Sacramento Scene, November 2020

By: Matt Patton, CATA Executive Director

UC Davis Threatens to Suspend the Credentialing Teacher Program

In October, the UC Davis School of Education announced that it would pursue the suspension of the fifth-year masters and credentialing program for all subject areas. Davis’s School of Education made the following announcement prior to putting the decision to a faculty vote: “Among our priorities will be better integrating our innovative research into our curriculum, expanding and deepening the ways we prepare our graduates to address institutional racism, and increasing the use of digital tools for teaching and learning.”

In the education program at Davis, professors were told to prepare for furloughs with the possibility of reapplying for their jobs at an undisclosed date. This was planned despite California facing a significant teacher shortage and the Davis program enrollment remaining stable over the last five years.

The protest to the proclamation was immediate and widespread. Faculty, alumni, and the education community all rallied in opposition. An alumni-lead petition, numerous letters, e-mails and phone calls caused a reversal of the decision. 

Less than a week after the announcement, Lauren Lindstrom, Dean of Education, released a statement proclaiming that while she is “still convinced that a major redesign is necessary, we have listened to faculty, staff and community input and have decided to slow down our process.” The faculty vote was suspended, and admissions to the program remain open for the 2021 academic year (Flaherty, 2020). 

Thank you to everyone who answered the call and voiced concerns to UC Davis about this issue. It was your swift and decisive response that reversed the decision to suspend the program. The hope is that redesigning or updating the curriculum can be accomplished without disrupting teacher candidates’ pipeline into this noble profession. 

Californians Reject Proposition 16

On election day, California voters rejected Proposition 16 that would have restored affirmative action in government agencies and public universities. The vote was 56.1% to 43.9%, defeating the proposition. The defeat comes despite a significant campaign to pass the proposal with over $20 million in contributions. In comparison, contributions to defeat Proposition 16 garnered only $1.5 million. 

Proposition 15, Too Close to Call 

The morning after the election, with 82% of the precincts reporting, the vote was 51.7 % in opposition and 48.3% in support of Proposition 15. If passed, the proposition would amend the California State Constitution to require commercial and industrial properties to be taxed based on current market value. The proposition would institute a split roll tax assessing taxes on residential properties based on the purchase price and commercial properties at market value. Revenues from the tax increase would be allocated to schools, community colleges and county and local governments.  

National FFA Convention

A week removed from the National FFA Convention, congratulations are in order for numerous FFA members, ag teachers and programs across California. The work put in by State Staff, teachers, students and volunteers are greatly appreciated and reflects favorably on California Ag Education. California had a robust year matching or breaking previous records in Agriscience and Proficiency competitions. California had four National Agriscience research winners, tying the record set in 2008 for the most category wins. Additionally, California posted nine National Proficiency winners, breaking the record set in 2007 of seven. California once again has a National FFA Officer, now with a run of three over the last four years. Congratulations again to all the students and coaches that didn’t let the pandemic keep them from participating and competing.

Sacramento Scene

As election results wrap up across the state and the focus returns to the Sacramento capital business, several things become clear. First, the Democrats will maintain a supermajority in the Assembly, Senate and hold the Governor’s office. Secondly, lean economic times are on the horizon. With large portions of the California economy still dealing with the impact of the pandemic and related restrictions, tax revenue will be down, and funding needs will be up. The challenge in the next several budget cycles will be to maintain Career Technical Education and Ag Education funding at current levels. It is anticipated that the January Budget will be bleak. 

Matt Patton, Executive Director, California Agricultural Teachers’ Assn.mpatton@calagteachers.org209 744-1605

For more information about the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association, visit http://calagteachers.org/

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