|Action||Comprehensive Revision of the Licensure Regulations for School Personnel|
|Comment Period||Ends 11/6/2015|
Retain the wording "Foundations of Education" in Professional Studies Course requirements, please!
I am writing to express my concerns with some changes proposed in the Teacher Licensure Regulations for the commonwealth of VA. Specifically, my concerns are in these areas:
8VAC20-23-130. Professional studies requirements item 5
8VAC20-23-190. Professional studies requirements. Item 4
In essence, the changes proposed in these sections seem to be doing four things:
- Removing the title “Foundations of Education” and replacing it with “The Teaching Profession.”
- Moving the assessment content out of the foundations course into a separate course.
- Explicitly adding in content on professionalism, ethical standards, and personal integrity
- Adding in content on Virginia’s Guidelines for Uniform Performance Standards and Evaluation Criteria for Teachers
While I certainly agree with item number 2 above, that the assessment content is important enough to be moved out and made a professional studies requirement of its own, I do have some strong concerns about item 1.
My primary concern rests with changing the title of the professional studies requirement of “Foundations of Education” to “The Teaching Profession.” While it might seem minor, such a title change represents something very significant to the field of educational foundations.
Perhaps the writers of the proposed regulations are unaware that there is a field called the Foundations of Education (also referred to as the Social Foundations of Education), which is served, among others, by a national organization called the Council for Social Foundations of Education (CFSE). The CFSE has developed a set of professional standards purposed with informing state regulatory agencies on initial teacher certification requirements in the field of the foundations of education (http://csfeonline.org/about/csfe-standards/). Removing the wording of “Foundations of Education” from the professional studies requirement in the licensure regulations would, in effect, divorce this professional studies area from its disciplinary mooring. All professional studies requirements for licensure should be linked to an academic field/area because there is a need for a united professional voice to help articulate what happens in this course (especially when it concerns such a broad statement as “the historical, philosophical, and sociological foundations of education”). How the commonwealth of Virginia titles a professional studies requirement (regardless of how an IHE ultimately titles the course) is important. By using the title “Foundations of Education,” the commonwealth is affirming the value of a particular professional field as well as helping an IHE understand who has the expertise to teach such courses (e.g. people who have graduated from PhD programs specializing in the Foundations of Education). The state regulations regarding teaching licensure are legal documents, and thus semantics DO matter.
Additionally, as relates to items 3 and 4 in the listing above, the disconnection of “foundations of education” as a title seems inconsistent with the wording that follows the title change in the proposed regulations. The Foundations of Education field deals directly with teaching students not only the historical, philosophical, and sociological foundations of education, but also with what it means to be an ethical professional of education who has examined issues of personal integrity, especially as related to how one successfully remains in the teaching field and how one equitably serves and understands our increasingly diverse student population (the field of multicultural education is a sub-field of the foundations of education). In essence, the foundations of education courses around the state are already doing what the new regulations seem, on the surface, to want.
Based on the fact above that the Foundations of Education is already doing what the proposed regulations seek for “The Teaching Profession” course to do, and that foundations scholars are the best equipped to carry out this mission, I assume that the proposed change to the title is merely a case of the writers of the regulation changes not fully understanding that the the terminology “Foundations of Education” is referencing a particular academic field/focus. I hope that my explanations above have illustrated how the term “Foundations of Education” is important, that such referencing determines how a university teacher preparation program best plans this course and finds qualified individuals to teach it, and thus needs to remain in the regulations.