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NY Standards for Teacher Certification Lowered

ELMIRA, N.Y. (18 NEWS) - The New York State Board of Regents has lowered the standards teachers have to meet in order to become certified. 

"Fewer and fewer of our young people are seeing teaching as a desirable profession," former Chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents Carl Hayden said. "That's a tragedy and we've got to fix that."

The changes include phasing in a lower passing score on the edTPA, extending the safety net for candidates who don't pass the edTPA, and establishing a review process for candidates who don't pass the edTPA.

Though the ultimate goal is to get more certified teachers into classrooms, Hayden has his doubts about the plan's viability.

"Just as you don't let some passenger go up and fly a plane, you just don't take somebody off the street and declare that person a teacher," he said. "The answer is not just to make it easier to become a teacher. I mean that becomes self-defeating."

Current Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa told the Albany newspaper Times Union that even the lowered passing score on the edTPA is still among the highest in states that require the exam.

While teaching shortages certainly aren't unique to New York state, there is one area feeling it the most.
"The shortage of teachers is particularly felt in charter schools and particularly in New York City," Hayden said.

And to address that problem, you guessed it. more proposed changes. 

The SUNY Charter Schools Institute would authorize Success Academy, New York City's largest charter school network, to certify teachers based on their own standards; requiring as little as 30 hours of formal instruction and just 100 hours of practical experience.

"I strongly suspect that what is going to happen is that the SUNY Charter School Institute regulations and the trustees actions with respect to the regulations are going to be the subject of a very vigorous litigation and some court is going to decide whether or not they can do what they propose to do," Hayden said.

One reasons for the teacher shortage? Hayden believes it may be because teachers in New York state have adopted a labor union model.

"One of the outcomes of that as a result is that they have really incredible job security but they're not terribly well compensated," he said. "They certainly are not compensated at a level that comports with the importance of what they're doing."

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