Thefirst meeting of the Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education of the Interim Joint Committee on Education was held on Monday, August 7, 2006, at 10:00 AM, in Room 171 of the Capitol Annex. Senator David L. Williams, Co-Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator David L. Williams, Co-Chair; Representative Mary Lou Marzian, Co-Chair; Senators Alice Forgy Kerr, Gerald A. Neal, Gary Tapp, Johnny Ray Turner, and Ken Winters; Representatives Jim DeCesare, C.B. Embry Jr, Bill Farmer, Mary Harper, Reginald K. Meeks, Charles L. Siler, and Addia Wuchner.
Legislative Guest: Representative Jon Draud.
Guests: Wayne Young, Kentucky Association of School Administrators; Mr. Clyde Caudill, Kentucky Association of School Administrators; Mr. John Wilkerson, Kentucky Education Association; Dr. Phillip Rogers, Education Professional Standards Board, and Ms. Marcie Puckett, Education Professional Standards Board.
LRC Staff: Sandy Deaton, Audrey Carr, and Lisa Moore.
Dr. Rogers explained the role of the Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB) in accrediting programs. Dr. Rogers said Kentucky currently has two programs that hold less than continuing accreditation: Alice Lloyd College holds continuing accreditation with probation, and Brescia College holds continuing accreditation with conditions. The rest of the programs hold either state accreditation or state and national accreditation.
Dr. Rogers discussed the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) flowchart for the accreditation of programs. The process begins with an application from the university or college, and the appropriate information is submitted to the Content Area Review Committee, which consists of four or five content area specialists, two from higher education and two practitioners. The Content Area Review Committee receives the program documents and determines if national guidelines and standards of relevant professional organizations are incorporated in the curriculum. The committee also ensures that state standards have been addressed.
The Continuous Assessment Review Committee (CARC) reviews the continuous assessment plan and conceptual framework as they relate to the continuous assessment of candidates, unit, and the program. A full report of their review is sent to the Reading Committee. The Reading Committee members are trained Board Examiners and include a number of nationally trained program reviewers. The Reading Committee membership consists of higher education faculty, practitioners, administrators, and parents. They review the reports submitted by the Content Area Review Committee and the CARC.
The institutions are given the opportunity to reply to all of the concerns submitted by the Reading Committee. Once all concerns are cleared, the Reading Committee submits their recommendations to the EPSB for program approval. In preparation for an accreditation visit, the Reading Committee can also submit concerns to the Board of Examiners for additional review.
The EPSB looks at the recommendation provided from the Reading Committee and makes an approval of the program on paper until an on-site accreditation visit is scheduled. After the accreditation visit, the Accreditation Audit Committee (AAC) reviews the Board of Examiners (BOE) Report, other accreditation materials, and interviews from the BOE team chair and the institution representatives.
Dr. Rogers said there are two other steps to conclude the accreditation process. The EPSB also adopted an emergency review process for individual programs in 2002 that did not meet the Title II pass rates. Each year the EPSB looks at every single program that the university has been approved to offer to ensure that they meet the minimum of the new teacher PRAXIS test, which is 80 percent. If they fall below 80 percent, the EPSB asks for a response as to why that program has less than 80 percent. The EPSB may also send in an emergency review team to talk to students and faculty.
Dr. Rogers discussed another indicator of accountability called the quality performance index (QPI). The QPI is a calculated index based upon three areas which are: 1) overall pass rate of the college on the PRAXIS new teacher test; 2) the pass rates of the new teachers on the Kentucky Teacher Internship Program; and 3) the overall results of the new teacher survey. He said a survey is distributed to all student teachers and their supervising teachers, which are called cooperating teachers, as well as intern teachers, or first year teachers, and their supervising teachers, which are called resource teachers. Dr. Rogers provided the members with the latest results of these surveys in the meeting folders. These surveys have been conducted for the last four years and he will discuss emerging trends later in the presentation.
