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April 30, 2014

UUP president supports action on new teacher certification requirements

ALBANY - United University Professions President Frederick E. Kowal, Ph.D., thanked the leaders of the state Assembly education committees for paving the way for an agreement that delays the use of the edTPA as a certification requirement until July 2015. The agreement holds teacher-candidates harmless by providing a safety net through an alternative exam called the Assessment of Teaching Skills-Written, which has been a long-standing certification exam.

Implementation of the edTPA was to begin May 1, and state lawmakers introduced measures that would have delayed implementation of the edTPA until July 1, 2015.

“The Assembly’s introduction of legislation and subsequent call for a hearing created the conditions for collaborative movement on this issue,” Kowal said during testimony before the Assembly’s Higher Education and Education committees."

The agreement includes creation of a task force that will include UUP to review and refine the edTPA. Kowal said it is crucial that concerns about the assessment process are addressed “through a collaborative effort.”

“As a union that represents faculty involved in teacher education programs across the state, we are committed to a process that gives our members and other stakeholders a voice in addressing concerns about the edTPA. Our goal is to provide the best education possible to the teachers of tomorrow,” Kowal said.

Among the issues that need to be resolved are ensuring teacher candidates receive adequate training before they are assessed, developing a proper implementation method, addressing problems pertaining to videotaping in K-12 classrooms, and reviewing curriculum change concerns.

“The edTPA needs to be adjusted, and we now have time to bring about productive change,” he said.

UUP is the nation's largest higher education union, with more than 37,000 academic and professional faculty and retirees. UUP members work at 29 New York state-operated campuses, including SUNY’s public teaching hospitals and health science centers in Brooklyn, Long Island and Syracuse. It is an affiliate of NYSUT, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and the AFL-CIO.


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