Friday, February 23, 2018

Adult Ed Credential and Credentialing Programs: Keep, Change or Throw Away?

Recently the LAO recommended that K12 Adult Education - Adult Schools - no longer require a teaching credential.

Here's what they said:

"No Longer Require Adult School Instructors to Hold a Credential.
We recommend the Legislature amend statute so that individuals no longer need a teaching credential to serve as instructors at adult schools. By aligning qualifications for instructors, instructors could readily teach adult education courses at both community colleges and adult schools. Moreover, the change could help adult schools in hiring teachers. If the state has concerns about the quality of adult education instructors, it could encourage consortia to provide professional development as needed." - From the 2018 LAO Report on Adult Education…/2018-19-Adult-Education-Analysis-021518…

Adult School Credential - Require or Don't Require - Major Policy Change

If we are going to make a major policy change and no longer require a teaching credential for Adult School teachers, we need to have informed and meaningful conversations about credentials - what are they, how do you get one, what do they signify, how good are or aren't the programs that give them, what is their purpose, etc.

Here is some information to gets us started on that conversation.

State of California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Information

The official name for an Adult Ed credential is a Designated Subjects credential.

Here's the California CTC - Commission on Teacher Credentialing - webpage with the requirements for a Designated Subjects teaching credential.

Two Levels of Credential

There are two levels of credentials for teaching Adult Ed - preliminary and clear.  Preliminary gets you in the door so you can start teaching.  Clear says you have met all the initial requirements plus more requirements plus you have experience.  Now you are "clear" to teach as a solid, seasoned professional.  The credential must be renewed every five years.  This screens out issues which may come up which would bar a person from teaching.

From the website:  Period of Validity The preliminary credential is valid for three years. The clear credential is valid for five years and must be renewed online every five-year renewal cycle. Once issued, there are no additional academic requirements to renew the clear credential.

Introductory information on the CTC webpage

The Preliminary or Clear Designated Subjects Adult Education Teaching Credential authorizes the holder to teach the subjects named on the credential in courses organized primarily for adults. In addition, the holder may serve as a substitute in courses organized primarily for adults for not more than 30 days for any one teacher during the school year. Designated Subjects Adult Education Teaching Credentials are issued to individuals who meet the requirements listed below and are recommended by a Commission-approved program sponsor.

Requirements for the Preliminary Credential 

1. Three years of experience and/or education directly related to each subject to be named on the credential. (see Terms and Definitions for information regarding the experience requirement for general subjects or the section ACADEMIC SUBJECTS THAT MAY BE LISTED ON A CREDENTIAL for information regarding the education requirement for academic subjects)

2. High school diploma requirement by one of the following methods: a. High school diploma b. Diploma based on passage of the GED Test c. Foreign equivalent of a high school diploma

3. Satisfy the basic skills requirement. See Commission program leaflet CL-667, entitled Basic Skills Requirement for additional information. Applicants for the Adult Credential in general subjects (see chart later in this leaflet) are exempt from the basic skills requirement.

4. Verification, signed by the Commission-approved program sponsor, that the applicant has been apprised of the requirements for both the preliminary and clear credentials, including the requirements of the program of personalized preparation

5. Completed application (form 41-4)

6. Completed Live Scan receipt (41-LS), verifying fingerprints have been taken and fees have been paid, unless fingerprint clearance is already on file at the Commission

7. Application processing fee

8. Recommendation by a Commission-approved program sponsor

Requirements for the Clear Credential

Individuals must satisfy all of the following requirements:

1.  Possess a valid California Preliminary Designated Subjects Adult Education Teaching Credential (three year or five-year)

2.  Commission-approved program of personalized preparation 

3.  Two years of successful teaching on the basis of the Preliminary Designated Subjects Adult Education Teaching Credential in the subject(s) listed on the credential. This is defined as teaching of a minimum of one course in each of four terms within the three-year period of validity of the preliminary adult education teaching credential

4. U.S. Constitution requirement by one of the following methods: a. Complete a course (at least two semester units or three quarter units) in the provisions and principles of the U.S. Constitution. Submit a photocopy of the course description for evaluation purposes. b.   Pass an examination in the provisions and principles of the U.S. Constitution given by a regionally accredited college or university

5. Health education, including, but not limited to, the study of nutrition; the physiological and sociological effects of abuse of alcohol, narcotics, and drugs, and the use of tobacco. This requirement must also include training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) that covers infant, child, and adult CPR skills.

6. Computer-based technology, including the uses of technology in educational settings

7. Completed application (form 41-4)

8. Application processing fee 

9.  Recommendation by a Commission-approved program sponsor

NOTE:  Adult Ed covers a broad array of subjects and requirements for these teaching these subjects vary.

Requirements for Teaching ESL

English as a Second Language is one of the biggest programs in Adult Education.  Let's take a look at those requirements.

