By Bill Guy
CTA members Kathy Harris and Alicia Hinde and four other educators, including nationally recognized teacher development expert Linda Darling-Hammond, have been appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to serve on the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC). According to Gov. Brown, the appointments fulfill a vow to bring new leadership to a board whose teacher disciplinary practices were criticized by a state audit last April.
Kathy Harris, former vice president of the Piner-Olivet Educators Association, and Alicia Hinde, president of the Cambrian District Teachers, were recommended by CTA. Gov. Brown’s other appointees are Erick Casallas, an academic coach at Myra Noble Elementary School in Bakersfield and a member of the Bakersfield Elementary Teachers Association; Eddie Cuevas, a government and economics teacher at West Adams Preparatory School in Los Angeles; and Louise Stymeist, a coordinator of career technical programs for the Sacramento City Unified School District.
Linda Darling-Hammond served as the executive director of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future from 1994 to 2001 and is now professor of education at Stanford University. She has founded the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education, the Stanford Educational Leadership Institute, and the School Redesign Network.
Harris, a classroom teacher since 1986, served as the regional director of the California Reading and Literature Project at Sonoma State University from 1998 to 2009, and specializes in the areas of reading, reading readiness, assessment, English language development, and school reform and leadership. She is a member of the Common Core State Standards Development Team, the California Academic Contents Standards Commission, and the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Plan State Team.
Hinde has taught in the Cambrian district since 2001, working with English learners, students from abusive households, GATE students and students with disabilities. A CTA State Council representative and member of the CTA Credentials and Professional Development Committee, she is also a Silicon Valley Math Initiative lead and a district professional development curriculum trainer.
“Harris’ years of experience as a CTA liaison to the commission positions her well to do the very difficult work of monitoring and sustaining effective credentialing activity,” says CTA President Dean Vogel. “Likewise, Hinde’s perspective as an exemplary classroom teacher and an active association leader brings the voice of the practitioner to the forefront of the debate.”
“After having served as a liaison to the CTC for a number of years through several different leadership transitions, I’m delighted to be among what will now be a full complement of teacher appointees,” says Harris. “As we move into this huge issue of teacher discipline, it is vital that practitioner voices be heard at the table.”
Hinde says her aim “is to bring an educator’s voice and perspective to the commission to help ensure integrity and confidence in the teaching profession — an especially critical goal in a time when teachers are repeatedly used as scapegoats for what is wrong with the education system. Our students deserve a top-notch education, and as part of the commission, I expect top-notch results. It’s time to raise the bar.”
Casallas, Kern County’s Teacher of the Year for 2011, hopes the CTC “can restore the respect that the teaching profession deserves.”
The CTC was created by the Ryan Act, which CTA sponsored in 1970. It is the oldest of the autonomous state standards boards in the nation. Its main purpose is to oversee professional educator preparation, licensing and credentialing, enforcement of professional practices, and the discipline of credential holders in California public schools.
The appointments were made in the face of a report by state auditor Elaine Howle, who found examples of “significantly delayed processing of alleged misconduct,” which “potentially allowed educators of questionable character to retain a credential.” The report also found a backlog of prosecution and arrest reports that had not been processed as well as reports of nepotism in hiring. Recent analysis showed that the commission had made progress in all but one of the audit’s recommendations.