March 25, 2014

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UUP answers questions, presses for edTPA hearings

uupdate 3-25-14

UUP VPA Jamie Dangler discusses the edTPA, the State Education Department’s new high-stakes teacher certification test, at a March 25 meeting at UAlbany.

As Dangler met with UAlbany education faculty, professionals and students, President Fred Kowal was at the Legislative Office Building, urging lawmakers to hold hearings on the edTPA. The union believes SED rolled out the student teacher performance assessment too quickly and that it sets students up to fail.

“UUP is pressing for a legislative hearing on edTPA, so that all elements of the process can be examined and discussed by legislators, SED officials, administrators and especially faculty, students and parents,” Kowal said. “We want lawmakers to support the immediate removal of the edTPA as a requirement for initial teacher certification.”

New York state is one of only two states requiring the edTPA for certification; Washington also requires the assessment, but has set a lower passing rate than New York.

Dangler, chair of the statewide UUP Teacher Education Task Force, told a UAlbany contingent that the union has been out front in calling for necessary changes to the edTPA.

“We want SED to remove the edTPA as a certification mandate to ensure that 2014 graduates are held harmless in terms of SED’s very flawed implementation schedule,” she said.

Dangler has visited academic and professional faculty in SUNY teacher education programs around the state and has heard the same concerns echoed by students and faculty.

“There is a lot of merit in what is now expected of us,” said teacher ed student Lindsay Valentine, set to graduate from UAlbany’s Special Media Program in May. “My biggest issue (with the edTPA) is with the videotaping (component) and trying to get parental consent. This is a major, major issue.”

One of Valentine’s professors, UUPer Joette Stefl-Mabry, above, said student teachers must focus on one or two students, rather than the entire class, if they hope to meet edTPA videotaping requirements.

“Many students are forced to stage their videotaping,” said Stefl-Mabry. ”It ends up being a ‘dog and pony show.’ There is no educational value whatsoever.”

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