California Educator

February 2011

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CTA advocate appointed to State Board of Education Education by Gov. Jerry Brown will give CTA members an important voice in education policy. This appointment is extremely timely, with major issues such as budget cuts, Race to the Top and the reau- thorization of No Child Left Behind looming. “I am extremely honored,” says T Rucker, a former teacher of the year in Sacramento County with 15 years of classroom experience at the K-12 and university levels in California. “My goal is to balance the priorities of student learning conditions and teacher working condi- tions. You cannot improve one at the ex- pense of the other.” Rucker’s appointment to the board was based on her expertise regarding state and federal education programs and issues. As a lobbyist, she was instrumental in the pas- sage of laws improving teaching and learn- ing conditions, such as SB 1209 (the Jack Scott bill, which eliminated 150 clock hours of professional growth) and more re- cently AB 2160 by Assembly Member Kar- en Bass, allowing teachers who hold a cre- dential authorizing them to teach students with mild to moderate disabilities to also serve students with autism spectrum dis- orders (ASD). The appointment of Rucker and other public school educators to the State Board of Education has been described as the be- ginning of a new era in school politics. As part of the overhaul, the newly elected gov- ernor replaced seven of 11 board members with experienced educators, including Dr. Michael Kirst, professor emeritus at Stan- ford University. All appointees must be confirmed by the state Senate. “Clearly, the governor’s intent was put- ting seven expert educators together so that the conversation about schools could be framed by people who understand the 24 California Educator | FEBRUARY 2011 ABOVE: CTA Legislative Advocate Pat Rucker (right) is con- gratulated by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson immediately after taking the oath of office to be- come a member of the State Board of Education. he appointment of CTA legisla- tive advocate Patricia Ann Rucker to the State Board of conditions of teaching and learning,” says Rucker. Vitally important, she adds, is the op- portunity for teacher input on accountabil- ity measures such as linking student test scores to teacher evaluations. As the Com- mon Core State Standards are implement- ed, she looks forward to working on align- ment between standards and the new cur- riculum and testing materials that will be adopted. “It is exciting to see this new board and to hopefully see new openness in these im- portant conversations,” says Rucker. “We didn’t have that opportunity before.” CTA President David A. Sanchez prais- es the governor for his appointments and his willingness to give teachers a voice in education matters. “We commend Gov. Brown for appoint- ing educators who reflect and understand the complexities of our public schools,” says Sanchez. “Many of these appointees have worked in the classroom and under- stand the challenges and needs of Califor- nia’s students. The voices of educators will be critical as the state faces urgent issues requiring the kind of knowledge and back- ground these educators bring to these vital positions.” SHERRY POSNICK-GOODWIN CTA photo by Len Feldman

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