Resolutions 2024

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RESOLUTIONS COMMITTEE AGENDA

California Association of Teachers of English
Business Meeting/Town Hall
Sunday, March 3, 2024

Members Present:
Ashley Prevo, Greater San Diego Council
Taylor Bradley, Capitol Council
Shawn McQuilliams, Kern Council
Maddy Alpert, Southland Council
Nic Brown, Greater San Diego Council
Kathleen Giannandrea, TUCATE Council

Intro to the 2024 Resolutions

  1. Resolution on Academic Integrity: the Only AI That Matters
  2. Resolution on Access to Relevant Texts
  3. Resolution for Commendation of the Convention Committee

Intro to the 2024 Resolutions

Through the 2024 CATE Convention Resolutions, the committee establishes CATE’s position on two topics that were brought forth by CATE members in the time between the 2023 Monterey Convention and the 2024 Los Angeles Convention. The resolutions you see here address academic integrity alongside the rise of artificial intelligence and the issue of access to relevant texts in the classroom.

To get to the following versions, the committee, representing five of our nine local councils, went through a process involving brainstorming, narrowing topics, writing and rewriting, presenting twice to the CATE Board, and then finally reading the resolutions to our members and having them be voted on and passed at the Sunday Business Meeting/Town Hall.

The committee is also continuing work on a resolution centering on over-scaffolding, which hopefully will appear in the next edition of California English.

I believe that resolutions are the heart of CATE, in which we recognize and acknowledge the struggles that educators face daily and strive to move the needle closer to best practice. Please use these documents to aid you in the classroom and to support you in discussions with your colleagues, your administrations, your district offices, and your school boards.

If there is a concern that you are experiencing or noticing that is affecting the English teaching profession and would like CATE to address it in a future resolution, please reach out to your local council representative, which can be found at cateweb.org.

All the best,
Ashley Prevo, MAL Secondary, Resolutions Chair
Resolutions Member since 2019

 

I. Resolution on Academic Integrity: the Only AI that Matters

BACKGROUND
Academic integrity is having its time in the spotlight as conversations about plagiarism at the highest levels of education and within our government are being discussed on national news. While attitudes toward the social impact of these issues may vary, the real impact to learners is clear, and prevalence of the problem is concerning. While technological advancements such as generative artificial intelligence (AI) have revealed innovative solutions to some problems, like many tools, they have created fresh challenges as well. Many teachers are worried about how they can preserve the legitimacy of their instructional practices, as newly crafted technological responses to the threats against academic integrity are defeated as quickly as they are introduced. Additionally, the information regarding the best practices of handling these challenges, which teachers may be basing their instructional practices on, can become obsolete within the instructional year. Despite these issues, teachers who are making the effort to confront the problem head on are sometimes finding additional challenges in the form of a lack of support and solidarity from other educational professionals at both the school site and district level in their responses to learners’ misuse of technological tools. Furthermore, CATE passed a resolution just last year in regard to embracing the ever-changing nature of AI as it relates to education. For these reasons it is serendipitous that the CATE 2024 convention theme, “Uncovering Hidden Gems: Exploring Perspectives and Voice,” expresses the common desire of teachers across California who wish to protect the value of their learners’ voices as they stride against a trend to devalue originality.

Whereas, it is the mission of the literacy educator to empower student growth through the development of the skills associated with the subject as well as to instill confidence in students’ perspective and to help them to appreciate the value of their individual voice, and it is recognized that over-reliance on or the blatant reproduction of others’ voices can mute the validity of that contribution, and

Whereas, it becomes more and more difficult to discern when a student’s writing submission has been generated in seconds as a computerized amalgamation of voices without a face, and in turn becomes increasingly more obvious that the ability of that student to recognize whether this output is useful, impactful, and appropriate, is predicated on their own fluency independent of technology, and

Whereas, it is an expected secondary role of the educator to instill in students an awareness of their responsibilities as global citizens by providing an understanding of the social and even legal contracts that can be broken through their misuse of technology, especially when appropriating intellectual property or artistic efforts from others, to prevent them from forming habits in adolescence which may hold more negative consequences later in life, and

Whereas, the newest wave of tech innovation and increased tech access, especially in regards to AI and electronic device usage, has made the tools of writing production easier than ever to abuse (either unintentionally or willfully) in ways that subvert the educational process in the language arts classroom by substituting critical thinking and the writing process itself entirely or in part, undermining the value and efficacy of both practice and assessment efforts, and the line between use and abuse of tools in the education process is best understood by the educator and therefore the educator as a professional should be empowered and supported in their need to maintain that line for the sake of their students’ progress, and

