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CALL TO ACTION: Reform the CALE – Your Emails & Letters Needed NOW!
Posted: 19 September 2012 09:05 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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CALL TO ACTION: Reform the California Licensing Exam - Your Letters & Emails Needed NOW!

I’m pretty sure there’s not a special forum for this sort of announcement but I need help and I don’t know where else to turn aside from my community acupuncture gang.

Ever feel like you’re living in a Charlie Brown cartoon?  Well, in this particular case, I’m Charlie Brown and the California Acupuncture Board is Lucy. 

Lucy holds the football out in plain view.  Follow me here.  The football is my licensing exam.  I see the football and remember all the Charlie Browns that came before me but what can I do?  I want to open up a Community Acupuncture clinic in California and to do so, I need a license from the California Acupuncture Board.

I eye the football.  I live on crackers, water and vegetables from my garden for 4 months while studying for the test.  I spend my last $400 on a review course that boasts of a 90% pass rate for the past two years.  I study and meditate, study and sleep well, study and exercise, study and - you get the picture. 

I walk into the exam prepared.  I’m a decent test taker.  I’ve studied steadily for this exam.  And yet, I still find myself flat on my back with a smiling Lucy holding the football above her head.

When I get a failure notice that states the passing score was 76% and I only got 75%, I’m shocked, depressed and figure I’ll begin studying again after a weekend of feeling crappy.

Only it doesn’t end there.  One of my teachers finds out that number of students to pass was cut in half at one school that usually has a pass rate of 80% or more.  For this exam, it’s 40%.  She starts to ask around at other schools.  Then I do some research.  I find out that the passing score varies from as low as 68% to pass to as high as, yup, my test’s passing score of 76%.  And the percentage of students who passed this exam?  47%

Below is an update on the CALE reform from one of my teachers.  If you’d like to help, read more below and send an email to the board asking them to change the passing score of the August 2012 CALE to 70% and keep it there for all future exams. Please share on your facebook page and email this to all your acu buddies, too.

If enough people speak up, change can happen.

***
Hello Everyone,

As the schools prepare for a teleconference and CCAOM gets involved, here’s something you can do. Below are two letters written by different students as emailed to the California Acupuncture Board (CAB). Please copy/paste/revise and send one for yourself. The more letters we send them the stronger our voice will be. If you passed, don’t worry, as your grade won’t change.

Licensed acupuncturists and prospective CALE examinees can help, too. If enough people speak up, change is possible.

Right now the two concerns are the error in the score breakdown for those who failed AND the unusually high pass rate.

The passing score for the CALE exam in August 2012 was 76%. It has been as low as 68% in the past. We are asking that the passing score be lowered to 70% for the August exam and future exams.

The statewide pass rate is only 47%. That means that more than 1/2 of the students who prepared for this exam failed! Passed or failed, let’s all send in a letter to voice our protest to the CAB.

Please forward to others who might not yet know about this issue.

Please email your letters to: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

***from a student who took CALE on 8/7/12 with inaccurate breakdown***

Dear Acupuncture Board,

I received a letter stating that I failed the CALE that I took on August 7, 2012. The breakdown sheet that was provided to me is inaccurate. It states that in a section where there were 11 questions, I got 12 correct. This information leads me to believe that there may have been a mistake in the scoring of my exam. I would like to have my score recounted. Please let me know what I need to do for this to happen.

The majority of students failed this exam. I am concerned about the fairness of this test. The passing score was unusually high at 76%. In the past, it has been as low at 68%.

I request that you change the passing score of the August 2012 CALE and all future exams to 70%. Many thanks for your cooperation and help in this matter.

**from a concerned student who has yet to take the exam (ALL of our voices count here!)**

Dear Acupuncture Board,

I’ll be taking the February 2013 CALE and was disheartened by the pass rate of the August 2012 exam. From what I’ve heard from classmates and teacher (both from my school and other schools), the scoring may not have been accurate. This doesn’t give students much confidence in the legitimacy of the exam, which entails a lot of time, effort, and money on the part of the exam takers. In addition, I heard that the passing score can vary wildly from year to year. Sometimes it’s as low as 68%, yet this year it was 76%. And the passing rate is erratic because of this. Historically the passing rate has been as low as 47%. This does not constitute a fair or legitimate exam. The assessment of students’ knowledge should be similar from year to year.

California acupuncture students oftentimes go through double the time/effort and double the expense to take both the CA and National exams, something that few other acupuncture students in the country ever need to do. If California is going to insist on giving its own exam, students should be able to count on fair and accurate assessment. The Acupuncture Board needs to be more transparent regarding pass rates and the scoring of the exams. Expectations should be clear and consistent from year to year, as this is the best way that schools can help their students prepare.

