California s Demographics To set the stage for where we are and where we re headed, let me begin by giving you a demographic snapshot of our state:

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1 Testimony Presented by Gavin Payne at the Quality Teachers Equals Quality Schools Hearing, Commission on No Child Left Behind: The Aspen Institute April 11, 2006 Good morning Governor Barnes and members of the Commission. My name is Gavin Payne, and I m here representing California s elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jack O Connell. I am the Chief Deputy Superintendent of the California Department of Education. Thank you for the opportunity to testify today. The Aspen Institute has provided an essential forum to review the implementation progress of No Child Left Behind to date and to participate in a dialogue around recommendations for amending the next iteration of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). There are many organizations that right now are working on the same issues: both the current implementation of NCLB as well as talking about and looking ahead toward ESEA reauthorization. We are active participants in that discussion. We re pleased the conversations are starting early, and we look forward to healthy, spirited debate as reauthorization approaches. California s Demographics To set the stage for where we are and where we re headed, let me begin by giving you a demographic snapshot of our state: California has nearly 6.5 million K-12 students. Our public school system includes 9,372 schools in 1,053 districts. Our largest district serves more than 740,000 students this is more than the total student population in many states! Among our smallest districts is one that serves 8 students. Once, in fact, we had a district that almost had more board members than students. 1

2 With its size and diversity, California is a state of extremes from the largest of urban settings to the most remote rural areas; from great wealth to abject poverty; and from the highest achieving schools to the opposite end of the academic performance spectrum. We have districts in which more than 100 different languages are spoken in the schools. Nearly 47% of California s students are Hispanic (67% of those are in the elementary grades, and 33% are in grades 7-12). More than 25% of California s students are English learners (85% of those students speak Spanish as their primary language). California is proud to be among a very small number of states with the distinction of having the highest independently-rated grade-by-grade content standards in the country. What s more, we have a credible, well-developed assessment and accountability system fully aligned with those standards. California s teacher workforce is the largest in the nation and also the best, with approximately 306,000 active teachers. We face many challenges in maintaining our teaching force this is the elephant in the room, which I ll discuss later. NCLB has had a disproportionately greater impact on our state. As we know, one of the purposes of NCLB is to ensure uniform requirements for highly qualified teachers (HQT). A primary goal is to make certain that all students are taught by qualified and effective teachers in the core subjects. Teachers must acquire the subject-matter knowledge and teaching skills necessary to help all children achieve the most rigorous of academic standards, regardless of students individual learning styles or needs. The California HQT Snapshot Back in the school year, the percentage of core academic classes taught by highly qualified teachers (as defined by NCLB) was 48% for all schools in the state 60% for all elementary schools, and 44% at the secondary level. At high-poverty 2

3 schools, 35% of the classes were taught by highly qualified teachers, while the number climbed to 53% at low-poverty schools. As of October 2004 (the most current available data), the percentage of core academic classes taught by highly qualified teachers had risen to 74% for all schools in the state 78% for all elementary schools, and 73% at the secondary level. At high-poverty elementary schools, 75% of the classes were taught by highly qualified teachers, while low-poverty elementary schools reported 81% compliance. At the secondary level, highpoverty schools reported that 61% of the core academic classes were taught by highly qualified teachers, while 81% of the classes were compliant at low-poverty secondary schools. This is remarkable progress within a relatively short period of time, especially for a state of the size and diversity of California. However, most would agree that we need to accelerate. A Closer Look California already was experiencing a general teacher shortage even before the highly qualified teacher requirements of NCLB came into play. In , roughly 42,000 members of the state s teaching force were teaching without full credentials. This shortage was caused, in part, by an urgent push for more teachers created by the class size reduction program established in the mid-1990s, which called for a 20-1 studentteacher ratio in kindergarten through grade three. Even within that context, substantial progress has been made during the past several years in addressing California s teacher shortage, significantly reducing the number of non-credentialed teachers in down to 20,000 less than half of the figure (7% of the state s teaching workforce). This was accomplished through state funding and support for aggressive teacher recruitment initiatives, such as the Governor s Teaching Fellowships and Teaching as a Priority (TAP). In recent years, 3

4 however, some of these programs have been funded sporadically or, in some cases, funding sources have been eliminated due to pernicious state budget deficits. Like many other states, California also must acknowledge an inequitable distribution of the most well-prepared and highly trained teachers in schools throughout the state. Here is where data and the new national emphasis on specific kinds of data is our ally in painting an accurate picture of the challenges we face. Data gathered by the California Department of Education (CDE) indicates that students measured as the lowest achieving are five times more likely to have under-prepared teachers than higher achieving students. Superintendent O Connell recognizes the imperative, beyond NCLB, to ensure that poor and minority students are not taught by inexperienced, unqualified, or out-of-field teachers. As a local control state, California faces a major challenge in requiring districts to adopt programs to ensure an equitable distribution of highly qualified teachers. NCLB s HQT provisions help the state immeasurably in this regard by at least setting a consistent bar for everyone in the teaching force. But there s more to it than setting a minimum bar. California s Elephant in the Room A Looming Teacher Shortage The Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning issued a recent report about the veteran teaching population about to retire and the void that will be created in the aftermath of that exodus. The bottom line: California will need 100,000 new teachers in next ten years. As a result, the state will need many more incentives for prospective teachers to enter the profession: as college graduates (through articulated BA/Credential programs), and as mid-career entrants (through accelerated and evening programs). This challenge certainly is not exclusive to California. The federal government can and must help. 4

