State auditor says few teachers enrolling in specialized program
Ohanian Comment: Note to California state officials: some teachers, still trying to be professional, look for furthering their education rather than submitting themselves to training.
I won't go into a rant about rigor
SACRAMENTO – Fewer than 7,300 of the state's 252,000 public school math and reading instructors have completed a voluntary training program that state lawmakers approved in hopes of introducing more rigorous academic content to California classrooms, a state audit found.
Proponents had vowed to train 176,000 teachers on state educational standards and using texts and other teaching materials to boost student learning.
While the Mathematics and Reading Development Program started with $143 million in funding for fiscal 2001-02, state Auditor Elaine Howle said lawmakers cut $98 million from the program during its first two years. Education officials said annual funding was then cut further, to just $31.7 million a year.
The audit surveyed 100 school districts. Howle criticized teachers and district officials for lacking motivation to participate in the 120-hour voluntary training and also blamed the state Department of Education for failing to effectively promote it.
The state administrator of the program, Phil Lafontaine, disputed the report's findings. He said 30,500 K-12 teachers had completed the training by the end of the 2005-06 fiscal year and that an additional 80,300 had taken the first part of the two-phase program, a 40-hour course.
School districts are paid $1,250 per teacher to cover costs of the initial 40-hour training session and another $1,250 when a teacher completes the second, 80-hour session. Teachers are paid $500 for each course.
Lafontaine said far fewer teachers sign up for the second, longer program.
The audit said lawmakers should demand greater accountability for the course, which they recently voted to extend through fiscal year 2011-12.
“The Legislature should consider redefining its expectations for the program, clearly stating the number of teachers to be fully trained as well as any gains in student achievement expected,” the report said.
San Diego Union-Tribune
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