May 1, 2014

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Kowal thanks Assembly, presents edTPA concerns

uupdate 5-1-14

UUP President Fred Kowal thanks leaders of the Assembly education committees for pushing back against the premature use of the edTPA as a teacher certification requirement.

Kowal, sitting with NYSUT Executive Vice President Andy Pallotta, testified April 30 at a hearing conducted by the Assembly committees on Higher Education and Education.

A day earlier, the Board of Regents approved a resolution that puts off full implementation of the edTPA to July 1, 2015. The Regents’ decision provides student teachers with a necessary safety net as the edTPA is reviewed and refined. It also postpones use of edTPA results in institutional data profiles and waives a stipulation that requires corrective action for programs with students that pass at a rate below 80 percent.

Kowal said an Assembly bill to delay the edTPA and the April 30 hearing made the agreement possible.

“It was the Assembly’s introduction of legislation and subsequent call for a hearing that created the condition for collaboration and movement on this issue,” Kowal testified.

Kowal also spoke in support of a task force to analyze and clarify the edTPA; the committee was formed as part of the agreement. UUP, NYSUT and the Professional Staff Congress/CUNY will be part of the task force, which will include teacher education experts and teacher educators from SUNY, the City University of New York and the state Education Department.

“Forming this collaborative partnership is key to making necessary, positive changes—based on concerns expressed by students and educators—to the edTPA and its implementation,” he said.

In her testimony, UUP Vice President for Academics Jamie Dangler emphasized that the edTPA is unproven as a tool to measure teacher effectiveness and reliability, and has not been established as a valid predictor of effective teaching.

While money has been spent on workshops and meetings to train faculty to implement the edTPA, those meetings were set up to disseminate information.

“There has not been an adequate feedback loop so problems and concerns identified by experienced educators could be addressed,” she said.

Nearly 30 educators and students from SUNY, CUNY, and private colleges from around the state also presented testimony at the hearing.

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