Dr. Rogers discussed the Kentucky Teacher Preparation Initial Certification Area Matrix that lists each teacher preparation program by Kentucky college and the number of students who have completed the certification program. He has been working with the universities for the last three years in an effort to obtain clean and current data.
Dr. Rogers said Kentucky has seven optional routes for alternative certification. They are: 1) the Exceptional Work Experience; 2) the Local District Training Program; 3) College Faculty; 4) Adjunct Instructor; 5) Veterans of the Armed Services; 6) University Based Alternative Route; and 7) the University Institute option. Dr. Rogers explained each option in detail and the handout is located in the meeting folder in the Legislative Research Commission (LRC) library.
Dr. Rogers said Kentucky is noted for its high quality alternative routes and offers many more options than the surrounding states. He said the number of emergency certificates issued have decreased since the alternative certifications have increased. He also noted that 159 of 176 local school districts have at least one person who has entered the teaching field through an alternative route.
Dr. Rogers discussed the critical shortage areas. He said Kentucky is filling the high need areas of math, biology, chemistry, and physics with teachers who have completed alternative routes, primarily mid-career folks who are looking to make a career change. These numbers have increased 25 percent over the last couple of years. He said special education was not included, which always remains a high need area, and the alternative routes help to fill these positions as well.
Dr. Rogers mentioned that the special education teachers have a stressful job. Retention numbers show that new teachers come in, maybe through an alternative route, but take other positions when they become available. Dr. Rogers noted that between 30 and 40 percent of the teachers seeking alternative certification, most through option six, have a certificate in another area. He said this whole issue is a problem and he would look forward to having future discussions with the members on solving the problem. He feels that Kentucky needs to put in statute that teachers have a major in the area that they are teaching.
Dr. Rogers discussed the rigor of the teacher preparation programs, and the degree of alignment between the postsecondary curricula and Kentucky's K-12 content standards and professional expectations for classroom teachers. He said the Title II Teacher Quality Enhancement Grant paid for a major curriculum alignment strand to align the elements of the new teacher Praxis test, the Core Content, the Kentucky Teacher Standards, and national standards.
Dr. Rogers discussed the assistance, interventions and consequences for programs that do not perform well in preparing graduates for teaching or school leadership, and the accountability standards used to determine eligibility. He said technical assistance in a symposium and a wide array of workshops are offered for interventions and assistance to programs and teachers.
Dr. Rogers said he feels that Kentucky does a nice job preparing teachers to teach sixty to seventy percent of the students. It is the other 40 percent, who have special needs, that teachers do not feel qualified to teach. This feeling does not change even with the experienced teachers. He said the EPSB will adopt new goals in the spring, one of which will address the working conditions of teachers. He feels Kentucky does not have a problem producing new teachers, but has a problem of keeping teachers. He said research shows that the most ineffective year of any teacher's career is the first year, and this is why it is tragic when there is a constant a rotation of new teachers. He would like to have further conversations on this issue with the members in the future.
Dr. Rogers said Kentucky is one of the few states, and the only Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) state, that still requires teachers to obtain a master's degree. He said teachers are mandated to have the master's degree by the second renewal of their certificate, which is over a ten-year period. He said many teachers pursue the master's degree in administration and principal preparation, so there is not a shortage of people who could become principals, just a shortage of people who want to be principals.
Dr. Rogers said in reviewing the data obtained from the new teacher surveys, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the achievement gaps, and feedback from teachers, everything indicated that more value needed to be placed into the master's program. Teachers view the master's degree as a hoop to jump through to get a higher salary rank, but see that no value is placed in the program. He said teachers respond negatively when asked if the master's degree helped them to be a better teacher.
Dr. Rogers discussed the master's review committee recommendations for program components. Some components include: program design; program curriculum; and continuous monitoring and evaluation of candidate progress which demonstrates the ability to impact P-12 student learning which might include: evaluate practicum and clinical experiences; conduct and/or design projects; and develop a culminating performance-based assessment event. He said the master's program should turn the teachers into experts in managing student data, experts in curriculum design, and experts in instructional design, and enable them to teach this to other teachers. He said it was also determined that the program review and approval process should be determined by the EPSB.