I am asking that you change the passing rate of the August 2012 CALE to 70% and keep the passing score at 70% for all future exams.

Thank you for taking these concerns into consideration.

***

Please help use find a FAIR solution.

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grateful to be pokin,

elizabeth “bru” bruckner
blue heart acupuncture in orange, ca
acupunk/clinic owner/poca tech volunteer/poca tech sustainer

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Posted: 20 September 2012 01:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Elizabeth -

Shit.

I’m so sorry this happened. This is really wrong. The board is having a *lot* of problems, which I’ve been schooling myself on pretty heavily. We should plan a coordinated in-person presence to request that this be fixed at the Nov 15th CAB meeting in S.F. - if they don’t clear it up by then.

Let’s chat. Contact me via my clinic phone: 530-345-5566.

Really, really disappointing and unfair.

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“Jersey” Michelle Rivers
Punk at Chico Community Acupuncture
NorCal, between Sacramento and Redding

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Posted: 21 September 2012 11:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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I will send a letter, let me know what else to do.
I am really sorry also, Elizabeth. Hopefully this will be resolved quickly. In the meantime, get your pretty new space ready and tell me when to come visit. I can’t wait to see it!

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Nicole Murray
Beach Community Acupuncture

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Posted: 22 September 2012 12:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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oh god, I am so sorry Elizabeth. this is ridiculous and ripe for reform. sorry you are caught in the balance. big love!!

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Melissa

full-time acupunk, Providence Community Acupuncture
former owner, We the People Community Acupuncture, Santa Fe


When the power of love outshines the love of power, the world will know peace.

Does your clinic need help?  Click here to find Clinic Success.

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Posted: 22 September 2012 07:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Elizabeth, I’m so sorry!  It’s just ridiculous that someone with your commitment and vision is being held back by an unfair and costly system.  There are patients in your community who need, dammit!  Sending big hugs your way…

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Alexa Hulsey
Makin’ sweet, sweet honey at East Nashville Community Acupuncture

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Posted: 28 September 2012 01:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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Here is the letter I sent. Feel free to copy & modify.

I spoke to the CAB this morning, and asked whether they were planning to look into this. The official answer was “There has been a lot of internal discussion around that, and it’s definitely something the Board is looking at.”

Now is the time to add your voice.

E-mail the CAB here:

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

And register a complaint to their governing agency, the DCA, here:

https://www.dca.ca.gov/webapps/complainthelp/online_complaint.php

***

To the California Acupuncture Board,

I was dismayed and concerned to learn about the unusually high rate of failures among test-takers at this year’s August CALE. Our patients desperately need these practitioners to enter the workforce and begin delivering crucial healthcare services. I believe that the majority of individuals who qualify to take the CALE and who prepare for it and sit for it are qualified entry-level practitioners, and yet only a minority of those people passed the exam. The others, and their patients in need, will have to wait another six months to begin their therapeutic work. This is unnecessary, and is a violation of the Board’s mission to protect the public. Denying the public access to qualified practitioners is not protection; it is harm.

Please consider revising the passing score downward to more accurately reflect the level of competence actually required of entry-level practitioners.

Thank you for your consideration.

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“Jersey” Michelle Rivers
Punk at Chico Community Acupuncture
NorCal, between Sacramento and Redding

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Posted: 28 September 2012 02:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Beautiful. Thank you, Michelle - and my condolences to you, Elizabeth.  As a Cali license holder I’ll be sure to write to them, and will stay tuned.

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Posted: 28 September 2012 02:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Thanks for coordinating this response, Michelle! I am writing to the CAB and the DCA right now. Elizabeth, let’s see what we can get done here!

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Owner/Punk, Yerba Buena Community Acupuncture, SF, CA

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Posted: 28 September 2012 08:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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fellow community acu folks,

i have a lump in my throat when i read your kind words of support.  it is comforting to know that other people not only care but are willing to speak up for a fair exam.

in the past few weeks, i’ve heard numerous stories of people that have taken the exam before me.  one classmate failed with a passing score of 74%.  alas, the floating passing score for his exam was 75%.  he called the acu board and asked for an appeal.  they refused.

he spent another 6 months unemployed and struggling to keep his two children fed on his wife’s salary.

THIS HAS GOT TO STOP!

my humble suggestion?  send your letters to dca and the cali acu board.  flood their mailboxes with requests for a fair exam.  then, send some cash to pocatech b/c therein lies a solution!  http://www.pocatech.org/

did i mention that my community acu buds rock?

many thanks,
elizabeth

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grateful to be pokin,

elizabeth “bru” bruckner
blue heart acupuncture in orange, ca
acupunk/clinic owner/poca tech volunteer/poca tech sustainer

http://www.facebook.com/blueheartacu

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Posted: 30 September 2012 01:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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I suggest that you also contact your state senator and assembly member as well.

