|Action||Comprehensive Revision of the Licensure Regulations for School Personnel|
|Comment Period||Ends 11/6/2015|
I am opposed to the Virginia Department of Education’s proposal to eliminate the title of Foundations of Education from one of the professional studies requirements in the teacher licensure regulations and rename the requirement “The Teaching Profession.” While this may seem like a trivial change, I believe that it is actually a very significant and detrimental change. Foundations of Education has been a requirement in Virginia for at least the last 30 years and the content of such courses is still called for, even in the proposed regulation change. In the proposed regulation change, the title of the course changes from Foundations of Education to The Teaching Profession, yet the content of the course remains essentially the same. The proposed regulation appears below:
5. The teaching profession. Skills in this area shall be designed to develop an understanding of the historical, philosophical, and sociological foundations underlying the role, development and organization of public education in the United States. Attention must be given to the legal status of teachers and students, including federal and state laws and regulations, school as an organization/culture, and contemporary issues and current trends in education, including the impact of technology on education. Local, state, and federal governance of schools, including the roles of teachers and schools in communities must be included. Professionalism and ethical standards, as well as personal integrity must be addressed. Knowledge and understanding of Virginia’s Guidelines for Uniform Performance Standards and Evaluation Criteria for Teachers must be included.
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 to want, thus why change the name?
This proposed change from "Foundations of Education" to "The Teaching Profession" will needlessly cut the course off from the discipline/field of Social Foundations of Education – a distinct field of study with graduate programs across the nation (e.g.University of Virginia; University of North Carolina Greensboro;University of South Carolina;and the University of Michigan to name a few).
The faculty who teach these courses have had specific training in the Foundations fields, and if the name is changed in the new regulations, we worry that this particular professional studies requirement may not end up being taught by the faculty best prepared to do the course justice.
Foundations of Education coursework provides a unique and critically important component of teacher education, bringing perspective and meaning to the task of teaching and fostering consideration of the role of public schools in our democracy. Study in Foundations of Education plays a key role in the development of reflective, thoroughly professional, and ultimately effective teachers for the Commonwealth because it places day-to-day classroom practice within wider contexts, providing time and space for consideration of such activities in light of the overall aims of education; such as education's role in supporting freedom of thought, social fairness, care for others, democratic self-government; and the role of schooling in students’ and teachers’ assumptions, beliefs, and attitudes surrounding diverse communities. In other words, Foundations of Education’s focus on the “whys” of education—from societal goals to cultural and social trends affecting all aspects of education—are critical to effective implementation of the “hows” of classroom practice. Historically, Virginia has served as a point of origin for many of the realizations of the crucial role education plays in our democratic society and Foundations of Education study serves to help Virginia’s teachers continue to understand, appreciate, and maintain these connections.
I hereby petition the Virginia Department of Education to return the title Foundations of Education to its list of prescribed professional studies courses. Foundations of Education scholars will thus be ensured a place in continuing to equip Virginia’s teachers not only with the practical methods and techniques needed to be successful, but also with the frameworks to understand how, when, and why to apply those tools in light of the broader contexts of education.