Reforming Urban Teacher Education: SB 2042 Implementation Five Years Later

Article excerpt

Introduction

In October 2002, the multiple and single subject credential programs at a large urban Los Angeles Basin California State University campus, were approved as Early Adopters of the SB 2042 Professional Teacher Preparation Program. These programs resulted from a complex and multi-faceted process of change supported and influenced by reform initiatives at the regional, state and national levels over approximately a 15 year period. Often, these initiatives were complementary, providing resources and insights enabling strategic and profound transformations in the conceptualization, design, and implementation of teacher education. At other times, they were contradictory, causing programs to be modified in the midst of scale up, or dismantled.

The omnibus legislation to overhaul teacher preparation, passed in 1998, Senate Bill 2042 (Chap. 587, Stats. 1999), mandated five critical attributes of teacher preparation: (a) multiple pathways, (b) the same accreditation standards for all pathways, (c) alignment of teacher preparation standards with the State-adopted K-12 academic content standards, (d) a two tiered credential structure consisting of teacher preparation completed at an IHE or district program and an induction program completed while employed, and (e) a summative teaching performance assessment for teacher candidates.

The Standards of Quality and Effectiveness for Professional Teacher Preparation Programs (2001) created by a panel of stakeholders and approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) required teacher educators to modify their programs in the following conceptual ways: (a) candidates must be prepared in their content area in alignment with the K-12 Academic Content Standards, (b) candidates should be prepared in specific content pedagogy which is evaluated in a reliable and valid assessment, (c) candidates must be given multiple opportunities to learn and perform the competencies described in the standards, and (d) articulation must occur with professional teacher induction programs. In addition, the new standards incorporated other legislation concerning technology and English learners, as well as previous requirements for health and special needs population. This content was divided into two levels of responsibility: theory and practice at the teacher preparation level and implementation at the induction level.

An analysis of the process that occurred at this urban, diverse, public university may be considered a case study to illustrate resources for and constraints against teacher education reform. Factors that mitigated this transformation include:

* The school's and department's mission to support the quality preparation of reflective urban teachers provided clarity of vision and urgency for action. Inherent in this mission was the marriage of quality and equity, a subject of intense dialogue among teacher educators.

* Candidates in the program reflect the diversity of local public schools, thereby strengthening the diversity goal while underlining in an immediate fashion the perils of high-stakes testing in diverse multilingual populations. A significant number of these candidates had experienced difficulty in norm-referenced high-stakes tests previously established in California as part of teacher credentialing.

* Public universities, like public schools, can often garner grant funds to conceptualize, plan and pilot transformations in models and practices; yet in the long term, they have undependable revenue streams to maintain reforms once implementation has begun.

This article situates this case study in the historical context of teacher reform in the United States, analyzes the state process of reform within the national context, outlines the regional endeavors that enabled much of the reform at this institution, and studies the transformation process from the perspective of a particular faculty and department. …