I have passed the word to my school list and here is what I sent to the DCA & my representatives:

I was dismayed and concerned to learn about the unusually high rate of failures among test-takers at this year’s August CALE. In previous exams a score of 70% has been passing but this time the CAB is moving the goal posts and obstructing new practitioners from practicing. The CAB is very secretive in terms how they score the test as opposed to the national exam which every other state accepts. My school traditionally has a pass rate of 80-90%, yet this time it was 50%. This has been the experience with all the acupuncture schools with a combine pass rate of 40%! Now, those who have not passed will have to wait another six months to begin their practice. This is a potential loss of tax income since 70% new acupuncturist will become small business owners. This should be the death knell of the California Licensing Exam since it does not protect the public any more than the NCCAOM (National) Exam, which is accepted by all the other states. There is neither oversight nor accountability of the actions of the CAB, and they should be called to task for their reckless, self-serving actions.

Last week I was speaking to one of the faculty members and he believed that moving the goal posts was by design since the new leadership have been very unfriendly to new practitioners.

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Posted: 30 September 2012 01:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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LETTING OTHERS KNOW ABOUT CALE REFORM GROUP:

For those of you who support a CALE Reform, there is a private facebook page dedicated to making it a fair exam for all. For those of you that didn’t pass, you’re NOT alone!  Our group is already 150 people strong.

If you’d like to join, please “friend” me on facebook or send me an email requesting to be “friended”. I am under .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) . Then send me a request to join the group and I will invite you.

Together, we can do what we could never do alone!

(i posted this note on my school’s google group. feel free to share with your schools, too. i’m sure there are quite a few people that didn’t pass and don’t know there is a CALE reform movement happening.)

lastly, many thanks for sending in your letter, herbalbum & thanks to everyone else who is helping.

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grateful to be pokin,

elizabeth “bru” bruckner
blue heart acupuncture in orange, ca
acupunk/clinic owner/poca tech volunteer/poca tech sustainer

http://www.facebook.com/blueheartacu

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Posted: 13 November 2012 09:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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The students in the CALE reform group have written a petition. Elizabeth wrote the note below and asked me to post the info & link here:

*****************
  ***

  hi friends,

  it’s me again. i’m pluggin away at my studies for the state board exam in february 2013. in between studies though, i’m making time for an important reform. Over 200 students, numerous licensed acupuncturists, nine universities and many concerned community members are asking the california acupuncture board to review the august exam and create guidelines to produce a fair exam for all.

  by reading, signing and sharing this petition, you will help us in this worthy cause. thanks for all your support thus far. your letters to the board, your words of encouragement, it is all helping. continue to be a part of the solution.

  http://www.change.org/petitions/california-acupuncture-board-reform-re-evaluation-of-california-acupuncture-licensing-exam-cale

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“Jersey” Michelle Rivers
Punk at Chico Community Acupuncture
NorCal, between Sacramento and Redding

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Posted: 05 December 2012 09:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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P.S.  I was wrong about the percentage of those who passed.  Only 39% of the graduates who took the exam in August passed.  The 61% of us who took the exam in August failed due to the all-time high cut score.

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grateful to be pokin,

elizabeth “bru” bruckner
blue heart acupuncture in orange, ca
acupunk/clinic owner/poca tech volunteer/poca tech sustainer

http://www.facebook.com/blueheartacu

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Posted: 05 December 2012 10:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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thanks for your kind support!  it means more than you can fathom.

UPDATE:  YOUR HELP IS NEEDED RIGHT NOW!

Concerned patients, graduates, students and college representatives sent more letters to the Department of Consumer Affairs only to be told that our letters were merely forwarded to California Acupuncture Board (CAB) for review. Once again, we received no response. We loaded our worn out, unemployed selves into cars and delivered our message directly to the CAB at their quarterly meeting in November. “We are hungry. We are tired. We are angry and we are not going to take it anymore.”

The board agreed to investigate the exam. No deadline was set except one; the February exam fees are due on December 21st. The day after the meeting, we emailed and called CAB asking them to set a deadline for the investigation. They told one staff member from the Senate Committee that they hope to have an answer for us at the February board meeting. WHAT?!?

CAB has had over four months to investigate their mistakes; mistakes which cost 61% of the people who took the exam to fail and be forced into 6 more months of unemployment. Hundreds of graduates are unable to work because CAB set the passing score higher than ever before. Yes, you read that correctly. Due to the all-time high passing score, 61% of the people who took the exam failed!

