Resolutions 2001

Board Resolution 1: Commendation to the Convention Committee


Polonius: “What do you read, my Lord?”
Hamlet: “Words, Words, Words.”

Teachers guide their students in the discovery and love of words. We build this into a discovery and love of literature; from there, students are able to discover their connection to the world as a whole. As teachers, we must continue our own journey of discovery. Words, Words, Words and CATE 2001 provide these opportunities because of the efforts of many dedicated volunteers.


Resolved that the California Association of Teachers of English (CATE) congratulate and commend the following chair persons, committee members, and assistants who have worked so hard on CATE 2001, “Words, Words, Words.”

Convention Chair – Akiko Morimoto
Audio Visual – Jan Oonchitti
California Young Reader Medal – Lorraine Tracey
College Credit – Martha Plender
Convention Coordinator – Kermeen “Punky” Fristrom
Exhibits Managers – Julia Gottesman and Jan Burke
Graphic Design – Susan Tuimoloau of Get SET Graphics
Hospitality – Pat Ellis
Lesson Plan Exchange – Dotsie M. Bell
Local Arrangements – Al and Cista Leonard
Meals – Connie Murphy
Pre-convention – Martha Plender
Program Chairs – Don Mayfield, Anna Roseboro, Carole LeCren
Registrar – Linda Scott
Registration – Kay Pierce
Student Teachers – Anne Henke
Treasurer – Anne Fristrom
CATE Membership – Linda Stockton
Webmaster – Larry Jordan

Resolution 1: Class Size and Teacher Load


The relationship between the number of students assigned to an English teacher and the effectiveness of that teacher’s instruction has been investigated since 1911 by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). NCTE has recommended “that full-time English Language Arts teachers be assigned a teaching load of no more than 100 students. Just such a load of 100, at a minimum of 20 minutes per week per student for the evaluation of writing, involves 33 hours beyond regular teaching duties.” The same 100 to 1 ratio was recommended by James B. Conant’s 1960’s study of The American High School. No other subject area bears such a disproportionate and overwhelming workload.

CATE wishes to acknowledge and express appreciation for the efforts of the governor and the state legislature in reducing class size in grade 1-3 and grade 9.


Resolved that the California Association of Teachers of English (CATE) urge the California State Legislature and Governor Gray Davis to enact legislation which would ensure that the overall student-teacher ratio never exceeds 100 to 1 for English Language Arts teachers. CATE further encourages the governor and the state legislature to continue to seek funding of this ratio.

Governor Gray Davis
Senate Education CommitteeAssembly Education Committee
Delaine Eastin, State Superintendent of Public Instruction
News media
California Federation of Teachers
California Teachers Association
California State School Boards Association
Senator Martha M. Escucia

Resolution 3: Parents’ Rights to have their Children Tested or not Tested without Penalty


The State of California Education Code grants parents the right to decline standardized testing for their children. To take away or limit parents’ rights to decline standardized testing is to limit their democratic right to influence the education of their children. Punishing schools financially when parents opt out does just that.

Recently, the State Board of Education adopted regulations regarding the Academic Performance Index (API), especially the percentage of students at schools taking the test, and the legal right of parents to exempt their children from taking the Stanford Achievement Test (SAT-9).

The regulations were developed in response to the high rate (more than 10%) of parents who exercised that option. The State Department of Education found that 134 schools had 10% or more of their students, some as high as 50%, not taking the test in spring 2000 because of parent requests. Parents who are most likely to request such waivers include those whose children are limited-English proficient, attend charter schools, or are home-schooled.

The regulations propose to limit the number of parent waivers of the SAT-9 test to 15% or fewer of the enrollment in the grades tested in order for the school to be eligible for awards based upon API. The Board approved the regulations, but requested that a waiver process be included for those schools that can provide a good rationale for the high percentage of parent waivers.


Resolved that The California Association of Teachers of English urge the State Board of Education to rescind the regulation that penalizes the school when parents exercise their legal right to refuse to allow their children to take the SAT-9.

Governor Gray Davis
State Board of Education
Senate Education Committee
Assembly Education Committee
Association of California School Administrators
California Federation of Teachers
California Teachers Association
California PTA

Resolution 4: Test Takers Bill of Rights


At the 2000 National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Annual Business Meeting the membership resolved to develop a Test Taker’s Bill of Rights in conjunction with other professional and public policy organizations and learned societies.

As has NCTE, The California Association of Teachers of English (CATE) has been consistently and increasingly concerned about the nature, uses, and abuses of standardized testing. In fact, CATE has passed numerous resolutions addressing these concerns. Although CATE continues to be concerned about standardized testing, particularly high stakes testing at all levels, we recognize that testing is a pervasive feature of American education.

In addition to the pervasive influence of high stakes tests, the State Board of Education insists on secrecy and denies access to the SAT 9, the state-mandated test used as the key element in the Academic Performance Index.

On the other hand, the state board seems willing to release all field test items of the new High School Exit Exam and has published a Teacher Guide with illustrative test items.

It is important for there to be consistency in all aspects of testing, including standards of open practice that allow the public to scrutinize the development and dissemination of tests.

A test taker’s bill of rights would include items such as:

The right of the test taker to:

  • insist that standardized tests be adopted through an open, public process that considers the design and appropriateness of the test;
  • know before the test date the form of any given test;
  • experience a challenging curriculum that is not constrained by any given test;
  • know how the results of the test will be used;
  • have accommodations made for documented learning differences and/or unforeseeable circumstances;
  • display competencies through various means, not just bubble-in tests;
  • review test items and results;
  • challenge test scores and have them changed if they are incorrect; and
  • have a process that corrects tests and/or individual items found to be invalid or unreliable.


RESOLVED that the policy committee of the California Association of Teachers of English (CATE), in cooperation with the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), develop a test-taker’s bill of rights that guarantees an open and equitable assessment process that safeguards the rights of all test takers.

Resolution 7: Lack of Equity in Norm-Referenced Tests


In an effort to implement mandatory standardized testing in California, the State Board of Education adopted the Stanford Achievement Test (SAT-9) as a required exam in all California public schools. This norm-referenced test is currently the single standard by which student achievement in California public schools is measured. When developed, this test was not normed for the diverse California student population.

The State Board of Education has not taken into account the inherent lack of equity in such norm-referenced tests. They have disregarded the diversity of student abilities and needs. At the outset of such a test, a disproportionate percentage of California students are predestined for “failure.”


Resolved that the California Association of Teachers of English (CATE) urge the State Board of Education to adopt an equitable model of student assessment that includes direct writing assessments, student grades, criterion-based tests, and other authentic assessments.

The State Board of Education
Governor Gray Davis
Senate Education Committee
Assembly Education Committee
California Federation of Teachers
California Teachers Association