SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - 19

FEATURE

After Years of Debate, Special Education
Credential Seems Destined for Changes
t the December meeting of the California Commission
on Teacher Credentialing (CTC), Commissioners held
a discussion session on the future of the Education
Specialist credential, which many feel needs to be
reworked to reflect changes in instructional and
behavioral practices, and to lessen the divide
between general education and special education.
The December conversation was particularly timely; the day
prior, the state released information in the California School
Dashboard showing that students with special needs were
consistently underperforming, and in many cases, it was solely
that subgroup of students that triggered the need for technical
assistance from the local county office of education, or from the
state. Small districts, where even a handful of underperforming
students can dramatically skew the data, are disproportionately
impacted by reports like this. Additionally, a recent report on
assignment monitoring reinforced the difficulty that schools
have filing special education positions will fully and appropriately
credentialed teachers.
Over the past several years, prompted in large part by the
release of reports such as Greatness by Design (2012) and the
Report of California's Task Force on Special Education (2015),
the CTC has been working to reexamine, and possibly revise,
the structure of the Education Specialist credential.
Throughout these discussions, there has been tension
between those trying to strengthen the requirements for obtaining an education specialist credential, and those concerned
about the impacts those changes might have on the teacher
shortage, which is particularly pronounced in special education. This dynamic is not new, and was also present in the late
1990s when the CTC, in responding to a shortage of instructors,
removed the requirement that a candidate already hold a Single
or Multiple Subject general education credential prior to obtaining an Education Specialist credential.
While disagreements persist, there is strong support for the
dissolution of silos between general and special education
teachers, both within preparation programs and at the school
site. Proponents of that kind of system change believe it will
result in earlier identification of students with special needs,
and increased likelihood that they remain in the least restrictive
environments. At the December meeting, while Commissioners
did not come to a decision on a new credential structure, the
concept of the "common trunk" was affirmed as a good starting
point on which to build out licensure. This concept promotes a
shared foundation of coursework for both general and special
education teachers. After all teachers complete the foundational

©SHUTTERSTOCK.COM/ RADU BERCAN

BY CHRISTINA MARCELLUS
LEGISLATIVE ADVOCATE, CAPITAL ADVISORS GROUP, LLC

courses of the common truck (which are yet to be finalized),
candidates would branch off and take additional courses in
their desired field (multiple subject, single subject, or certain
specialties under the special education umbrella). Conceptually,
this means that education specialist credential holders would
also be authorized to provide instruction in certain general
education settings. Additionally, Commissioners agreed that
education specialist credential candidates should pass a basic
skills test and a Teacher Performance Assessment (TPA), though
the details of both still need to be worked out.
While the December meeting provided direction on several
items that had been pending, CTC staff, commissioners and
stakeholders have a long road ahead. At an upcoming meeting, likely in February 2018, Commissioners will need to come
to decisions on the coursework makeup of the trunk, decide
where the "branches" should be, develop specifics around the
Education Specialist Teacher Performance Expectations (TPEs)
and TPAs, and consider the appropriateness of adding grade
bands into the preparation for education specialists.
●
Christina Marcellus, Capitol Advisors Group, LLC

SSDA TODAY | WWW.SSDA.ORG

19


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S COLUMN
Student Free Speech: School Officials’ Response to Student Social Media Comments, “Likes” and Followers
CalPERS Rate Increases Begin to Stabilize
New School Nutrition Laws Take Effect
Website Accessibility: How an Educational Entity Can Ensure its Website is Accessible to those with Disabilities
After Years of Debate, Special Education Credential Seems Destined for Changes
School Board Elections and the California Voting Rights Act: Districts Shift from At-Large to District-Based Elections
ADVERTISER’S INDEX
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - Intro
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - cover1
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - cover2
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - 3
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - 4
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - 5
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S COLUMN
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - 7
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - 8
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - 9
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - Student Free Speech: School Officials’ Response to Student Social Media Comments, “Likes” and Followers
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - 11
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - 12
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - CalPERS Rate Increases Begin to Stabilize
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - 14
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - New School Nutrition Laws Take Effect
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - Website Accessibility: How an Educational Entity Can Ensure its Website is Accessible to those with Disabilities
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - 17
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - 18
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - After Years of Debate, Special Education Credential Seems Destined for Changes
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - 20
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - School Board Elections and the California Voting Rights Act: Districts Shift from At-Large to District-Based Elections
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - ADVERTISER’S INDEX
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - cover3
SSDA Today - Spring/Summer 2018 - cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/SSCB/SSCB0218
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/SSCB/SSCB0118
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/SSCB/SSCB0217
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/SSCB/SSCB0117
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/SSCB/SSCB0216
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/SSCB/SSCB0116
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com