After going through the layoff process in the spring and then having my layoff (thankfully) rescinded I decided I needed to do anything and everything possible to not get laid off again. In California teachers are laid off by seniority, but it is not as simple as last hired first hired. What your credential is in counts as well. I have a graphic arts credential, and am the most senior person in the district with that credential. Unfortunately I am the ONLY person in the district with that credential. So my position is strictly based on some unknown person deciding to keep my class. Or not. I would like a little more security than that.
So I looked into what it takes to get another credential. When I started teaching this was a long process. One had to enroll in a university course and take several courses and jump through several hoops to show that one not only does know the subject content but one could also teach it. No more. Now one needs to take a test called the C.S.E.T. to show they know the subject area content and submit an application to the state. That is it.
I looked at the list of different subjects the CSET is offered in, and considered what to do. I narrowed it down to English and Social Science, thinking that if I passed the test there was a good chance at some point I would be teaching the subject, and I think I would enjoy teaching these subjects. I decided on Social Science. I thought it would be a little easier for me to pass. I am more interested in world politics than I am in classical literature.
I bought a study guide and a set of flash cards. Like a good student I put the study guide on the bookshelf and reviewed the flash cards. Basically, I memorized the flash cards. Yea, like a good student.
I passed the test. It is good for me, it adds to my job security. But it is really sad for California. All it takes to be a highly qualified teacher in California is to pass that test. And that is shameful.
Oh, I did have to pay a few hundred dollars to a testing company for the privilege of taking the test. And I think that says it all.