Resolutions 1999

Board Resolution 1: Commendation to the Convention Committee

Background

The miracle of the cocoon is fascinating. The magical process that transforms a fuzzy caterpillar into an elegant creature of flight is secret and hidden. So, too, is the secret process of learning. In our classes, we hope to provide a safe “cocoon” so that our little “butterflies” will emerge, spread their wings, and fly.

“Metamorphosis – On the Wings of Change” identifies that noble goal to which we all aspire, and CATE ’99 has taken flight through the efforts of many dedicated volunteers.

Resolution

Resolve that the California Association of Teachers of English (CATE) congratulate and commend the following Chairpersons, committee members, and assistants who have worked so hard on CATE 99, “Metamorphosis – On the Wings of Change”

Convention Chairs – Joyce Bennett and Joanna Exacoustos
Convention Coordinator – Punky Fristrom
Local Headquarters – Amy Shaw
Registrar – Linda Scott
Local registration – Sharon Hunter
Treasurer – Anne Fristrom
CATE Membership – Linda Stockton
Program Committee – Sheila Hill, Amy Shaw, Thelma Quinn, Ellen Swieck, JoEllen Harche
Local arrangements – Jan Burke
Hospitality – Pat Ellis and Kyoko Sato
Tours – Anna Roseboro
Audio visual Aids – Ken and Kathy Allen
Concierge – JoAnne Mitchell
Lesson Plan Exchange – Joan Williams and Susan Schauwecker
Musical Entertainment – Celeste May
Signage – Roberta Tragarz
Certificates – Edd Armstrong
Table D├ęcor – Judy Inskeep
College Credit and Taping – Jim Day
Student Teachers – Barbara Farris
Pre-Convention – Ron Strahl, Nancy Armaris, and Linda Querry
Speakers, Book Signings – JoAnn Fahey and Karen Eastland
Meal Functions – Carmen Carrillo, Marilyn Wells, and Lynda Querry
Emeritus – Barbara Stewart
CYRM – Betty Ostrom
Box Lunches – Kathy Frattaroli
Odds and Ends – Bill Bennett
Give-Aways – Ann and Ruth Busenkell
Webmaster – Larry Jordan
Graphics – Victor and Ivy Gastelum
Printer – Non-Stop Printing
Flyer Distribution – Precision Assembly
Exhibits – KAW Company

Resolution 1 – Implementation of Chapter 742, Statute of 1998

Background

Last year Chapter 742, Statute of 1998, legislation eliminating social promotion, was signed by Governor Wilson. Essentially, this bill requires that students attain basic skill proficiencies as ascertained by standardized testing prior to promotion to the subsequent grade level. While the legislation intended to identify and help at-risk students, concerns have evolved as districts attempt to implement the legislation. Plans that simply require retention at the same grade level merely provide a chance for repetition of previous course content and maturation. Additional remediation needs to be implemented in order to ameliorate the deficiencies of at-risk students. A blanket approach for all students will not address individual needs.

Additionally, the legislation has made no distinction between native English speakers and English Language Learners when identifying candidates for retention. These English Language Learners are at risk of being unfairly kept back due to a lack of English proficiency rather than a lack of skill development.

Resolution

Resolved that California Association of Teachers of English support district implementation plans in which grade level is determined using multiple criteria assessments including assessment in the primary language as necessary.

Resolved that CATE support district policies that provide for individualized remediation plans addressing the specific deficiencies of the students identified for retention.

To
California Association of Superintendents
California School Board Association
Association of California School Administrators
California Parent Teacher Association
Senate Committee on Education
Assembly Committee on Education

Resolution 2: Correlation of the California Language Arts Content Standards and SAT 9

Background

The match between instruction and assessment is an important factor in student achievement. The more closely standards-based instruction matches assessment, the better our students perform.

Our analysis of the correlation between the SAT 9 and the Language Arts Content Standards for grades 9 – 11 reveals that only 3.4% of the content standards are addressed in the state test.

Resolution

Resolved that The California Association of Teachers of English urge the State Board of Education to develop various measures of student progress toward the Language Arts Content Standards, such as portfolio assessment and the direct assessment of writing; and

Resolved that the California Association of Teachers of English urge the State Board of Education to suspend the use of the SAT9 and develop an assessment that has a closer correlation to the English Language Arts Content Standards.

To
The State Board of Education
Governor Gray Davis
Fair Test
The Los Angeles Times
The Sacramento Bee
The San Francisco Chronicle
The San Diego Union
The San Jose Mercury News
The Fresno Bee
The Modesto Bee
California Educator

Resolution 3 The California Reading and Language Arts Framework

Background

The California Association of Teachers of English (CATE) appreciates many features of the 1998 Reading and Language Arts Framework, especially the definition of the teacher’s role to “instill in students (1) a lifelong love of reading; (2) a facility and joy of communicating through language; and (3) a deep appreciation of literacy and informational text and the ways in which print expands our universe and understanding of history and humanity.”

CATE remains concerned by a lack of balance in the Framework. This imbalance may be seen in the over-emphasis on reading instruction in the reference sections, in the over-emphasis on the mastery of individual words in the language arts curriculum, and in the lack of emphasis on authentic assessment in writing.

