CATE 2005: CATE Board Resolution 1 – Commendation of the Convention Committee
CATE 2005, “The Power of One Teacher,” celebrates the work of individual teachers in classrooms across the state and reminds us of the incredible responsibility and honor inherent in our work and passion. This convention happens only because of the volunteer efforts of many teachers and other volunteers who sacrifice their time and energy to make this weekend possible.
Resolved that the California Association of Teachers of English, CATE, thank and commend the following outstanding volunteers:
Autograph Chair Vince Piro
Audiovisual Chair Bob Chapman
College Credit Chair Charleen Delfino
Concierge Chair Al Adams
Friday Night Event Chair John Thomas
Hospitality Chairs Peggy Clifford
Lesson Plan Exchange Chair Bev Kreps
Meal Events Chair Liz McAninch
Pre-convention Chair Charleen Delfino
Program Chair Cheryl Joseph
Program Design Chair Carole LeCren
Registration Chair Eddie Hase
On-site Registration Catherine Linn
Sponsorship Chair Lorraine Tracy
Volunteer/Student Teacher Coordinator Angus Dunstan
Speaker Transportation Ken Allen
Convention Coordinator Teisha Hase
Convention Coordinator Consultant Punky Fristrom
Convention Treasurer Anne Fristrom
President’s Reception Maureen Rippee
Convention Chairs Michelle Berry – Linda Stockton
CATE 2005 Resolution 1: Proposition 98
The 2004-2005 State budget reflected a two billion dollar reduction per the agreement reached in the 2003-2004 budget year by the Education Coalition and the Governor. Also, during the current fiscal year, increased funding for education under Proposition 98 reached $1.1 billion. The Administration proposes not to fund the current year Proposition 98 increase, contrary to last year’s agreement. As a result, the Administration gains a $1.1 billion in Proposition 98 savings. The loss of current year funding results in a reduced base to the constitutional provisions of Proposition 98. Additionally the budget hit from the State Teachers Retirement System shift and subsequent funding proposals has the real effect of lowering the overall Proposition 98 adjustment.
A recent study by the RAND Corporation shows California ranks near the bottom of all states in per-pupil funding and is 38 out of 52 for teachers’ salaries after adjustment for cost of living, while ranking in the highest percentage in class size. In spite of such evidence, the Governor wants to repeal portions of Proposition 98, the voter-approved initiative that provides minimum funding guarantees for public education. In addition, the governor’s proposal would allow multiple mid-year cuts with no promise of repayment that could potentially cripple the ability of schools districts to effectively plan and implement educational spending.
The California Association of Teachers of English (CATE) is keenly aware of the potential damage to the English Language Arts curriculum that could result from a reduction in base revenue funding for school districts. A loss of resources would result in
- even larger class sizes which would cause a loss of quality writing instruction;
- a reduced amount of classroom materials;
- a smaller quantity of already inadequate textbook and supporting resources;
- less access to teacher development;
- less incentive for qualified professionals to enter the classroom.
Decreasing teachers’ abilities to deliver quality instruction in English Language Arts has a negative impact on students’ educational experiences in every subject area of a school.
Be it resolved that the California Association of Teachers of English (CATE) demand the Governor and the State Legislature honor the guarantees of Proposition 98; and
Be it further resolved that CATE demand the Governor and the State Legislature fulfill its obligation to repay the $2 billion as signed into law in the State Budget of 2004.
Governor Schwarzenegger California State Legislature
Other Subject Matter Organizations Editorial Boards of Major State News Organization California Teachers’ Association State Board of Education
Senate Budget Committee Assembly Budget Committee
CATE 2005 Resolution 2: Library media Teachers
Current concerns about the reading/literacy abilities of California students have generated numerous programs and reforms geared toward increasing literacy ability. Research shows that access to interesting and comprehensible reading material promotes reading and enhances reading ability. Libraries offer students access to information in a variety of forms through the expertise of library-media teachers. These teachers
- teach students to access and retrieve information through books, the internet, and other forms of media;
- provide language acquisition activities;
- offer services such as book clubs, homework assistance, computer training and access;
- provide a scholarly environment for students to read and work on homework before and after school and during lunch;
- train parents on how and what to read to their children;
- provide reading lists for students, staff, and parents;
- work with teachers to assist in lesson planning;
- work with teachers to provide assistance in whole class library activities such as teaching the research process, finding appropriate reading material;
- coordinate and maintain school media such as classroom computers, school intranet/internet, and technological resources;
- maintain a professional resource library and up to date, comprehensive school library;
- supply requested titles and materials to school site staff.
Schools throughout California are faced with challenges in staffing libraries. For example, according to an article by Helen Gao published in the December 6, 2004, San Diego Union Tribune, San Diego has “. . . 190 schools [which serve] about 136,000 students, [with only] 40 full-time equivalent librarian positions to staff 43 libraries. . . . three of the district’s highest-priority high schools . . . lack a librarian. . . . Fifteen of the district’s 23 middle schools have a librarian – part or full-time. . . . Of the 113 elementary schools in the district, 12 have librarians.” While the situation in San Diego is indicative of the problem, it is not among the most severe cases in California.
Be it resolved that the California Association of Teachers of English (CATE) urge the Governor and State Legislature to allocate and to increase funding for all districts to provide at least one full-time certificated library-media teacher in every school.
