California Educator

November 2014

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H A S E R O L L I N G S , first-year teacher at Moreland Middle School in San Jose, recently learned his district had eliminated a program that provided new teachers with mentoring and helped them earn their clear credential as required by law. "I was disappointed, because I could use the support," says the social studies, language arts and reading teacher who has classes with more than 30 students. "It could make a big difference. First-year teachers are struggling to get established and stay on top of everything when it comes to running a class, lesson planning, testing, and all the extra- neous stuff you need to learn." Rollings was surprised when B T S A ( B e g i n n i n g Te a c h e r S u p p o r t a n d A s s e s s m e n t ) wa s eliminated. He'd heard it was avail- able in most districts for new teachers. And that was true, for the most part, until recently. It's a trend in California — induction programs are vanishing, despite an increase in education dollars. Some have called the phenomenon an unintended consequence of the new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), because districts are no longer mandated to pay for induction programs. Some new teachers are forced to enroll elsewhere to complete an induction program, and many are being told Paul Mack Where's the support for new teachers? Induction reduction C LAURA MIXON: I am appalled that our new teachers, at the bot- tom of the salary scale, have to pay thousands out of pocket for BTSA. I am so glad I had a district mentor program when I started out. I don't think I would have been able to afford to stay in the profession! These added expensive hoops to jump through just sound like a money-making racket. SHANNON MARY BAILEY: Yeah, BTSA cost me $4,500 out of pocket! SO ridiculous! JANET LEE: Last year was the last year my district paid for BTSA. It scares me because my new colleagues need help and support. As much as I felt it was paperwork at times, it was still good to be part of a support group. The ways to get a teacher down are starting to be ridiculous. It boggles me why anyone would enter the profession. COLIN DAVIS: We have not had BTSA for years. Nothing to pro- vide support for new or existing teachers. We'll see what happens this year. KELLEY FERGUSON-RUSH: We no longer provide BTSA for our teachers. They are forced to go to the county to go through the program which costs $4,000. My daughter just got a job in Downey Unified, and they don't provide the program either. KEVIN BEISER: As a current classroom teacher, I know firsthand the value of BTSA to support new teachers and help them improve. As president of the San Diego Unified School Board, I fought cuts to BTSA and will continue to advocate for this vital program. CHRISTINE H. STRAUB: I have a friend who has been employed by several districts trying to get past layoffs, etc. Due to emergen- cy and intern credentials, she never got a chance at BTSA. Now with years under her, she is not documented as a new teacher and therefore lost her chances at BTSA. It's a valuable program (actually priceless) and she is suffering because she isn't allowed in the program. The current district excuse: Her credential says she isn't allowed to be a part of BTSA. She is on a level 1 special ed credential. She deserves BTSA. ASHLEY BRODBECK: I have three years left to clear my creden- tial. I keep pushing it off because I don't have the funds available to me right now to participate in this. JULIE CRUMRINE: I'm a BTSA support provider in Marin (where it's hard to live on a teacher's salary). I just found out that our new teachers will have to pay about $500 a year. I felt so sad for new teachers. Facebook lit up when we asked if new teachers were having difficulties enrolling in BTSA or being charged for induction. Here are some of the responses. CTA's Facebook page abuzz about BTSA Feature 28

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