The reference section contains 54 entries, of which 31 are citations of books and reports on reading. Of these, 18 are readily identifiable with a phonics-based, direct instructional model, while not one challenges or questions this model. The reference section contains only three works that mention writing. Nowhere in the entire framework do we find any mention of the names of prominent national figures in English Education such as Applebee, Atwell, Dyson, Goodman, Hillocks, Myers, Rosenblatt and Weaver, who have made substantial contributions to the research in the teaching of language arts.

In the discussion of the curriculum, there are approximately 100 references to instruction in word meaning and only 20 references to teaching students the meaning of phrases (or larger chunks of texts) or to making meaning out of literature. The fifty references to the teaching of literature almost all occur in the high school section, leaving the impression that chapter books are less important than word attack skills in the elementary grades. The Framework also defines balance in an unusual way, as “the strategic selection and scheduling of instruction.” A more widely accepted definition might refer to the attempt to give due emphasis to direct instruction, guided practice, and independent discovery in the learning process.

The Framework indicates that direct writing assessment in grades 9-12 should be administered once a year, biannually in the other grades; yet vocabulary, spelling and conventions should be assessed every 6-8 weeks in the elementary grades and every 4-6 weeks in the middle grades. For years, secondary school teachers have been told that they need to assign more writing, assess writing more reliably, and provide better feedback so students can improve their writing. The Framework should give more emphasis to the teaching of writing and to the direct assessment of writing in the classroom.

Furthermore, the full implementation of the Framework will require the cooperation and enthusiasm of the teachers of California, yet none of the major language arts organizations representing California has endorsed this document as it stands.

Resolution

Resolved that the California Association of Teachers of English urge the State Board of Education to enact the following revisions of the 1998 Reading and Language Arts Framework:

  • Provide a supplemental list of references more reflective of current research in English Education, especially in writing.
  • Give due emphasis to direct instruction, guided practice, and independent discovery in the learning process.
  • Give more emphasis to the teaching of writing and to the direct and frequent assessment of writing.

 

To
The State Board of Education
The California Department of Education
Chair of the English Subject Matter Committee, State Curriculum Commission
Senate Education Committee
Assemble Education Committee
The Los Angeles Times
The Sacramento Bee
The San Francisco Chronicle
The San Diego Union
The San Jose Mercury News
The Fresno Bee
The Modesto Bee
California Educator

Resolution 4: Professional Development In Reading Instruction For Teachers

Background

The California Association of Teachers of English (CATE) commends the Governor’s goals to enhance professional development in reading instruction; in particular, we support the proposed California Reading Development Institutes to provide instruction in the teaching of reading, K-3.

CATE also commends the professional development grants recently made available by the State Board of Education and the Department of Education in support of the teaching of reading, grades 4-12.

However, CATE continues to be concerned about the narrow research base within which professional development may be offered, namely the research on phonemic awareness and word attack skills.

Professional development should be based on the following assumptions:

  1. The best teachers of teachers are other teachers. A knowledgeable teacher can translate information from research into effective classroom practices, and can communicate those practices directly to other teachers.
  2. Classroom practices must be based on the best research available, research that is confirmed and generalizable. Teachers have a professional responsibility to keep abreast of the research in their discipline, and to use information from that research to guide their practice.
  3. Teachers must study and assess student work in order to make instructional decisions. Only through on-going, accurate assessment of student performance can teachers decide what they need to teach.

Resolution

Resolved that the California Association of Teachers of English urge the State Board of Education and the State Department of Education to make the guidelines for professional development in reading instruction reflect a wide variety of research-based pedagogies in the teaching of reading, to include integrated instruction and reading across the curriculum.

To
Governor Gray Davis
The State Board of Education
The State Department of Education
The California Reading Association
The International Reading Association
The Los Angeles Times
The Sacramento Bee
The San Francisco Chronicle
The San Diego Union
The San Jose Mercury News
The Fresno Bee
The Modesto Bee
California Educator

Resolution 5: Positive Approaches to Encourage Reading

Background

We applaud the governor’s goals to encourage reading using positive approaches, particularly his proposals to finance a Pro-Reading Public Relations Campaign and a Reading Rewards Program for Schools.

Governor Davis proposes a $4 million Pro-Reading Public Relations Campaign to recruit all Californians as reading boosters and publicize the importance of reading skills in later academic success.

However, CATE would caution the governor to emphasize a balanced approach to reading skills and, in the words of the new language arts framework, to encourage everyone, not only teachers, to “instill in students (1) a lifelong love of reading; (2) a facility and joy of communicating through language; and (3) a deep appreciation of literary and informational text.”

In addition, the Governor proposes $2 million to finance a Reading Awards Program for Schools. The program would provide awards of $5,000 for elementary and middle schools encouraging reading by their students. The reward criteria would include a tally of “age-appropriate” books read by students from the California Department of Education’s Recommended Readings in Literature: Kindergarten Through Grade 8.

Resolution

Resolved that California Association of Teachers of English (CATE) commend Governor Davis for his proposals to fund the Pro-Reading Public Relations Campaign and the Reading Awards Program which instill a lifelong love of reading, the joy of communicating through language, and a deep appreciation of literature (both fiction and non-fiction).

Resolved that CATE urge the California Department of Education to revise Recommended Readings in Literature: Kindergarten Through Grade 8 and Recommended Readings in Literature: Grade 9 Through Grade 12 to include high interest and quality literature published since 1987.

To
Governor Gray Davis
California Department of Education