Yestereday’s Illinois House hearing on edTPA.

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Illinois State Representative Christian Mitchell stayed long enough to voice support for edTPA before leaving the committee hearing.

Sandy Deines is a friend, colleague and retired high school teacher from Park Ridge who currently supervises student teachers.

She knows from first hand experience what damage edTPA is doing to the teaching profession.

Sandy went to Springfield yesterday to testify against edTPA as a member of the Illinois Coalition for edTPA Rule Change.

I spoke with her this morning and she told me she felt good about the hearing. More than a few people there told me that there was bi-partisan skepticism of edTPA from members of the committee. There were many pointed questions directed at the witness from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).

You can watch the committee hearing here.

One prominent supporter of edTPA on the committee was 26th District Representative Christian Mitchell.

Mitchell stayed only long enough at the hearing to express his support for edTPA. He was not there to hear opposition witnesses.

Cassie Cresswell of More Than A Score, who also was lobbying testifying in Springfield yesterday against edTPA, posted about Mitchell on her Facebook page, “Jay Travis’ opponent non-ironically quoted George W. Bush today at a House education committee hearing.”

If you needed another reason to vote for Jay Travis in the 26th District.

The Illinois Education Association supports edTPA and put a staffer up to testify. Sandy Deines said she spoke with IEA’s chief lobbyist, Jim Reed. When she asked him to explain the IEA’s support, Sandy said he smiled sheepishly and shrugged.

The Illinois Federation of Teachers opposes edTPA. Their lobbyists, I am told, were helpful in having the House committee hearing take place.

Everyone I spoke with expressed appreciation that there was a hearing.

It was Representative Guzzardi who zeroed in on the shrinking number of minority teachers and the negative impact edTPA is having on minority teachers entering the profession.

It was left to other organizations and social media to get the word out to teachers and parents. We were able to mobilize 300 witness slips opposing edTPA within 24 hours. Imagine if the IFT had joined in the effort.

Meanwhile, search the IEA website about edTPA. There is nothing. Since they support it, what are they afraid of? Earlier this year I went to Springfield to lobby for parental rights to opt out of PARCC testing and found myself on the opposite side of the IEA. Now this.

Someone needs to explain why the IEA is so consistently on the wrong side of ed reform issues.

What happens now?

State Representative Will Guzzardi, a critic of edTPA, says he would prefer that the ISBE make the changes themselves rather than have the legislature take any action.

He says there is talk of having the scoring take place in-house rather than outsourcing to profit-making Pearson.

6 thoughts on “Yestereday’s Illinois House hearing on edTPA.

  1. If anyone needed more proof of the abandonment of teaching standards by the I.E.A., their support of edTPA is it. How anyone could value the idea of certification by staged video and limited,unconnected evaluation by unqualified, questionably “trained” evaluators making a judgement about the quality of a candidate (without ever even talking to them).

    Does the I.E.A. somehow think that is a better choice than respecting the judgement of experienced professionals who spend weeks, months, and years mentoring and evaluating these prospective teachers? That makes no sense at all.

    Perhaps the I.E.A. is forming a Vidkun Quisling Club. This is just another example of I.E.A. acceptance of a bad practice. Lets just go along to get along. Maybe they will claim that something even worse was avoided by doing it.

    Here is a thought: How about opposing ALL poor practices suggested by these so called “reformers” because they are bad for the profession? Giving in to them will not solve anything. We need to stand for what is right, not appease our enemies.

  2. For the record, I did no lobbying in Springfield yesterday, only testifying.

    My full written testimony is available here: http://morethanascorechicago.org/2015/11/10/mtas-testifies-at-il-house-committee-hearing-on-edtpa/

    Re Rep Guzzardi’s suggestion, it would certainly be preferable to not have videos and classwork from IL’s public school students submitted to Pearson and then distributed to their contract employee scorers.

    But parents would likely not be pleased about videos of their children being handed over to universities and ISBE—and whoever is hired by ISBE to do such scoring either.

    There is no reason that student teacher cannot be evaluated by expert teacher educators via live observations in the classroom. This presents a very limited or no student privacy/confidentiality issue with respect to students’ educational records.

    Personally identifiable information about individual children in our public school classrooms does not need to be shared and should not be shared with any agencies outside the school walls in order to evaluate teacher candidates.

    • You are so right, Cassie, about videos. My gosh, how were teachers/student teachers evaluated prior to the invention of such technology?
      Quite honestly, rhetorical question–a real no-brainer.

  3. I think back to when alternative portfolios were required for students with significant cognitive delays. I remember the hours of work one teacher put into that portfolio and the rigid requirements associated with it. I remember when it was returned with no comment other than it was sufficient. Someone applied their checklist and confirmed that the portfolio jumped through all the hoops and checked it off. edTPA strikes me as just another way to generate revenue either for Pearson or the state. Let the people who are training teachers, who have a relationship with the students, evaluate them. Their assessments have authentic value to those potential teachers.

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