Members of Senate and Assembly Education Committees
Legislative Budget Committees
California School Libraries Association
California Library Association
California Reading Association
CATE 2005 Resolution 3: Journalism
Recent budget cuts to journalism programs challenge the value and positive impact of student media courses in California. Over the past twenty years, research and studies by Dvorak, as well as Blinn, indicate participation in high school media courses significantly improves secondary and collegiate English Language Arts competence. Additionally, skills acquired in journalism courses address and reinforce the California Language Arts standards.
Journalism and all media classes prepare students for participation in the democratic process. Under the guidance of qualified journalism educators, these courses give students a voice and allow the students to exercise their constitutional right of free speech as set forth in California Education Code 48907.
Be it resolved that the California Association of Teachers of English (CATE) urge the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing to
- Include training in student media advising/publication management, including ethics and California school press law, in the Single Subject English credential requirements.
- Include increased training in California school press law for those seeking administrative service credentials.
California Commission on Teacher Credentialing
Journalism Education Association
CATE 2005 Resolution 4: Digital High School Grants
Digital High School grants enabled high schools throughout California to institute a higher assimilation of technology into instruction. English Language Arts content standards call for the use of technology to support instruction in the classrooms as well as for student acquisition of technology skills. Computer literacy remains an important component of English Language Arts instruction.
Unfortunately, the Digital High School grants have expired. Today, most high schools in California do not possess the funds to maintain the technology that is in place. In many instances equipment is obsolete and needs to be updated or replaced. The funds to update old equipment or acquire new technologies often are nonexistent.
Be it resolved that The California Association of Teachers of English urge that the State Legislature reinstitute and increase funding for the Digital High School grants to all schools in California.
Chairs of Legislative Education Committees
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Assembly Budget Committee
Senate Budget Committee
Assembly and Senate Budget Subcommittees on Education Finance
Computer Using Educators
Editorial Boards of Major News Organizations
CATE 2005 Resolution 5: STAR Writing Assessment
Recently the State Board of Education (SBE) voted to keep the 4th and 7th grade Writing Assessments as part of the Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program. In addition to finding funding for these assessments, the SBE accepted the recommendations of the Grades 4 and 7 Task Force to
- “define the writing construct/genre more clearly;”
- change the current system of prompts, directions and scoring to reflect a more accurate measurement of the construct;”
- field test additional prompts and collect more process data;”
- promote clarity, consistency and efficiency in scoring;”
- “make the system and all steps and decisions transparent;”
- “align the standards, task prompts and scoring rubrics;”
The SBE also “approved a one-reader model for scoring [the writing assessments], replacing the current two-reader model” and approved field testing additional writing tasks. The additional writing tasks will add ‘brief prewriting activities…to allow students to organize their writing. This would include describing all components of the writing process in the directions, clarifying that the writing is expected to be a first draft with edits, and adding an element of audience to the writing task to help students direct their writing and give a voice to their writing.” (“State Board of Education Tackles Several Testing Issues”: 4, EdCal, 24 Jan., 2005)
Be it resolved that the California Association of Teachers of English (CATE) commend the task force and the State Board of Education (SBE) for their decision to retain the 4th and 7th grade Writing Assessment portion of the STAR program.
State Secretary of Education
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
State Board of Education
Chairs of legislative Education Committees
CATE 2005 Resolution 6: Merit Pay
In his recent State of the State speech, Governor Schwarzenegger announced his proposal to tie teachers’ salaries to student performance. He repeated this proposal in his February 12, 2005, weekly radio address.
The Governor’s solution is to treat schools like failing businesses. One of the elements he proposed is to change teachers’ compensation. What will make schools better, he implied, is to make teachers compete for resources. This competition will include merit pay, which may be based upon subjective evaluations or standardized test scores that do not necessarily reflect actual student learning.
Although merit pay systems present problems to all teachers, as an organization of English Language Arts teachers, we know there are many inherent obstacles which make our jobs especially hard to evaluate on a merit system. These include
- large class sizes which make responding to writing difficult;
- large numbers of English Language Learners in Language Arts classrooms;
- the inability to control the assignment of students to any individual teacher;
- the challenge of assessing English Language Arts in an authentic manner;
- the “inclusion” or ‘mainstreaming” of special education students into regular English Language Arts classes without adequate support;
- high teacher turnover in low-performing schools;
- inadequate school library funding that diminishes student access to books;
- inadequate support for professional development organizations such as California Writing Project, California Reading and Literature Project, and other subject matter projects;
- the deleterious effect of inappropriate, time-consuming, and costly testing programs.
The Governor has chosen to ignore the problems in establishing a fair merit pay system. This misnomer of “merit” pay will not solve any of the major challenges facing schools and English Language Arts teachers today.
Be it resolved that the California Association of Teachers of English (CATE) urge the Governor and the State Legislature to terminate the pursuit of merit pay as part of his education reform; and
Be it further resolved that CATE urge the Governor and the Legislature to examine what accounts for the excellence of existing Language Arts teachers, and to use all influence to make it possible for more teachers to reach this level of excellence rather than introduce a system which will only pit one teacher against another.
Secretary of Education
Assembly and Senate
State Education Committees