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|San Mateo, Santa Clara County, CA||June 5, 2012 Election|
Education Reform: First Focus on Teacher and Principal Training
By Christopher Kent ChiangCandidate for State Senator; District 13
This information is provided by the candidate
Chris Chiang will call for the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) to demand more from university and alternative teacher and principal training programs. Chris will call for state penalties on any education program that does not deliver effective teacher or principal training.Priority number one for California's state education system must be ensuring that effective teacher and principal training is part of the state credentialing process. The state must then identify and recruit the very best in the nation to become our teachers, and then actively select among our teaching force the most talented to become our school leaders. We need a master teacher trainer career track for our talented educators who don't have interest in administration. Every great education system uses its best teachers to train teachers.
Our current education reform focuses on increasing school funding or increasing our dependence on high stakes state testing. We can't test our way to great schools because high stakes testing assumes teachers and students can do better, and just choose not to. We know more than ever what skills make effective teachers. These skills can be taught to teachers. If teachers lack these skills, paying them more or reducing their class sizes does not change how they teach, only training will do that. Most teachers very rarely receive effective training.
Chris Chiang will call for the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) to demand more from university and alternative teacher and principal training programs. Chris will call for state penalties on any education program that does not deliver effective teacher or principal training.
We can measure if a teacher training program is effective by centrally collecting principal observations of teachers and annual teacher surveys in a state database. This would require us to standardize teacher observation forms based on the existing well regarded California Standards for the Teaching Profession. Most school districts already use these standards.
In Singapore they not only centrally collect teacher observation data, they use that data to encourage the most promising teachers to become principals and teacher trainers. We can and should do the same. Most businesses develop leaders; our schools should be no different.
Great schools start with hiring great principals. It is the most cost effective and most powerful, yet most neglected aspect of school reform. Did you know you can become a principal in California by just taking a test? Principal training in California is neither rigorous nor consistent. The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC)'s first task should be to hold principal training to a higher standard. Principal performance evaluations should be centrally collected as well. Both teachers and principals should be required to continue training to retain their state certification. Lawyers and doctors must continue to get training; teachers and principals currently do not. Being a teacher should be as much about learning as teaching.
Improving teacher and principal training is the most important reform, most cost effective, and most within the primary responsibility of the state. It can be done immediately and cheaply.
Position Paper 2
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