that the State currently lacks an over-arching view of, or coordination of, the comprehensive scope and effectiveness of professional development activities, and recommended that the Secretary assume responsibility for filling those needs, facilitating dialogue among multiple controlling entities through a representative advisory body. Based on prior State experience, if the Joint Committee adopts this recommendation, it should ensure that sufficient authority be given to the Secretary to ensure that the office can carry out its coordinating responsibilities.
  2.   The Group recommends the creation of an unspecified independent entity - noting that independence would enhance credibility - to be responsible for data collection to support the evaluation of teacher and administrator programs and initiatives. This recommendation is consistent with prior recommendations of the Governance Working Group regarding data collection; the Joint Committee should consider the integration of multiple data systems, where possible, to maximize efficacy. Additionally, it will be essential that any such entity be given clear authority to ensure that necessary, accurate data are appropriately submitted to it.
  3. The report recommends that the voluntary regional partnerships perform: (1) program coordination and technical assistance; (2) monitoring; (3) evaluation; and (4) intervention. However, the report is silent on the source of authority for intervention by the partnership and the circumstance(s) that would prompt intervention (FCMAT, which has strong intervention authority, is cited as an example to be emulated by the partnership). Additionally, regional service provision is discussed in the Governance Working Group report; the Joint Committee may wish to consider the importance of ensuring that regions and regional entities for various services coincide.
K-12 Professional Personnel Development Recommendations
  1. Require that all teachers are adequately prepared prior to assuming responsibility for a classroom. (Sub-recommendations include: pay greater attention to the recent proliferation of emergency permits; set a 5-10 year timeline for phasing out emergency permit use, or at least eliminate their usage in lowest performing (1-2 decile) schools; replace all emergency permits with required Pre-Internship program participation; and increase the capacity of California postsecondary institutions to prepare more educators.)
  2. Focus more state resources and attention on hard to staff schools. (Sub-recommendations include: The State should set minimum teacher working conditions standards for cleanliness, safety, adequate teaching materials, etc., with special attention to compliance in decile 1 and 2 schools; create block grant funding for high poverty schools to be used for class size reduction, professional development, professional support staff such as counselors and nurses, instructional materials, and academic support services; teacher preparation, induction, and ongoing professional development should focus on teaching in urban settings and teaching particularly challenging children; and the State should provide grant funding to create professional development schools that facilitate partnerships between colleges/universities and low-performing schools.)
  3. Redesign professional development activities by the state, regional entities, and local school districts as well as invest more resources in human capital development. (Sub-recommendations include: provision of ongoing funding for up to 10 additional days of staff development in 10 percent of the state's school districts, selected on a competitive basis according to program quality criteria; funding for selected districts to link increased staff development days to increased instructional days; and grant funding for professional development activities integrated into the regular instructional day.)
  4. Redouble state efforts to diversify the educational workforce.
  5. Establish a career ladder for teachers that enables outstanding teachers to stay in the classroom.
  6. Develop partnerships between local school districts and higher education institutions to recruit, prepare and train quality principals.
Staff Comments
  1. The report notes that a "quick fix" to the teacher shortage California is experiencing will not be possible; therefore, a phased response will be needed. As a result, the initial implications of the recommendations to require that all classroom teachers be adequately prepared prior to assuming responsibility for a classroom - with limits on the available teacher pool - are likely to be larger class sizes or some modification of current class-size reduction strategies (e.g., 40:2 student/adult ratios, in which one adult is an adequately qualified teacher).

    Because emergency permit usage is unevenly concentrated in subsets of schools, the sub-recommendation to eliminate emergency permit usage, or at least to do so in schools with the greatest educational challenges, will require the movement of adequately prepared teachers to those schools. Issues of assignment or incentive that permit this movement will need to be reconciled with local collective bargaining. (For reference, New York City addressed this issue by authorizing the Chancellor to assign all newly credentialed (first year) teachers to schools.

    Expanding the educator preparation capacity of California's postsecondary institutions will require either a significant new investment or a redirection of resources. Additionally, such an expansion will depend on the availability of sufficient numbers of faculty in education and other disciplines who are willing and able to prepare additional educators (see postsecondary recommendations, below).

