Thursday, January 17, 2008

I'm still naked

Or at least "unCLAD." The ongoing saga of Crossculture, Language, and Academic Development (CLAD) certification is beyond the scope of this blog. But I'll do what I can.

The operational definition goes something like this: CLAD is an add-on certification that school districts require for newly hired teachers. They have required it since the mid-1990s. When I earned my teaching credential from the state of California, the CLAD was not required by the state or by my district. The district contracted my services and I've provided those services for lo these many years.

I did have to jump through several hoops that my colleagues already in service did not need to bother with. One was a computer competency course, another was a health course, and yet another was a course on teaching the exceptional child. New teachers had to attain these add-ons; older teachers did not.

Years later, CLAD was added at the district (not state) level. As the years rolled on, more and more teachers had their CLAD. They had to have it to get hired. It was a requirement of their contract. It was never a requirement of my contract.

In Spring 2007, my district ordained that all teachers in its employ would possess their CLAD by summer of 2008. In essence, they altered the terms of my contract with them. The Teachers' Association I belong to is happy to extract about $1000/year from my paycheck but not so eager to stop this management action. Clearly "members" in my situation were not a significant constituency in the eyes of the Union. I just hope they got something nice in return for yielding to this retroactive alteration of many members' contract. Most likely they did not.

Facing dire consequences, I enrolled in a CLAD course (at personal expense). Forty-five hours of training, a seven-question essay exam, and a portfolio of research, exposition, and lesson plans. I attended each and every one of the 45 hours. I passed the essay exam. The portfolio? Not so much.

Over three months after submitting the portfolio, I finally received word that it was in need of revision. On multiple counts. All relating to my lesson plans.

I thought that I had submitted a pretty thorough and well-documented work. Apparently I was mistaken.

Back to the drawing board. I have no idea how many chances I'll get to read the minds of the evaluators, and I'm really not hoping to find out. But the nebulous nature of evaluation rubric is such that one could take several well-aimed shots at the project target and miss completely.

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