|Action||Comprehensive Revision of the Regulations Governing the Review and Approval of Education Programs in|
|Comment Period||Ends 10/31/2015|
8VAC20-543-40 (repealed 542-40) - Diverse school settings
8VAC20-543-40 (repealed 542-40)
4. Evidence of opportunities for candidates to participate in diverse school settings that provide experiences with populations that include racial, economic, linguistic, and ethnic diversity throughout the program experiences. The indicator of the achievement of this standard shall include evidence that the professional education program provides opportunities for candidates to have program experiences in diverse school settings that provide experiences with populations that include racial, economic, linguistic, and ethnic diversity within each biennial period.
We applaud this attention to preparing candidates for diverse school settings, however we ask the Board to consider the following barriers to the effective implementation of this regulation:
- Geographic limitations – Teacher preparation programs in the western, southwestern, and rural regions of Virginia have limited access to diverse, urban settings. Distance, economic, and travel time considerations are all barriers to providing quality learning opportunities in diverse schools. The few diverse school settings within a reasonable drive of the home institution will likely be overwhelmed with requests for field placements. Will these schools be able to accommodate all the requests?
- Quality of placements – If the geographic limitations are overcome, will the Board require that diverse school placements occur in accredited schools with fully licensed, proficient, or exemplary teachers? Such a requirement may further limit allowable placements while underscoring the high needs of urban, diverse schools.
- Faculty leadership/supervision – Placing teacher candidates in a variety of schools across a wide geographic area presents significant challenges for existing faculty to direct and supervise field experiences, while maintaining teaching and scholarly work. Relegating field work to graduate students and adjunct faculty may limit the quality of field supervision.
- Rural schools – rural schools with limited racial and ethnic diversity present a different set of teaching challenges including high poverty, students at risk of school failure, and schools facing economic hardship. We assume the requirement for diverse school settings will be applied to this population.
We also ask for clarification concerning the expectations of diverse school setting placements:
- Recommendations for type and duration of placements in “diverse schools“ - What level of engagement will be required for the “diverse school setting” placement? Will observation or assisting hours meet the requirement or is full time teaching required in this setting?
- Alignment with the definition of “diversity” as listed in 8VAC20-543-10 (repealed 542-10)
These questions in no way diminish the value of experiences in a variety of school settings. We raise these concerns to highlight the challenges implicit in the new regulations and ask for the Board’s assistance in defining the terms and considering the mediating barriers to implementation.