Governor Temporarily Suspends Examination Requirements for Teacher Candidates Impacted by COVID-19
(Sacramento) – On Friday, May 29, 2020 Governor Newsom released Executive Order N66-20, temporarily suspending certain credential requirements affecting teacher and administrator candidates on track to finish their preparation this year, but roadblocked by COVID-19 school and testing center closures. The new flexibilities are designed to minimize the impacts to these individuals and the State’s supply of qualified teachers, while maintaining high credentialing standards. They will enable candidates to complete specified examinations and assessments at later stages in the credentialing process, so they can enter classrooms and begin teaching on schedule.
“In the midst of unprecedented uncertainty, the Executive Order gives up to 8,000 new teachers and school administrators certitude about their futures and their careers,” said Mary Vixie Sandy, Executive Director of the Commission on Teacher Credentialing. “It will save first-year teachers money and time by allowing them to move into the classroom more quickly. The Order addresses hardships created by COVID-19 and benefits new teachers at a critical point in their careers. Equally importantly, it benefits the students of the State of California who will be served by this cohort of well prepared, enthusiastic classroom teachers and administrators. The Order also allows more than 10,000 prospective teachers to enter preparation programs next year enabling the state to continue making progress on shoring up its teaching ranks and addressing chronic shortages.”
Executive Order N-66-20 allows teachers and administrators who were on track to finish their preparation this year and have successfully met all other credential program requirements to earn a Preliminary credential and complete their Teaching Performance Assessment (TPA), Administrator Performance Assessment (CalAPA) and/or the Reading Instructional Competence Assessment (RICA) prior to earning a Clear credential. With their Preliminary credential, these teachers and administrators will be able to accept jobs and complete these assessments during their induction programs with support from their program mentors and coaches.
“Because of COVID, our new teachers missed significant portions of their preparation to teach,” said Tine Sloan, Chair of the Commission on Teacher Credentialing. “This Commission on Teacher Credentialing 1900 Capitol Avenue Sacramento, CA 95811-4213 solution will support them to carry on, and ensure they are prepared to give their best to students this fall. We are grateful to the administration and all who worked on these solutions.”
In addition, preparation programs are enrolling candidates for next year who must take statutorily mandated tests prior to admission. With testing centers closed during March and April due to COVID-19, and currently operating at about half capacity, prospective teachers were unable to meet testing requirements and enroll in preparation programs. Executive Order N-66-20 allows credential program applicants who were unable to take the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) prior to admission to a Commission approved credential program to complete the CBEST during their program. The Order also enables current Intern Program candidates who were unable to complete their subject matter examination (CSET) to enter their programs and begin teaching in the subject area they are enrolled in. Individuals must still complete both testing requirements prior to being recommended for a Preliminary credential. The provisions only affect candidates impacted by testing center closures between March 19 – August 31, 2020.
California continues to experience shortages of teachers, particularly in math, science, special education and bilingual education. The state has invested significantly – more than $300 million in the last several years - in recruiting and preparing teachers in these fields, many of whom are completing preparation this year or awaiting admission into preparation in 2020-21. COVID-19 created a situation in which more than half of the teachers and administrators in preparation programs this year were unable to complete all credential requirements due to school closures. Suspension of these testing-for enrollment provisions of statute will allow all prospective teachers seeking entry to teacher preparation to be admitted and pass their required tests prior to completion of their program.
The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing is an agency in the Executive Branch of California State Government. It was created in 1970 by the Ryan Act and is the oldest of the autonomous state standards boards in the nation. The major purpose of the agency is to serve as a state standards board for educator preparation for the public schools of California, the licensing and credentialing of professional educators in the State, the enforcement of professional practices of educators, and the discipline of credential holders in the State of California.