5 Other Hurdles Implementation of HQT requirements has been relatively successful in California as demonstrated by data collected from LEAs. However, several challenges remain: Credentialing issues and recruitment problems make full implementation in special education, small rural schools, and alternative programs difficult. However, recent flexibility from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) has allowed California to create flexibility for secondary Special Education teachers and teachers who work in specific small rural schools. Implementation of NCLB also has been difficult in self-contained secondary settings, secondary special education settings (specifically Special Day programs), and independent study and alternative settings (e.g., continuation, court schools). One of the biggest obstacles to implementation has been with LEAs who have failed to comply with NCLB regulations, primarily at the secondary level. Uniform implementation remains a problem in schools that do not receive Title I funds. Some LEAs mistakenly believe they need not comply with the law if they do not receive Title I funds, or have chosen to not accept Title II funds. Many Charter Schools have not complied for many of the same reasons, or because they believe NCLB doesn t apply to charters. New Efforts and Initiatives To address some of these issues, CDE and the California legislature are promoting some significant initiatives, several of which are highlighted below: 1) NCLB requires that state educational agencies (SEAs) and LEAs be held jointly accountable for the goals included in the LEA s submitted plan. Each SEA must develop a plan to ensure that all teachers teaching in core academic subjects are highly qualified no later than the end of the school year. While the State has been successful in educating the field on NCLB HQT requirements, the federal monitoring report indicated that California has been less successful in monitoring districts to ensure compliance with all requirements. As a result, CDE has revamped the NCLB Professional Development Resource Guide, Section 4: 5

6 LEA Accountability for NCLB Teacher Requirements. California s will meet the accountability requirements for NCLB teacher requirements (which include data collection and reporting, annual review of progress, improvement plans, LEA monitoring, and CDE intervention) through our newly refined Compliance Monitoring, Intervention, and Sanctions (CMIS) process. Our challenge is to ensure the completeness and accuracy of HQT data reported to the State by LEAs, specifically as they relate to: a) how LEAs report to parents and the public on classes taught by non-highly qualified teachers; b) steps taken to ensure that experienced and qualified teachers are equitably distributed among classrooms with poor and minority students; c) hiring in Title II Class Size Reduction and Title I programs; and d) ensuring that Title II, Part A funds and selected Title I, Part A funds are being appropriately expended. CDE must ensure that all LEAs are collecting the data necessary to report annually on these performance indicators for each school and for the quartile of schools with the highest and lowest poverty rates. 2) Senate Bill 1209 introduced by California State Senator Jack Scott would, in part, increase intern funding to participants in high poverty/high minority, hard-to-staff schools and create a certificated staff mentoring program to encourage welltrained teachers to teach in those schools. 3) CDE is in the process of enhancing its data base and web site. These improvements will provide LEAs with a comprehensive, web-based system to attract and inform highly qualified teachers in the four academic content areas of English-language arts, mathematics, science, and history/social science. In addition, teacher incentives are needed real and significant incentives at the national, state, and local levels. For instance, California has considered and continues to explore the possibility of salary incentives for well-trained teachers who are willing to teach in hard-to-teach areas. We also have looked at, and continue to examine, the possibility of loan forgiveness and other fiscal incentives for teachers. The federal government has addressed this issue as well. Some of our districts even grant housing 6

7 subsidies and signing bonuses as local enticements. These kinds of incentives, and others, merit further discussion and exploration. Beyond enticements, teachers also must be given abundant opportunities to participate in relevant, ongoing training and professional development. California has developed and funded many such training opportunities, but our teachers need much more, especially in the area of technology. California has high quality, ongoing teacher training programs aligned with the state s academic content standards in mathematics and reading/language arts. Such training for every teacher and principal was among the initial requirements of California s accountability system. This training was required for every teacher at any school identified for improvement. State efforts call for the expansion of this kind of professional development to additional core subjects ahead of an anticipated expansion under reauthorization. Moreover, California s outstanding Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA) Program is credited for making great strides in teacher retention. There are many teacher training efforts currently in development. Among Superintendent O Connell s specific initiatives: a proposed Teacher Leadership Program to train teachers to serve as subject matter coaches; a proposed consolidation of state intervention programs that will more clearly focus on teacher training and teacher needs; a proposed rededication of funding to teacher recruiting efforts such as the Teaching as a Priority (TAP) program. A Look to the Future As mentioned earlier, the data indicate that California s implementation of NCLB s highly qualified teacher requirements has been relatively successful. This is due in no small measure to a process in California that has involved ALL the stakeholders as partners 7

8 to the solution. This is a lesson for reauthorization that the federal government should embrace. We would propose a few ideas for a new and/or increased federal role: As the old adage says, you get what you pay for. If Congress and the administration want better results, they must be willing to fully and adequately invest in order to meet expectations. Federal funding among all the Titles for California (Titles I & II are most significant here) is $7 billion and shrinking. Compare that figure to state/local support for education at the level of $50 billion. The federal government s expectation is out of proportion to its investment. Increased funding for general professional development and teacher support would have a significant impact on compliance, as would increased federal funding for a rigorous and comprehensive technical assistance and monitoring program. ED has indicated that NCLB teacher quality verification may be reciprocal among the states. The content, form, and nature of training varies greatly from state to state. A federal requirement for all states to have a certificate of compliance form with clearly articulated HQT requirements would facilitate this effort and aid in the movement of teachers among different states. Again, thank you for the opportunity to engage in this ongoing, critical dialogue. Superintendent O Connell looks forward to participating in many more such conversations with education colleagues from around the country. 8

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