Whereas, many teachers across the state are feeling isolated and unsupported in their efforts to both hold the line of academic rigor and support student achievement while being questioned over their need to insist upon the originality of writing production, and are looking for additional accountability-assisting resources, objective integrity standards (such as the Model School Library Standards for California Public Schools), and communication support and solidarity from their administrators to appeal to when concerns or challenges may arise;

Be it therefore resolved that CATE advocate for English language and literacy educators to consider an increased emphasis on the writing process over demonstrated product, as well as an amplified message of the intrinsic value of original expression both for its own sake and for the value of the productive struggle of the learner in the creative process, and

Be it further resolved, that CATE encourage teachers to continue to stand against passively accepting student work that clearly borrows unattributed source material as a replacement for original effort, thereby circumventing the learning that authentic practice provides, while acknowledging that this encouragement should not imply placing additional burden on teachers as this task grows more and more difficult and increasingly time-consuming, and

Be it further resolved, that CATE urge school site and district administrators, school boards, and education support professionals at all levels to stand alongside teachers through partnership to establish clear, consistent, and fair expectations on what defines use and abuse of tools that can be utilized in the education process, and that such boundaries are codified in transparent policy so that all invested parties understand how these policies support students’ and teachers’ efforts at helping them, and additionally urge administrators to stand behind their teaching staff in upholding their efforts to maintain academic integrity for the sake of their students even against challenges they may encounter, and

Be it further resolved, that CATE appeal to school site and district administrators to support their teachers through the exploration of professional development opportunities and resources that will provide awareness of new solutions to the emerging challenges of maintaining academic integrity;

Be it finally resolved, that CATE will continue to pool together the collective problem-solving resources of its members to contribute encouragement, support, and solutions to this evolving challenge. Academic integrity is the original AI. Let us not allow the new AI to undermine it.

 

II. Resolution on Access to Relevant Texts

BACKGROUND
Relevant texts, specifically fiction and nonfiction novels, have become increasingly challenging for teachers to access. Access, in this context, can be defined as having funding which does not come out of the teacher’s pockets, as well as timely district approval and administrative support against possible community concerns. The focus of the 2024 CATE convention is to disrupt and uncover perspectives and voices that are not historically shared in the dominant society. Yet, when looking at the often shared required novel lists, the majority of books are written by authors with experiences worlds away from those of our students, especially as populations grow and diversify. In the state of California, with our increasingly diverse population, our students need books with characters that reflect their own experiences and provide windows into the lives of characters from historically diverse communities per Rudine Sims Bishop’s “Windows, Mirrors, and Sliding Glass Doors.” This will help young people have a greater understanding of the world around them, issues that exist, and create empathy for others, as well as providing a stronger personal connection that increases engagement and the joy of reading.

Whereas, most if not all districts in the state of California are teaching classic canonical texts, and although we recognize the themes and messages from those texts can be applied to modern classrooms, the texts themselves don’t always accommodate the evolving demographics of our students and society. This has contributed to a lack of student engagement in reading because there is little connection between the students’ lived experiences and the text, and

Whereas, the process of adding books to the curriculum is a lengthy undertaking of getting a variety of community partners to read and evaluate texts followed by the district and school board being able to veto them at any point. In some districts, teachers aren’t teaching full length novels because this process has become too challenging, but rather they are teaching short stories and nonfiction pieces, and

Whereas, there is a lack of funding for teachers who desire to add books to the curriculum and a lack of time and funding for professional development for educators to plan units using these books. And this causes teachers to continue using the same curriculum and texts they have used and taught throughout their careers, and

Whereas, the California Department of Education has a recommended book list that is reflective of the California student population and that has been curated by experts, certified teachers and school librarians and,

Whereas, AB 1078 ensures all students have books to learn about “the truth, the world, and themselves,” and the FAIR Education Act requires California public schools to provide fair, accurate, inclusive, and respectful representation of our diverse ethnic and cultural population in the K-12 grade history and social studies curriculum;

Be it therefore resolved, that CATE urge educators to expand the literary canon taught within our classrooms to more adequately and accurately represent historically marginalized communities by looking to the CDE recommended literature list, as a list of texts of already closely examined for appropriate rigor and alignment with state standards, and

