Dec. 5, 2014

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Dangler takes SED to task

uupdate 12-5-14

UUP VP for Academics Jamie Dangler tells “The Capitol Pressroom” host Susan Arbetter that data from state teacher certification exams made public by the State Education Department are highly flawed.

In a Dec. 5 interview on the statewide public affairs radio program, Dangler said SED failed to validate test results it received from its testing services. Department researchers did not contact campuses to determine whether their data match up with the actual number of teacher preparation program completers who took the exams. Many test-takers reported by SED to be affiliated with specific campuses did not complete teacher preparation programs at those campuses.

“They did not check with the campuses to match up the data they have with the actual number of students who completed teacher prep programs,” she said. “SED’s data are highly flawed.”

She charged that SED made the campus-specific tests scores public as part of a plan to push Education Commissioner John King’s agenda, which is to close teacher education programs and reduce the number of students pursuing teaching careers in New York. In November, King told the New York Times that the test scores suggest the need for fewer teacher prep programs.

Dangler also addressed SED’s botched implementation of the new teacher certification requirements, claiming that the department unnecessarily rushed to mandate the tests. Students that graduated in 2014 weren’t prepared to meet the new requirements because they were put in place as those students were finishing their degree work. Two of the new exams are based on the Common Core, which 2014 graduates did not have in their high school or college curriculum.

“It’s very disturbing that this is the first time New York state has created brand new requirements like this and imposed them on students at the end of their college prep. It is the most dysfunctional and inappropriate situation I’ve ever seen,” Dangler said. “The result is that many students are being denied certification because the tests are a mess.”

She noted that SED’s job placement data for teacher preparation program graduates are deceiving because the statistics only account for graduates working as teachers in New York’s public schools. The data ignore employment of teacher education graduates at private and out-of-state schools, pre-school, BOCES and Head Start programs and in higher education. Graduates in other teaching-related fields, like for educational materials and testing companies, aren’t counted.

“They are not honest about the kinds of jobs – the multifaceted jobs – that these teacher candidates get,” she said.

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