Dr. Rogers discussed the 2006 House Joint Resolution (HJR) 14 that requires a task force to make recommendations to improve principal preparation programs. A task force and four work groups have been appointed and have begun their work.
Dr. Rogers said there will be anticipated changes as a result of the redesign of the principal preparation programs. Highlights of proposed program changes are as follows: 1) Program design and delivery that requires deliberate and sustained collaborations between districts and institutions; 2) Concentration in the programs on what principals should know and be able to do as supported by current research; 3) Inclusion of a cohort approach into the principal internship program; 4) Development of a content guide that will focus on improving student achievement for all students; 5) Focus on the development of principals from "aspiring to retiring" offering not only pre-service studies but also professional development to provide support for principals throughout their careers; 6) Focus on the proven strategies that move schools to high levels of student achievement: Standards and Indicators for School Improvement (SISI), Balanced Leadership, high quality professional development, assessment data analysis, and strategies to address needs; and 7) Use of student assessment data that may be linked to the leadership of the school and the principal preparation program.
Senator Tapp said Kentucky has more alternative routes to certification than the surrounding states, but asked how the numbers compared in producing teachers who are completing certification. Dr. Rogers said he did not have that information, but said Kentucky is very similar in numbers to Tennessee, while Ohio and Virginia outnumber the state very much. Senator Tapp asked for the number of teachers completing alternative certifications in Kentucky compared to surrounding states.
Senator Tapp asked if all high schools in the state of Kentucky have a certified physics teacher on staff. Dr. Rogers said no. Senator Tapp asked how many certified physics teachers Kentucky does have in its 230 high schools. Dr. Rogers said not enough, and that many schools do not offer but one course in physics each year, and will get a teacher in the math field that is endorsed to teach physics to teach the course. He will get Senator Tapp the exact number of certified physics teachers in the state. He also mentioned that in the future students in schools without a certified physics teacher will have the opportunity to take the course in a virtual classroom.
Representative Embry asked when Kentucky could realistically expect to see these changes and recommendations occur, and what group will ultimately be responsible for meeting the timelines of the implementations of changes. Dr. Rogers said the EPSB has a significant responsibility in seeing the changes through, but cannot do it alone. Secretary Virginia Fox, Education Cabinet, has done an excellent job of pulling together the EPSB, the Council on Postsecondary Education, and the Department of Education to work together, and this kind of cooperation is almost unknown across the country. He said he anticipates having the report from the master's committee by late spring or early summer. At that point, there will be a regulation that will provide key date changes for the master's program. He said certainly within two years, there will be a new master's program and new principal preparation programs up and running. He said some people see that as a short timeline, and to a university, it is a very aggressive timeline.
Representative Marzian said she has repeatedly heard about the critical mass of teachers approaching retirement, and asked if this is occurring now. Dr. Rogers said that the information from the Kentucky Teacher Retirement System is pretty scary, but alot of the retiring teachers are coming back and teaching part-time, which offsets some of it. He said however, if all the teachers eligible to retire did so today, Kentucky would have a huge problem on its hands. He also noted that the alternative routes to certification are helping to mitigate this problem in a way. He said there will always be regional problems of not being able to find a math or Spanish teacher, and that problem is not going to go away. He said the only way to address the problem is through virtual classrooms, but currently there are no standards in place for facilitating on-line classes, and the number of these classes being offered are exploding every year.
Representative Marzian said Jefferson County's superintendent understands that virtual classes are going to be the next frontier, but he is taking a hit from the school board to get them implemented. She said young people today are very technologically advanced. She was pleased that Dr. Rogers was pursuing this avenue of virtual classes and said it would be beneficial to Kentucky schools.