Be it further resolved that CATE urge districts to increase access to books through a more clear and timely process, thus adequately providing representative texts for the benefit of student engagement and learning, and

Be it further resolved, that CATE continue to advocate for educators to be treated as experts by school districts and school boards with making the call as to the books taught within their classroom, and

Be it further resolved, that CATE urge that educators and staff are made aware that the California FAIR Education Act (Senate Bill 48) prescribes that “the inclusion of the contributions of various groups in the history of California and the United States” is taught in schools and that Assembly Bill 1078 prohibits governing boards from refusing to use any textbook, instructional material or other curriculums based on its referring to people from different racial backgrounds, sexual orientations, and gender identities, and

Be it finally resolved, that districts and school site administrators turn to the CDE and their local county of education in guidance on how to support teachers in applying for grants, allocating time to grade level teams and securing other materials and resources to develop and implement new curriculum centering these texts.

Why It’s Important For Students to See Themselves in Books
https://www.scholastic.com/parents/books-and-reading/raise-a-reader-blog/why-its-important-kids-to-see-themselves-books.html 

Windows, Mirrors, and Sliding Glass Doors
https://ncte.org/blog/2016/02/windows-mirrors-sliding-doors/    

Recommended Literature List
https://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/cr/rl/

Assembly Bill No. 1078
https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=202320240AB1078

Frequently Asked Questions: Senate Bill 48 
https://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/cr/cf/senatebill48faq.asp

 

CATE 2024: Resolution for Commendation of the Convention Committee

Uncovering Hidden Gems: Exploring Perspectives and Voices, the theme of this year’s convention moves with disruptive intent to “uncover hidden voices, cultural backgrounds, and perspectives within English Language Arts classrooms.” The guest speakers and teacher presenters called for us to interrogate linguistic violence, recognize our own biases and strive toward bringing others along in anti-racist work.

The annual CATE convention happens only because of the efforts of many teachers and other volunteers who donate their time and energy to make this weekend possible.

LET IT BE RESOLVED that the California Association of Teachers of English (CATE) thank and commend the following outstanding volunteers and members of the convention committee:

 

CATE 2024 Convention ChairsApril Parker, Huntington Park High School, Huntington Park
Frank Mata, Eleanor Roosevelt High School, Eastvale
CWP PreConvention ChairTim Dewar, UC Santa Barbara
Convention CoordinatorsAnnie Gervais, Mills Middle School, Rancho Cordova
Jennifer Silver, Vistamar High School, El Segundo
Audio Visual ChairChas Gervais
Autograph/Bookstore Liaison ChairSusan Dillon, Central Catholic High School, Modesto
CATE Membership BoothLori Campbell, Kern Learn, Bakersfield
Volunteer CoordinatorStephanie Johnson, CSU Long Beach
President’s ReceptionRobb Polski, Independence High School, Bakersfield
College Credit ChairKim Flachmann, CSU Bakersfield
CYRM Award CoordinatorShraddha Kapadia, Huntington Park High School, Huntington Park
New Teacher Booth ChairJoan Williams, Retired, Arcata High School, Eureka
Convention PhotographerKylowna Moton, Los Angeles City College, Los Angeles
Program Sessions ChairsCarole LeCren, Retired, La Jolla High School, San Diego
Gina Vattuone, Bonita Vista High School, Bonita
Signs ChairShraddha Kapadia, Huntington Park High School, Huntington Park
Meal/Decorations ChairVanée Smith-Matsalia, Curtis Middle School, San Bernardino
CATE TreasurerDenise Mikkonen, Retired, Stone Ranch Elementary, Poway
Exhibits/Advertising ManagerLana Neudorfer and Teri Higgins, eventPower
Exhibits AccountsErin Ong and Diane Dodson, eventPower
RegistrationKate Coelln, eventPower
Registration LiaisonCindy Conlin, Stratham, New Hampshire
Flyer/Program PublicationCarole LeCren, Retired, La Jolla High School, San Diego
Exhibits Decorating CompanyDianna Curtin, Curtin Convention and Exposition Services
PrinterRick and Carol Benson, Golden Ink Litho, San Diego

TO

Tony Thurmond, State Superintendent of Public Instruction
California Department of Education (CDE)
California Teachers Association (CTA)
California English
National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
California Writing Project (CWP)
County Offices of Education
Local school boards