CONTACT: Don Feldstein or
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 18, 2016
UUP: Flawed SUNY TeachNY report disconnected from reality
Click here to view NYSUT's press release on TeachNY
A report by SUNY’s TeachNY Advisory Council on teacher education is flawed, incomplete and fails to tap the experience of SUNY education professionals who teach and mentor future teachers across the state, according to United University Professions President Frederick E. Kowal, Ph.D.
The report, heralded by SUNY as a "historic partnership" between SUNY and the State Education Department, glosses over glaring problems with the state’s teacher certification exams and their impact on statewide teacher shortages and the lack of diversity in New York's teacher ed programs. The study ignores recent changes implemented by the state Board of Regents, and inappropriately cites reform groups such as the National Council on Teacher Quality as experts.
Some of the report’s recommendations directly conflict with actual experiences of SUNY teacher educators. Also missing: mentions of outstanding practices and new teacher ed developments already underway in the field.
"TeachNY is a smoke screen that bolsters the failed policy of former Commissioner John King, which SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher appears to endorse," said Kowal. "It is insulting to SUNY’s teacher education faculty and staff, and seriously out of touch with the widespread rejection of the top-down reform agenda that has undermined the work of teacher educators and their students.
"This report is pretentious and overreaches in an attempt to design standards for a profession that is highly regulated,” Kowal continued. “It is one more misguided critique that is disconnected from reality."
UUP and NYSUT attempted to work with SUNY on the report, but pulled away when teacher education professionals weren't given a real voice in vetting the Council’s recommendations. The report’s findings lack a “full range of input” from Council meetings, Kowal said.
“We cannot and will not endorse a report that is so flawed and one-sided, yet purports to be a legitimate collaboration between SUNY leadership and teacher educators,” said Kowal. “As written, this study goes out of its way to avoid the professional expertise and actual experiences of teacher educators, while thwarting attempts by our members to address real issues that need fixing.”
UUPs’ many concerns with the study include:
“Hopefully, the Chancellor will see the error of her ways and we can work together to produce a viable, workable report that takes a 360-degree view of this important issue,” Kowal said.
UUP is the nation's largest higher education union, with more than 42,000 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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