California Educator

April 2014

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C U R R I C U L U M A N D I N S T R U C T I O N C O M M I T T E E members organized a Q&A on Common Core State Standards issues with State Board of Education member and CTA legislative advocate Patricia Rucker. And Council members had plenty of ques- tions. The wide-ranging discussion addressed such topics as appreciation and concern about the standards themselves, implementation, negotiating resources for implementation, where and how funds are spent, technology, accountability, and professional development. Below is a sample of the questions asked. BEN FOLEY (Byron Teachers Association): People are making curricula out of the standards. Brains need knowledge, not just how to find things on Google. I'm afraid the practice of building learning systematically is being ignored. PATRICIA RUCKER: When the State Board of Education (under a previous ad- ministration) adopted CCSS, they chose not to adopt the introductory material or the anchor standards or the reading list. Two years later, the board I'm on adopted all those other aspects. CCSS are not a curriculum. They do provide guidance on creating and scaffolding curriculum. We demonstrate how to go about doing those at CTA trainings. ALITA BLANC (United Educators of San Francisco): Can we say no to high- stakes testing? I'm concerned about the tests being good and equitable, and the costs of the tests. I'm afraid they'll be linked to evaluations and privatiza- tion schemes. PATRICIA RUCKER: Let's take a step back. States could choose to join one or both assessment consortiums — Smarter Balanced (SBAC) or Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). CTA's State Council voted to endorse Smarter Balanced because the PARCC contract included a requirement that linked performance of individual teachers to student outcomes. SBAC was clear: The assessments are designed to give teachers the feedback they need to inform instruction, and the tools to improve teaching and learning. Now, we assess students all the time. We want to know what students know so we can adjust instruction. But there's a different meaning in high- stakes testing. High-stakes testing is wrong — it creates winners and losers. CTA derailed the high-stakes testing with AB 484, which eliminated outdated STAR tests, called for field testing only of the new computer-based assessments this year, and suspended the use of student test scores for the state's accountability system for three years. But it's still coming around the corner. So our major learning thus far is this: We must have two conversations — one about standards, and a separate one about testing. While they are linked by teaching and learning, the two issues are separate. CTA & You COMMON CORE: A SPIRITED Q&A WITH PATRICIA RUCKER June primary and November election. Council reaffirmed its support for state Superintendent Tom Torlakson, who is battling investment banker Marshall Tuck, a candidate backed by wealthy school privatizers and Michelle Rhee. Torlakson, a "lifelong educator" and author of the Quality Education Investment Act, supports learning over testing and opposes evaluating teachers based on test scores, delegates said. On Sunday, CTA honored Janet Eberhardt, United Educators of San Francisco, who accepted the newly named Paula Monroe ESP of the Year Award on behalf of all education support professionals who dedicate their life to children and family. "My job gives me the platform to do what I love with purpose and focus. I'm a child advocate." And California's nominee for National Teacher of the Year, Timothy Smith, thanked delegates for being the voice of teachers in California. "You are the rallying cry, the stalwart protection for every teacher, union or not," said the Elk Grove Education Association member. "You are the last line of defense that enables us to teach each day. You are the heroes." For more information, talk to your delegate or go to In other actions, Council: • Honored National ESP of the Year Paula Monroe and CTA ESP of the Year Janet Eberhardt (see page 52). • Honored the 2014 California Teachers of the Year: Timothy Smith, Elk Grove Education Association, California's nominee for National Teacher of the Year; Angelo "Ang" Bracco, Vallejo Education Asso- ciation; Michael Hayden, Manhattan Beach Unified Teachers Association; Linda Horist, Orange Uni - fied Education Association; and Jessica Pack, Palm Springs Teachers Association. • Re-elected CTA Board members E. Toby Boyd (Dis- trict E), George Melendez (District H), Michael Stone (District N) and Marty Meeden (At-large), and elected Sonia Martin-Solis (CTA/NEA Coordinating Director). • Re-elected CTA/ABC Committee members Clete Brad- ford (District G), Karen R. Schuett (District H) and Christopher Bushée (District I), and elected Brannin Dorsey (District B), Joe Bartell (District M) and Amy Hall (District O). • Elected NEA Directors Bill Freeman (District 10) and Bill Sammons (District 12). • Recommended Princess Moss for NEA Secretary- Treasurer. 51 A P R I L 2 0 1 4 Educator 04 Apr 2014 v2.3 int.indd 51 4/15/14 12:05 AM

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