Local teachers appointed to credentialing commission panels

April 04, 2001|By LAURA MACKENZIE, Staff Writer

Two Imperial Valley teachers have been selected for advisory panels for the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

Richard Sanchez, a science teacher at Holtville Middle School, and Larry Osa, a Calexico High School history teacher, have been selected to review the state's current criteria for teacher credentialing in their specialties.

"Our charge is to develop new standards of quality and effectiveness for the subject matter," said Osa, reading from the state's charge to the panel members.

Osa and Sanchez have just returned from their first advisory panel meetings, during which they discussed the current manual and changes that might be made.


Advisory panels meet in the English, math, science and history/social science subject areas to delineate subject-specific skills, knowledge and abilities required for beginning teachers.

Each advisory panel will review and update current manuals, which colleges and universities use to train their education majors.

Sanchez said the criteria for all subject matter was last updated in 1992.

"We write the book for how colleges and universities must design their programs for a credential," Osa said, "It will be an extensive revision."

Sanchez cautioned that the advisory panels will only be making recommendations for changes.

"It will be up to the commission to accept or reject the panel's recommendations," said Sanchez, adding he did not anticipate the commission rejecting any recommendations.

Sanchez said the advisory committee will update the competency tests required for those attempting to receive credentials without taking the course work in college.

"There are two ways right now to receive a credential — through the approved curriculum and through challenging it by taking a test," Sanchez said.

He added the advisory panel will try to streamline the many tests required into one test, "to make it more accessible to people."

Osa said the advisory panel's recommendations will have an impact on colleges and universities because their teacher preparation programs are subject to review by the state.

"They can lose their right to prepare teachers if they don't follow the manual," Osa said.

Osa added that at this point it looks like professors will be told by the state what they have to teach.

He said professors on the history/social science panel anticipated resistance from colleges and universities. He cited academic freedom as an issue that might surface.

"It's a prescriptive for history/social science teachers. They will be told, ‘This is what you have to teach,'" Osa said, adding that many professors might not like being told what to teach by the state.

Both men were nominated for the position and went through a three-month application process.

The appointment is for a two-year period, during which the teachers will meet with the panel an average of every three months.

"It was a lot of work, but I enjoyed it," Osa said.

Both men have extensive experience in their subject matter.

Sanchez will earn his master's degree in life science/biology from San Diego State in May.

Osa has been at Calexico High School for 18 years as a history/social sciences and government teacher.

Staff Writer Laura MacKenzie can be reached at 337-3442.

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