CUE’s CEO Remarks to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing

Mike Lawrence, CEO of CUE
NOTE: this is not what it looked like when I was speaking to the Commission, but it is me, and I did have a tie on.

Below are the remarks I delivered October 8, 2015 to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. The CCTC was convened to make recommendations to changing the credentialing process in California, which has remained largely unchanged since 2042 credentials were implemented in 2003. An august body, chaired by Prof. Linda Darling-Hammond, and made up of teachers, community representatives, all smart, caring people. Proposed changes to the Teacher Performance Expectations (TPEs) and the Teaching Performance Assessment (TPA) were before the commission for consideration. The question was not whether to approve or deny the changes, but rather whether to have staff continue to develop these through a validity study or not.

I was invited to speak by a fellow member of the Teacher Advisory Panel, on which I served three years ago.  CTCLogo-webWe were quite vocal in our remarks, and as you might expect with me involved, many of our recommendations suggested radical changes in the way we prepare teachers to use digital tools, and prepare them for blended and online learning environments. Below are the comments as I had prepared them. For the actual, live (sometimes off-script) version, you can visit the archive from the live-streamed meetings here.

If you’d like to add your voice to mine, I would encourage you to attend the public comment scheduled for Oct. 28. More info below.


Good afternoon. My name is Mike Lawrence, CEO of CUE, a nonprofit educator association focused on inspiring innovative educators representing thousands of teachers, administrators across California.

Apologies in advance, but as a former high school English teacher, I’m honor-bound to begin and end my remarks with authors’ quotes. John Dewey famously said, “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.” I invoke Dewey today in reference to proposal 2E & 2E Agenda Insert, the update on the development of the Commission’s TPEs and Teaching Performance Assessment.

There can be no doubt that digital tools, resources, online and blended learning are transforming all industries. Education, due to the entrenched structures around certification, tenure, and largely antiquated preparation programs has largely resisted this trend, until recently. 

As a member of the 2011-2013 Teacher Advisory Panel (TAP), I seek to remind the commission of the six recommendations we made calling for a revolutionary change in teacher standards, TPEs, and the TPA to better prepare the teachers and administrators of the future.

The updates proposed here include only passing references to 21st century learning, but fail to go far enough to address the necessary changes in teacher preparation. There is a common assumption that the new teachers from the millennial generation and younger enter teaching credential programs with a deep understanding of the instructional use of technology just because they are proficient in capturing the perfect selfie and keeping up with all things “Kardashian.” This is not the case. Educational technology is a skill that must be taught in the teacher preparation programs and it must go beyond learning PowerPoint.

According to the most recent CA eLearning Census, over 200,000 California students are currently in Online and Blended learning programs and this number is growing. Teaching in online and blended learning environments requires a wholly different set of skills to be effective than were required in traditional 19th century brick-and-mortar schools.

It is therefore puzzling that the proposed TPA Design and Implementation Standards lacks any sort of expectations that institutions must provide training on the effective use of technology, online platforms, and blended learning solutions for pedagogical purposes.

All that said, there are examples of preparation programs that are effectively adopting these expectations regardless of any requirement to do so. As science fiction author William Gibson has said, “The future is already here, it’s just not very evenly distributed.”

Thank you for the opportunity to speak.


 NOTE: the CTC is holding an additional input meeting to collect feedback from educators and general public. Here are all the details:

A public input session will be held on Wednesday, October 28 to discuss the draft TPEs so that they can be ready for a validity study. The meeting will take place at the Commission offices in Sacramento and there will be an opportunity for individuals to join through a web-based technology if the individual cannot get to Sacramento. A comprehensive TPE/CSTP document will be posted on the PSD web page by Friday, October 23. Please review the document and bring a copy to the Input Session. To register to attend the input session—please complete the following electronic registration:https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Oct28TPEs

M.Lawrence2014Mike Lawrence is CUE’s Chief Executive Officer. An educator for the last 20 years, he worked as a teacher, administrator, and professional developer prior to starting at CUE in 2005. He received the CUE Gold Disk in 2010 and recently served two terms on the ISTE Board of Directors. He is the Director of the California Student Media Festival, was named one of NSBA’s “20 to Watch in Educational Technology” in 2012, and received ISTE’s Making IT Happen Award in 2013. | mlawrence@cue.org  @techmaverick 

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