What exactly are the colleges and graduates asking for? It’s simple. We want the passing score to be changed to a customary 70% before the next exam’s fees are due on December 21st. We want to be able to work in the field for which we were trained. We want what is rightly ours – a passing score of 70% and the right to practice medicine like all those that went before us.

Our patients are waiting for us. They deserve to be offered affordable acupuncture in their neighborhood. This increased passing score doesn’t protect patients. It merely lowers the number of new acupuncturists entering the workforce.

We need your help. Just a few hundred unemployed graduates sounds like a buzzing mosquito in the ears of the CAB. We need your voices to rise up with ours. We need people who care about getting a fair exam for all to speak up for those of us who are being ignored. This is not just for this exam. We need the insanity of a select few deciding who gets to practice acupuncture to stop!

Do you want to be part of the solution? Here are 2 things you can do RIGHT NOW.

1. SIGN and CIRCULATE our petition link by emailing it to friends and posting it on friend’s Facebook pages. A sentence as simple as “Please help me and other displaced graduates” usually does the trick.
Here’s the link;

http://www.change.org/petitions/california-acupuncture-board-reform-re-evaluation-of-california-acupuncture-licensing-exam-cale

2. MAKE THREE CALLS & CIRCULATE our telephone campaign information (copy/paste info below) via Facebook and email. The telephone calls are continuing to flow throughout next week. If you haven’t made a call yet, please do so. It’s easy, it’s supporting displaced graduates and let’s be honest, it’s fun to kick up a little dust in Sacramento.

Here’s what you can share about the telephone campaign.
***
Friends, we need your help. While the CAB has agreed to investigate the acupuncture exam many of us took in August, they are dragging their feet. We want to be sure they stay focused on the task of fixing their mistakes BEFORE exam fees are due on 12/21/12 for the next exam.

So, we are asking you to make 3 calls this week to help us get a fair exam for everyone.
Please use the script below or speak your mind freely while calling these three people;

1. James Westbrooks # (213)745-6656 at Senator Price’s office
2. Bob Holmgren # (916) 575-7273 at Office of Professional Examination Services
3. Governor Jerry Brown # (916) 445-2841 at his office

“Hello, my name is _____. I am calling to request California Acupuncture Board (CAB) finish their investigation on the August California Acupuncture Licensing exam (CALE), and re-score it to a fair and reasonable passing score of 70% by December 7th. Please reference the letter and petition emailed to you on Tuesday, 11/27/12 from CALE Takers United Front. Thank you!” [end of script]

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grateful to be pokin,

elizabeth “bru” bruckner
blue heart acupuncture in orange, ca
acupunk/clinic owner/poca tech volunteer/poca tech sustainer

http://www.facebook.com/blueheartacu

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Posted: 20 December 2012 04:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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thanks SO much for your calls and emails letting me know that you support our movement for a fair exam. i’m sure a few of you are wondering what we’ve been up to since the telephone campaign. thanks to all of you that made calls for us. it certainly helped perk up the ears of those who can help us in sacramento. here’s what we’re doing now;

LATEST DEVELOPMENT! We have hired an attorney to pursue legal action against the California Acupuncture Board. If you would like to be a part of what comes next, keep reading:

1. August 2012 CALE test takers who did not pass the CALE and would like to be included in legal representation MUST COMPLETE AND SUBMIT the attorney’s retainer by December 28, 2012. (for those of you still reading, please share this post with every tcm graduate you know. we want to everyone to have the right to representation!)

2. August 2012 test takers are being asked to contribute whatever amount they can toward legal fees by December 28, 2012 (e.g., sliding scale $1-20 plus). NO ONE will be turned away for lack of funds. Please know that we are securing the majority of the retainer fee from outside sources.
...
3.Please mail your signed retainer and contribution by December 28, 2012 to (checks only, payable to Robert H. Sulnick Esquire):
CTUF
c/o 609 East Buffalo Avenue
Santa Ana, CA 92706

You can obtain copy of the retainer by emailing us for a copy.

If you have questions, you can call Esther Moux, one of the CTUF coordinators at 619-549-6376; or email Elizabeth Bruckner, one of the CTUF coordinators at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or Kimberley Woo one of the CTUF coordinators at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Questions will not be answered via facebook.

Please remember, we’re all volunteers and busy studying and juggling responsibilities. We’ll respond as soon as we can.

There is hope for positive change!

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grateful to be pokin,

elizabeth “bru” bruckner
blue heart acupuncture in orange, ca
acupunk/clinic owner/poca tech volunteer/poca tech sustainer

http://www.facebook.com/blueheartacu

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