Representative Draud said Dr. Rogers had done in excellent job in implementing the leadership training study. He feels that Kentucky should look at some different kinds of options for rewarding teachers who enter into the areas of math and science, even though the subject is controversial and not popular among teachers. He said that what Kentucky has been doing in the past is not working, and in fact the state is going backwards in producing teachers in those areas.
Senator Winters asked if the internship program might help with the retention of teachers. Dr. Rogers said it is obvious that it does. He said while Kentucky has retention issues, states around us without induction programs have twice the retention problems. Kentucky has one of the best retention rates in the country, but it is still not good enough.
Senator Winters applauded the alternative certification routes for filling the critical shortage areas, but mentioned the importance of encouraging gifted students to get into teaching, primarily in the critical shortage areas for the long-term. He asked if Kentucky was producing too many elementary and secondary teachers. Dr. Rogers said yes, but many special education teachers are produced from the over abundance supply of the elementary and secondary teachers. His concern is that the elementary teachers are weak in the areas of mathematics and science, and need to be stronger. This issue will be addressed in the future. He also praised the DOE's Kentucky Future Educator Club as a model for the country in finding the brightest of students and preparing them to teach the future generation of students.
Senator Winters asked if there was a universal standard score applied to PRAXIS. Dr. Rogers said no, each state sets its own PRAXIS cut score. Dr. Rogers said the score is not set arbitrarily, but uses a method that brings in experienced teachers to look at the test items and identify what is necessary for new teachers to know when they begin teaching, and what is not necessary. Out of that information, a PRAXIS cut score is determined, but the EPSB does set some parameters, which says the cut scores must be between the 15th national percentile and the 25th percentile. Senator Winters asked how Kentucky's scores compared to other states, and Dr. Rogers said that Kentucky's PRAXIS scores are competitive with the surrounding states.
Representative Wuchner asked if there should be a recommendation that first year math and science teachers make a commitment for so many years to that subject matter. She also asked Dr. Rogers if he indicated that Kentucky should not focus so much on teachers obtaining masters' degrees, but on programs that certify teachers so that they can actually teach and to help avoid these high remedial courses in postsecondary education.
Dr. Rogers said the EPSB discussed whether Kentucky should require a master's degree, and the answer was yes. He said the necessary work in closing the achievement gap is rooted in understanding how to assess students, how to analyze data, and how to inform a person's own practice by understanding differentiated learning styles. He said these things are touched on in the initial teacher certification, but until a teacher is in the classroom, it is hard to comprehend how to put it into practice.
Senator Turner asked how long it would take a person with a doctorate degree in literature to obtain a teaching certificate, and would they be allowed to teach in an emergency situation, If so, what alternative route should be pursued.
Dr. Rogers said universities can offer a proficiency evaluation and say a person is ready to start teaching immediately, or they may need a few courses in classroom management. If the person has exceptional work experience and a doctorate in literature, he or she can utilize the exceptional work route. He said the EPSB and the General Assembly have worked very hard to get exceptional people in the classrooms. He mentioned there are attorneys that have been moved very quickly into the classrooms to teach social studies.
Senator Williams commented that some first year teachers do a fine job. He said most people take charge of their own professional development if they feel they need it.
Senator Williams asked Dr. Rogers about differentiated pay, and how many states utilize it for people in critical shortage areas. Dr. Rogers said he did not know, but there are not many. He said most states give teachers more money for additional duties, not more money for teaching math. A better example may be paying teachers more who teach in low-performing, high need schools. This is a much more common form of differentiated pay. Dr. Rogers said he would try to find out more information.
Senator Williams said that the EPSB should take a look at differentiated pay, even though it is not popular, but EPSB should be innovative. He also mentioned Governor Brown's interest in principal institutes and how duties of principals have changed over the years. Senator Williams said that principals need new skill sets from budgeting experience to running buses, and it may take a different set of people to fill these principal slots than Kentucky has had in the past.
With no further business before the committee, the meeting adjourned at 11:36 a.m.