  2. The Group's suggestion that the State set minimum standards for the teacher workplace (schools) is currently being addressed more directly through the courts from the perspective of students. In May of 2000 the judge in the ongoing case of Williams et al v. State of California et al declined to dismiss the action, ruling that if the student plaintiffs proved their allegations of inadequate conditions in their schools (including, in addition to those cited by the Group in its subrecommendations, inadequately trained teachers), that proof "would demonstrate that, despite the State's legal obligations with respect to public education, these plaintiffs do not enjoy the level of educational opportunity to which they are [constitutionally] entitled."

    One of the limited uses the Group proposes for the special block grant funding that the Group recommends for schools with large proportions of students from very low income homes is class size reduction. Given current reliance on large numbers of teachers with emergency credentials, accomplishing further class size reduction in any schools would be problematical when attempted in tandem with the Group's recommendations of required higher minimum teacher qualifications.

    The Group's suggestion of grant funding 'seed money' to explore the possibility of creating professional development schools focused on facilitating partnerships between colleges/universities and low performing schools may not reflect the long range approach appropriate for elements of a Master Plan for Education.

  3. The report calls for a redesign of professional development activities with emphases on research base, systemic integration into the school day/year, scholarship of teaching and learning, and linkage to academic content standards. The proposal of awarding extra funding for staff development to a limited number of school districts solely on the basis of the quality of proposals submitted might well be operationally incompatible with the focus on low performing schools that the Group otherwise recommends.
  4. The Group recommends a strong commitment to diversifying the educational workforce, noting in particular the benefits of students' having instructors with whom they can relate and identify. This goal has long been a high legislative priority for postsecondary education, as delineated in prior reviews of the Master Plan for Higher Education, with little success to date. The report recommends three strategies to achieve the objective, each of which would tap into a candidate pool that is traditionally more racially and ethnically diverse than the comprehensive, statewide pool: enhance the role of community colleges in teacher preparation; expand outreach efforts; and expand "career changers" outreach. (Small-scale programs in each of these areas have been implemented in recent years.) Enhanced collaboration between community colleges and postsecondary institutions that offer teacher/administrator preparation can potentially access the largest pool of diverse candidates, while offering additional benefits of collaboration among postsecondary segments. Certain professional "career change" programs have demonstrated particular success due to the existing commitment to working with students that participants have. Pursuant to Proposition 209, the State's legal ability to target particular populations in recruitment efforts is limited.
  5. In its recommendation to establish a career ladder for experienced teachers and enhance the professionalization of teaching, the Group recognizes that a key component of California's teacher shortage is those experienced teachers who leave the profession either to attain a promotional opportunity or to remove themselves from conditions that are not conducive to their success and growth. The Group proposes enhanced roles for experienced teachers, including supervision and instructional leadership, and recommends incentive funding and differential pay for such roles, to be reconciled within collective bargaining. Additional administrative roles suggested for experienced teachers, such as teacher evaluation, require a fundamental reexamination of labor/management relations. (The Governance Working Group recommended a limited examination of collective bargaining; if that is conducted, should administrative roles for teachers be included?) Also, enhanced roles for experienced teachers may reduce their time spent actually teaching students further aggravating the shortage of well-qualified teachers.
  6. Meaningful partnerships should result in more appropriately prepared administrators, more responsive to school-identified needs. This outcome is more likely to occur if public school partners clearly articulate the needs of their school/district and the postsecondary education partners are responsive to those needs by modifying preparation programs to ensure the provision of needed skills. Pilot grants to support development of such partnerships might be an effective way to grow educational partnerships throughout the state.
Postsecondary Professional Personnel Development Recommendations
  1. Increase the capability of California colleges and universities to attract and hire qualified faculty members. (Sub-recommendations include:expanding financial incentives to attract and retain talented faculty, and increasing production of masters and doctoral degrees in high need areas within California's public, private, and independent universities)
  2. Develop an infrastructure at California colleges and universities to support the ongoing professional development of faculty to improve the quality of teaching and promote student learning. (Sub-recommendations include: increasing financial support for teaching and learning and specifying the responsibilities of various entities for ensuring the effectiveness of the teaching and learning infrastructure)
  3. Commission a study to evaluate the impact of temporary (part-time and full-time) faculty. (Sub-recommendations include: temporary faculty preparation, their impact on student outcomes and advisement, and their impact on the workload of tenured faculty)
  4. Ensure qualified leadership for California community colleges. (Sub-recommendations include: developing and offering community college leadership programs ant CSU and UC campuses; establishing fellowships to support prospective community college leaders; establishing a research focus on community college leadership; improving employment conditions for community college leaders; and monitoring the effectiveness of these initiatives)