A bachelor’s degree or higher completed at a regionally-accredited college or university to include a degree major, certificate, or completion of 20 semester units or 10 upper division semester units in one or any combination of the following: Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Second Language Acquisition Language other than English Linguistics Bilingual/Bicultural studies.

Credential Programs

Credential programs vary - some are excellent and some not so good.

San Francisco State University

I got my credential at San Francisco State University.  It was an excellent program. During the years of cuts and closures, SFSU stopped offering the credential program.  Not surprising - Adult Ed barely survived the devastation of those years.  Over 70 Adult Schools closed and all were cut.  There were virtually no jobs available in Adult Ed.  And when it did emerge, in emerged in a new form - with a narrowed mission, a new focus (workforce), and with emphasis on "performance."

SFSU offers a Masters in Education with a Concentration in Adult Education - which looks to be a very good program.  Dr. Doris Flowers is one of the Graduate Advisors and I can attest to her excellence in both teaching and depth of knowledge in the field.  I studied with her at SFSU.

(Blog author writing this ---  who studied at SFSU --- Cynthia Eagleton)

No More Adult Ed Credential at SFSU So Let's Look at LA

But no more designated subjects credential at SFSU so let's look at Los Angeles - a region in huge need of Adult Ed and home of the biggest Adult School in the state.  Here is the coursework offered by the Los Angeles County Office of Education for a Designated Subjects Credential. 

On-Line versus In-Person Credential Programs

NOTE:  The coursework offered by LACOE appears to be somewhat similar in content to what I took at SFSU - but the courses are offered online in a partnership with the University of San Diego.  Having both taken and taught both online and in-person classes, I am of the opinion that when it comes to learning how to teach, at least some of the coursework should in-person.  Part of learning how to be a good teacher is being a student in a class about good teaching taught by a skillful teacher, talking about what works and what doesn't with real people in real time.  There's no substitute for it.   (Opinion mine - Cynthia Eagleton)

The LACOE Designated Subjects Adult Education (AE) Credential Program includes the following:

Early Orientation Modules 1-6 and Professional Development Modules 7 & 10 (complete within thirty days) Candidates begin the program by completing the free, self-paced, online Early Orientation training modules  1-6 as well as the free Professional Development modules 7 & 10. Applicants must complete the eight modules within thirty (30) days of receiving the email instructions from the DS Credentials Coordinator.

Required Coursework (after completion of the EO/PD modules):

Foundations of Classroom Management, 3 semester units ($600) 
Foundations of Curriculum, 3 semester units ($600) 
Foundations for Teaching Adult Learners, 3 semester units ($600) 
Teaching Portfolio, 2 semester units ($350) 
Health Education for Teachers, 2 semester units ($350)
Total Program Units and Fees: 11 semester units (Total $2425)*

LACOE provides the credentials coursework in partnership with the University of San Diego (USD). Courses are offered online. Course sequence and descriptions are as follows: 

FIRST COURSE: Foundations of Classroom Management Candidates will continue to build on effective instructional strategies learned in the EO/PD modules for getting started in the classroom.  The course will focus on developing classroom management strategies to achieve positive learning outcomes and address safety issues to ensure an effective learning environment. Other topics include an overview of CTE, lesson mastery, and education resources. Candidates will review the program requirements for the clear credential and learn strategies for obtaining teaching positions. 

SECOND COURSE: Foundations of Curriculum Candidates will explore key websites for curriculum planning and development of course outlines, syllabi, and lesson plans using the K-12 Content Standards and the CTE Standards.  Development and use of student assessments tied to standards-based instruction will be studied. Candidates will focus on the effective use of technology to support and enhance classroom instruction. 

THIRD COURSE: Foundations for Teaching Adult Learners This course provides candidates with an understanding of how to become an effective teacher of adults. Building upon the Adult Learning Theory module completed in the Early Orientation, candidates will study the andragogy and principles of teaching adults along with key concepts that inform teaching practices. Strategies for teaching to a diverse group of adult learners will be provided including differentiated instruction techniques. 

FOURTH COURSE: Teaching Portfolio This culminating course will enable candidates to provide evidence through an e-portfolio of their knowledge and skills as an effective CTE teacher. 

FIFTH COURSE:  Health Education for Teachers This course provides information on legal mandates for teachers and strategies for promoting healthy choices for students. The course may be taken concurrently with any other courses. 

*Subject to change. Please go to and then Credential Program for course schedules and fees.

Keep - Change - Throw Away

So that's some basic info - very basic info - about Adult Ed credentials.

There is much more to discuss:   The value of credentials.  What they signify.  How credentialing programs could or should be improved.  The reality of jobs - plentiful, scarce, good, bad - teaching in Adult Ed in California - in Adult Schools or at Community Colleges.  And much, much more.

What are you thoughts?  Keep, change or throw away the credential and/or these programs?

Please weigh in through the comment box or by writing a guest post for the blog.  If you are interested in writing a guest post, please contact me, Cynthia.

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