Opposition To Legislative Intrusion Into Teaching Methodologies For Reading

AS-2390-97/TEKR - November 6-7, 1997

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate of the California State University express alarm that recent legislation threatens academic freedom by prescribing a particular reading methodology; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU also express alarm that staff development providers will be required to sign a certification agreement that they teach reading by using a prescribed methodology as required in AB 3482 (Chapter 196, Statutes of 1996) and AB 1086 (Chapter 286, Statutes of 1997); and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU express concern that AB 1178 (Chapter 919, Statutes of 1996), the Reading Instruction Competency Assessment bill, further threatens academic freedom of faculty in the CSU by requiring that credential candidates pass a test that, when implemented, may emphasize a single methodology which ignores the wide spectrum of current research in reading; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU urge the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) to ensure that the required Reading Instruction Competency Assessment emphasizes a thorough and truly balanced approach to reading; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU caution the CSU Institute for Education Reform to refrain from joining any movement that prescribes curriculum content; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU urge the Chancellor and the Interim Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs to join the Academic Senate in a commitment to remind the Governor, the State Board of Education and legislators that:

• it is the CSU faculty who are qualified to determine those approaches that best address learning needs of students,

• "quick-fixes" to teaching reading have not worked, and

• they should not be in the business of micromanaging practice by mandating one curriculum and one methodology.

RATIONALE: AB 3482 (1996) legislated that teachers would be provided professional development in specific reading methodologies. AB 1086 (1997) requires that staff development providers be certified by signing a "McCarthy-like" agreement that requires the training provider will comply with all applicable provisions of law, including Section 24.03 of the 1997-98 Budget Act (Chapter 282, Statutes of 1998) which prohibits the use of the Goals 2000 funds appropriated for the training for any program that promotes or uses reading instruction methodologies that emphasize contextual clues in lieu of fluent decoding, or systematically uses or encourages inventive spelling techniques in the teaching of writing.

There are long established procedures for establishing broad guidelines for preparing teachers of reading and legislative intrusion is not an appropriate part of that process. Teachers need to have balanced, comprehensive programs which incorporate multiple approaches. It is teacher judgment (a teacher choosing just the right intervention for a particular child) as well as sheer quantity of reading and writing that are most closely associated with increasing literacy levels. (Morrow, 1990; Pappas & Brown, 1987, Adams, 1990; Anderson, et al, 1985)


Adams, M.S. 1990. Beginning to read: Thinking and learning about print. Cambridge, Ma: MIT Press.

Anderson, R.C., Hiebert, E.H., Scott, J.A., & Wilkinson, I.A.G. 1985. Becoming a nation of readers: The report of the Commission on Reading. Washington, D.C.: The national Institute of Education.

Morrow, L. 1990. The impact of classroom environmental changes on the promotion of literacy during play. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 5, 537-554.

Pappas, C. & Browne, E. 1987. Learning to read by reading. Research in the Teaching of English, 21, 160-184.

APPROVED WITHOUT DISSENT – January 22-23, 1998

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