State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces Federal Approval of California’s Plan to Ensure Equitable Access to Excellent Educators
LE October 23, 2015 9:41 PM
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State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that the U.S. Department of Education has approved California’s plan to make sure all students have access to excellent educators.

The California 2015 State Plan to Ensure Equitable Access to Excellent Educators highlights initiatives being carried out by the California Department of Education (CDE) under the leadership of Torlakson, the State Board of Education (SBE), and the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing to improve teacher quality, teaching quality, and instructional leadership.

“All students should have access to excellent teachers. That’s a matter of simple fairness,” said Torlakson. “This plan details California’s efforts to make sure students from low-income families and students of color have the same access to experienced and qualified teachers as other students. I’m pleased the federal government has approved the plan.”

A key part of the plan, Torlakson said, is California’s new funding system that provides additional resources to low-income students, English learners, foster youth, and districts that have high concentrations of those students.

The plan details a variety of changes California is making to improve teacher preparation, including:

  • Updating teaching performance assessment to ensure California teachers are prepared to teach to the most current academic standards.
  • Strengthening accreditation standards for programs that prepare new teachers, as well as gathering relevant data to identify which programs are producing well-prepared classroom teachers.
  • Revising performance expectations for beginning teachers to include new emphasis on cultural competency and working with special education students.
  • Updating standards for induction of new teachers in California to better support new teachers in their classrooms.

The plan also outlines steps being taken to improve administrator preparation, including updating professional standards and assisting preparation programs. The goal is to develop strong leaders, who can recruit, retain, and support a high-performing teaching workforce.

As part of the plan, the CDE will convene stakeholders annually to review data and identify opportunities for improvement. Using this information, the CDE will prepare a report on the plan’s progress and present it to the SBE on an annual basis.