California Educator

April/May 2024

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Page 19 of 61

Leslie Littman is CTA Vice President. B E C O M I N G A P U B L I C - S C H O O L T E A C H E R is a calling. It's incredible to see students learn and grow and achieve their dreams. Many see this rewarding career and want to pur- sue it. Which begs the question — why would anyone be in fav or of unn e cessar y hurd l es for th ese aspiring educators? In my work as an educator with more than 30 years in the classroom and as Vice President of the California Teachers Asso- ciation, I've seen first-hand and heard from educators up and down the state about the deeply problematic Teaching Performance Assessments (TPAs). There are no shortage of horror stories about the TPAs. We hear from talented t ea ch ers c on st antly th at th e T PA s are long and time-consuming. They are full of low-value tasks and they come at a very busy time for new educators. They do not prepare teachers for the classroom and detract from programs with proven success. Aspiring teachers learn the teaching craft in the real world. Vital preparation for new educators includes working with mentors to improve their instruction, having time to concentrate on developing quality lesson plans, and learning how to apply knowledge gained from a creden- tial program in real classrooms. These programs consistently assess student teachers. They ensure we meet California's high teaching standards. e TPAs also keep talented educators out of the profession of public education. This is especially true for Black, Indige- nous and People of Color (BIPOC) working to become teachers. Educators of color have raised concerns about racist biases undermining their success at passing the TPAs. Aspiring teachers must pay $300 out of pocket to take these assessments. After spending thousands of dollars on a degree, one can see how this costly assessment becomes an impossible hurdle for too many. is is why CTA is sponsoring Senate Bill 1263 to eliminate the TPAs. is legislation, co-sponsored by Sen. Josh Newman (D-Ful- lerton), will remove requirements to pass the EdTPA, CalTPA and the Fresno Assess- ment for Student Teachers (FAST). Two years ago, I began leading a CTA workgroup with educators from across the state. We met to study the teacher short- age. We aimed to find ways to ease the problem and increase teacher diversity. e CTA State Council of Education Creden- tialing and Professional Development Committee also studied the issue. Both groups reached the same conclusion. e TPAs hurt teacher training. ey harm our new teacher pipeline and hinder efforts to diversify public education careers. We took the information and analysis from these educators It's Time to End the TPA Teaching Performance Assessments do more harm than good in preparing aspiring educators for the classroom. New legislation aims to change that. By Leslie Littman "We must end the unnecessary TPA and evolve our state system of educator preparation to better equip teachers to bridge California's diverse students to bright futures, while continuing to uphold the high standards for teachers that our students deserve." 18 Spotlight

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