In the past few days, there has been vigorous debate about whether California’s Commission on Teacher Credentialing was lowering standards; some critics went so far as to claim that future teachers in core subject areas would no longer need a four-year degree of any kind. None of this was true. I reached out to friends across California who assured me that it was untrue. Just this morning, the Sacramento Bee published an article by Linda Darling-Hammond, chair of the CCTC, explaining exactly what transpired.

D-H explained that standards were not lowered and remain high in every field.

Here are the changes that alarmed teachers of physical education:

“The commission did vote to provide an authorization within the physical education credential for ROTC teachers. Those who pass a basic skills test and a test of PE knowledge and complete 135 hours of teacher preparation can earn this authorization. If they are to teach English learners, they must also meet the requirements for an English learner authorization. Under the new authorization, these individuals can still teach only ROTC courses. They cannot teach regular PE classes. However, they will have a stronger knowledge base in physical education, which will help them serve their students.

“Some of these instructors do not hold a bachelor’s degree, but they have relevant job experience that California has long recognized in lieu of a degree for ROTC instructors and other specific groups of teachers, like those from industry who teach in Career Technical Education programs.”

In short, ROTC instructors will not replace PE teachers.

Be it noted that Governor Brown is a strong supporter of ROTC, having started a military institute charter school when he was mayor of Oakland. With crucial decisions about the Vergara trial hanging in the balance, this is not a propitious moment to pick a fight with the governor when so little is at stake. He respects teachers; he loves learning. Message to California teachers: Unite on the big issues.

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