New law calls for media arts standards

New law calls for media arts standards

(Calif.) California will begin developing K-12 education standards in media arts that will allow students to explore projects related to video production, sound design and game design under a bill signed last week by Gov. Jerry Brown.

A second bill approved by the governor aims to streamline the teacher credentialing process by removing a prohibition on the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing from awarding multiple subject preliminary teaching credentials to individuals who only possess baccalaureate degrees in professional education.

Both bills were authored by Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach, who said that each is designed to help better prepare students as well as those charged with educating them.

“As a parent and a teacher, my priority is to support teachers and students across the state,” said O’Donnell, who also chairs the Assembly Education Committee, said in a statement. “These bills are both positive steps toward further developing our approach to a twenty-first-century education and continuing to strengthen the classroom experience for our students.”

The 2015 Blueprint for Creative Schools report to Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson noted that media arts are an important component of 21st century global culture and of California’s technology dominated economy. Authors of the report concluded that media arts could provide opportunities for students to participate in projects that rely on multiple disciplines.

Developing a video game, for example, can incorporate visual art and storytelling, sound production, physics concepts, computer programming, 3D modeling and motion graphics, among other aspects.

AB 37 requires the Instructional Quality Commission and the California Department of Education to develop and present to the state board of education stand-alone media arts standards as the fifth discipline within current visual and performing arts standards.

The second bill, AB 170, would provide students majoring in education a pathway to a teaching credential without having a B.A. in a core subject such as history, English or math.

According to O’Donnell’s office, the original restriction was made during the Sputnik-era, when subject matter knowledge was viewed as paramount and pedagogical training was viewed as largely unnecessary. And while subject matter knowledge is clearly required for effective teaching, he said, it is certainly not sufficient now that educators must also be equipped to handle the educational needs of children with disabilities and English learners.

O’Donnell said that the bill will allow future teachers to spend more time gaining critical knowledge and skills about how to instruct students, while ensuring that they meet state requirements for subject matter knowledge.

Both bills will take effect January 1, 2018.

Meanwhile, SB 341 by Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Antelope Valley, was vetoed by the governor.

The bill, which was unanimously approved in both the state Senate and Assembly, sought to improve public oversight of school facility bonds by extending the amount of time members could serve on local bond oversight committees. It would have allowed members on these committees to serve two six-year terms, extending the current three two-year term limit.

Currently, bond oversight committees must consist of at least seven members, of which, one must be active in a business organization representing the business community located within the district, another must be a member of a parent teacher association, and one member must be active in a taxpayers’ organization. The purpose of the committee is to ensure districts use taxpayer money exclusively for the projects that taxpayers approved.

According to Wilk, school districts throughout the state have had difficulty finding individuals who meet the specified criteria to serve on bond oversight committees, and when those individuals do serve on a committee, the six-year cap means those with expertise are forced out too quickly.

Wilk noted when SB 341 passed the Assembly that there were 180 school bond measures on local ballots in California last year–translating to billions of dollars funded by local property taxes had they all passed. Having qualified and experienced experts on school facility bond oversight committees would ensure school facility projects come in on time and on budget, he said.

In his veto message, however, Brown argued that the problem was minimal and would allow committee members to stay on for so long that others who wanted to serve would not be able to.

“This bill is a statewide solution to a limited problem,” Brown said in his veto message. “Although a few school districts cite difficulty recruiting community members to serve on their bond oversight committee, this bill would create fewer opportunities for community involvement statewide. This is contrary to the goal of the bond oversight committee, which is to ensure that taxpayers have the opportunity to provide proper oversight of these funds.”