January 31, 2000 Vol. IV, No. 9

CSUN Delegation Attends Conference on Teacher Quality

College of Education Credential Output Grows by 21%, Becomes Largest Public Program in State

Highlighting Cal State Northridge's role as California's largest public teacher training institution, CSUN Interim President Louanne Kennedy led an invited campus delegation to the federal government's recent "National Conference on Teacher Quality" in Washington, D.C.

CSUN's five-member delegation joined about 1,000 educators and others from around the country to hear presentations on ways to improve teacher recruitment, teacher preparation and provide more support for new teachers. U.S. Education Secretary Richard Riley gave opening remarks.

"I think the purpose of the conference was to punctuate the need not only for a large number of new teachers, but also that we need well-trained and competent teachers. Such teachers do not come from a one-shot approach to training, but from an ongoing continuum of planned educational experiences," said CSUN College of Education Dean Philip Rusche, (left)who also attended.

Responding to a national and local shortage of teachers, CSUN's College of Education boosted its preparation of teacher credential candidates by 21 percent to 1,054 during 1997-98, becoming the largest public program in the state, according to the latest California Commission on Teacher Credentialing statistics.

The data reflects the total number of multiple and single subject teaching credential documents issued that year upon recommendation of the various institutions. The next largest public programs behind CSUN were CSU Fresno at 1,014, CSU Long Beach at 961 and CSU Hayward at 948.

CSUN's total credential program output for 1997-98 exceeded that of the entire University of California system, which totaled 997 for the year. The only larger programs anywhere in California belonged to two private institutions, Chapman University (2,881) and National University (2,098).

Riley detailed the problems facing school districts and universities in his opening address. "If I could boil down the biggest challenge to K-12 education in one sentence, it would be this: We've got a record number of children to teach, and a shortage of qualified teachers."

The secretary said many school districts are reporting the worst shortages of qualified teachers in memory, particularly in math, science, special education and bilingual education. An estimated 250,000 U.S. teachers are working without proper preparation in course content or without any formal training.

"The conference underscored a renewed commitment to excellent teacher education in this country and the need for reforms to be made in partnership between the teacher education institutions, the schools and communities," President Kennedy said.

Also attending along with Kennedy and Rusche were CSUN College of Humanities Dean Jorge Garcia; Maria Casillas, president of the Los Angeles Annenberg Metropolitan Project, and Saundra Sparling, education director for the Mar Vista Institute and a CSUN College of Education faculty member.

This spring is shaping up as a very busy time for the College of Education. One major initiative heading toward conclusion is the preparation of the college's strategic plan for the future. Also, a commission is due to submit its recommendations on the college becoming a "charter college."

One objective on Rusche's list is the need for CSUN, and its College of Education, to expand the number and depth of their partnerships with San Fernando Valley public schools, particularly in the Los Angeles school district. Rusche said the January 9-10 conference reinforced that need.

The need for quality teachers "is in the national spotlight now. It would be a shame if we don't seize this initiative and do something with it," the dean said. "The college should be the catalyst for teacher quality in the region we serve. My goal is to see CSUN and the local schools working together."


January, 31, 2000

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