  5. Develop new and expanded education doctorate programs in the public sector in collaboration with K-12 educational leaders and community colleges.
Staff Comments
  1. Aggregately, the report recommends that additional resources be provided to support effective recruitment and retention of faculty and community college leadership, including (1) expansion of efforts to recruit faculty from under-represented groups; (2) increasing the production of doctoral programs by public, private, and independent postsecondary institutions; (3) more competitive compensation and incentive packages; and (4) improved employment conditions for community college leadership. The Group expressed additional concern for community college leadership by also recommending that the state include community college leadership preparation and development as a focus of the state's research efforts. A key consideration is the absence of any compelling information that sufficient numbers of qualified people are available and willing to prepare for, and accept, faculty and college leadership positions. Staff further notes that there may be an even greater paucity of candidates to appoint to faculty positions within the various schools/colleges of education. The latter recommendation - a research focus on community college leadership - has implications for the data elements that should be considered for inclusion in the data to be collected by the unspecified data collection entity recommended by both the Professional Personnel Development and the Governance Working Groups.
  2. The Group also determined that effective teaching was such an important component of high quality education that it chose to recommend expanded resources to support professional development activities, with a particular emphasis on improving the teaching skills of faculty and development of an increasing pool of experts in teaching and learning. A March 2000 report issued by the Little Hoover Commission asserted that the fundamental purpose of community colleges is to teach but concluded that "quality teaching in not a universal priority" throughout the state. Unlike elementary and secondary schools, postsecondary education faculty are not required to possess a teaching credential. Rather, an appropriate masters degree (for the community colleges) or doctoral degree in an appropriate discipline (for universities) is required for employment as a faculty member. This recommendation would direct attention to some combination of requiring evidence of teaching effectiveness prior to employment as a faculty member or participation in professional development activities to acquire effective teaching skills for a diverse group of learners.
  3. The Group acknowledges a growing use of temporary faculty in California's postsecondary institutions but felt it had seen insufficient evidence to conclude that the quality of teaching and learning are impaired by this trend. Pursuant to the 1980s review of the Master Plan for Higher Education, statute was enacted that called for an average faculty mix of 75 percent full-time and 25 percent part time in community colleges. However, the community colleges have not received funding adequate to fully implement this statutory requirement and the goal has never been attained. The Chancellor's Office of the California Community Colleges also commissioned a study on the quality of teaching provided by full-time and part-time faculty during fiscal year 2000-2001, although the results of that study have not been released. To determine the extent to which the use of temporary faculty represents a threat to the quality of the overall postsecondary experience, and teaching and learning specifically, the Group recommended a focused study of the impact temporary faculty have on student achievement and on the ability of tenured/tenure track faculty to fulfill other responsibilities. Traditionally, certain responsibilities (e.g.; faculty selection, curricular development) have been designated within the purview of tenured/tenure track faculty only. Extensive use of part-time and temporary faculty requires a heavy time commitment from a proportionally smaller pool of full-time, tenured/tenure track faculty. Staff observe that it may be worthwhile to expand the study to examine the question of what features these tenure-exclusive responsibilities possess that warrant exclusion of qualified temporary faculty.
  4. (See 10 above.)
  5. After review of persuasive testimony on the need for more education doctorate programs in California and evidence that nearly 70 percent of education doctorates in recent years are produced by independent and private institutions (at a higher costs to student participants), the Group chose to recommend expanded production of education doctorates by CSU and UC and regular reports on improvements in this area. The group's decision was based in large measure on the belief that more geographically proximate and lower cost options should be available to educational leaders - the primary focus of expanded education doctorates. The increasingly complex set of responsibilities assigned to school and district education leaders was also advanced as rationale for an expansion of low-cost and accessible options for earning education doctorates. Two issues remained unaddressed in the report: (1) the absence of documented demand for education doctorates by schools, districts, or colleges that employ educational leaders, as described in a report by CPEC issued in December 2000; and (2) whether the skills and knowledge required by school and college leaders now and in the future can be provided through revised curricular content in existing masters level administrative leadership programs.
General staff comments
  • The report does not offer specific commentary on the utility (or necessity) of offering differential salaries to attract teachers in shortage areas (e.g.; math, science, bilingual education)
  • The report does not provide cost estimates of the scale of new resources being recommended nor a prioritization among the potential uses of the new resources.
Prepared by Stephen Blake, Charles Ratliff, and John Gilroy, Committee Consultants