The Blog at CTA

CTA, Learning First Call for Thoughtful Implementation of Common Core Standards

Dean Vogel, former kindergarten teacher and now CTA president, and Cheryl Scott Williams, the executive director of Learning First Alliance, a non-profit based in Virginia, are urging districts to implement the new Common Core State Standards thoughtfully by learning from teachers about what works for students, in an Op-Ed published in The Sacramento Bee.

The two call on parents and community members to give districts time to implement the new curriculum effectively before insisting on new testing programs.

Read more »

300 California Groups Back Common Core

Just as CTA members are reading their latest California Educator magazine all about the value and challenges of the Common Core State Standards, there is good news that more than 300 California business, nonprofit and children’s groups have signed a statement supporting the landmark new standards.

Circulated by the nonprofit children’s group Children Now, the full statement of signers represents an impressive array of community and business groups, including the California State PTA and various chambers of commerce, the San Diego NAACP, several urban school district superintendents, and various chapters of United Way. Read this EdSource story about the outpouring of support.

The statement says Common Core “will benefit students by having fewer, clearer, and deeper standards and require a greater use of analysis, critical thinking and real-world skills.” The petition also backs the Smarter Balanced assessments of the standards because the tests “are designed to help educators and parents know if students are progressing and understanding what they are supposed to be learning.”

Read more »

Today, Smarter Balanced Field Testing Starts

Today, students in Grades 3-8 and Grade 11 are slated to begin taking “field test” versions of the new on-line student assessments that are synchronized with the Common Core State Standards.

More than three million students will be “piloting” the exams in math and English, according to the State Department of Education.

Read more »

No More Tears: AB 484 Paves Way to High tech Assessments and Stops Second grade Testing

During testimony on CTA-backed legislation to stop damaging testing of second graders, lawmakers themselves told stories of their own youngsters’ trauma at facing exams at too young an age.

CTA-backed AB 484, a measure by Assembly Member Susan Bonilla (D-Concord), has given California the space it needs to implement effective and high-tech student assessments that are tied to the ambitious Common Core State Standards. 

AB 484 suspends the use of California’s antiquated and out-of-synch student testing – including the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) exams.

Also of high importance, the bill stops the testing of California second-graders, something not required by federal statute that has proven to do more harm than good to the youngsters.

Read more »

Checks are in the Mail: Schools Receiving Second Installment of $1.25B Total

Good news for California students today as Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced our schools are receiving $622 million, the second installment of a $1.25 billion state grant to help them implement the new Common Core State Standards.

That grant amounts to $200 per student to help schools transition to the new comprehensive standards that aim to equip students with the higher order thinking skills they will need in higher education and the world of work.

Read more »

Supt Torlakson and CTA Hail Bill Bringing Assessments in Line with Standards

Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and CTA are commending the legislature for passing and the governor for signing today AB 484, a measure that will overhaul student assessments to align them with the Common Core State Standards.

CTA worked hard to help move AB 484, by Assemblymember Susan Bonilla (D-Concord), through the legislature and to the governor’s desk because testing students on material they have never been taught makes no sense. Neither does forcing students to take two standardized tests in the same year. AB 484 will eliminate outdated tests, ensures accountability and allows students and educators to be better prepared for the new computer-based assessments under the Common Core State Standards.

Read more »

Two Key Bills Need Governor Signature

Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign two key bills–one that will streamline the teacher dismissal process to ensure student safety and one that suspends the STAR tests to allow students to transition to testing aligned to the Common Core State Standards. 

While the governor has 30 days from the end of the legislative session to sign the measures, he could make his decision at any time between now and then.

The first bill – CTA-supported AB 375 by Assembly Education Chair Joan Buchanan (D-Alamo) and Principal Coauthor Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) – streamlines and expedites the dismissal process to keep students safe, safeguard the integrity of the profession and protect the rights of educators.

The second measure – CTA-supported AB 484 by Assembly Member Susan Bonila (D-Concord) – will align student assessments with the new Common Core State Standards.  

  • Click here for more information about these measures and for a quick way to contact the governor in support of them.
  • Click here to read the solid San Jose Mercury editorial in support of AB 484.

Read more »

Presidents Vlog: Back to School

What Local Control Funding actual means now that the school year has begun; using Common Core Standards as a guide; fighting high-stakes standardized testing; engaging communities; and, taking our profession back -- all in the latest President's Vlog...

Read more »

Bill to Suspend STAR Tests Up for a Vote

Lawmakers are finalizing a few key bills -- some that impact educators and students -- as they prepare to recess this Friday.

Among the many bills is AB 484 by Assemblymember Susan Bonilla (D-Concord) and sponsored by Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, which overhauls the state's accountability system in preparation for the implementation of the Common Core State Standards. CTA continues to have a support position on the bill. It is also supported by the Governor, Superintendent of Public Instruction, State Board of Education, educators and parents.

In general, AB 484 provides a transition to new computer-based assessments that are aligned with the Common Core State Standards by suspending the state's current Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program for one year and replacing it with the Measurement of Academic Performance and Progress (MAPP). The goal is to clear the decks of the outdated and out-of-sync tests this year. The bill phases in the new assessments and accountability system through 2016-17 to ensure student and educator readiness for the new standards. It also eliminates second grade testing.

Read more »

Aligning Teacher Prep With Common Core State Standards

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) has made a series of changes to better align teacher preparation requirements with the demands of teaching the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

Specific changes in three key areas are outlined below, and more are expected in the coming months in further alignment to the new science standards, as well as reviewing Special Education Teaching Performance Expectations to ensure compatibility with the CCSS. The CCTC:

  • Adopted revised Subject Matter Requirements (SMFs) for the California Standards Examination for Teachers (CSET) in Multiple Subject, Single Subject English, and Single Subject Mathematics.
  • Adopted revised California Teaching Performance Expectations (TPEs) so that they are aligned with the CCSS. Accredited colleges and universities design their teacher preparation programs so that credential candidates meet the expectations in the TPEs. The teaching performance assessment that every teacher-candidate has to pass before gaining their preliminary credential is also based on the TPEs. Full implementation of the TPEs is expected by 2014-15.
  • Clarified that induction programs must also use the CCSS as the definition of “standards of pupil performance.” Induction programs are charged with supporting new teachers’ professional skills in relation to pupil performance. Further, induction programs may provide CCSS professional development to beginning teachers to help strengthen a teacher’s ability to apply pedagogical skills beyond what may have been demonstrated for the preliminary credential. This clarification is designed to allow for the use of CCSS professional development funds to be used by induction programs.

Read more »

Every child deserves a chance to learn and no child succeeds alone.

© 1999- California Teachers Association