August 28, 2002
The Honorable Gray Davis
Governor of California
Sacramento, CA 95814
Dear Governor Davis:
At its first meeting of the academic year, yesterday, the Executive Committee of the Academic Senate of San Francisco State University reviewed SB 1646, concluded that it was likely to be passed by the legislature this week, and unanimously adopted the enclosed resolution requesting that you veto the bill.
Nearly all CSU faculty members who know about SB 1646 find it an extreme reversal of state policy, and it has been opposed by the Academic Senate CSU and by several campus senates. For more than thirty years, the state has required that candidates for teaching credentials have undergraduate majors other than education--in effect, a prohibition on the offering of undergraduate degree programs in education. SB 1646 completely reverses that policy, by mandating the offering of undergraduate degree programs in elementary education.
The CSU faculty members who have followed SB 1646 have found no evidence for the assertion that the current policy has discouraged the preparation of teachers. However, there is reason to believe, as indicated in the resolution, that SB 1646 may, at least temporarily, reduce the number of teachers being trained in the CSU.
We have concluded that this legislation is being passed without the careful research and thoughtful consideration that should be expected of such a far-reaching measure.
We therefore request that you veto SB 1646 and that you instead recommend to the legislature that it reconsider the legislation by changing the provision that mandates undergraduate degrees in elementary education to one that authorizes the CSU to offer such degrees. If CSU campuses have a choice about creating such degree programs, some undoubtedly will do so. Others may not. The existence of some programs will permit a more reasoned determination if, in fact, such programs by their very existence will increase the number of credentialed teachers.
Robert W. Cherny,
Professor of History and
Chair of the Academic Senate
Cc: Senators Alpert and Vasconcellos, Assembly Speaker Wesson