Jan. 23, 2018

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Regents enact UUP-backed changes to teacher education

uupdate 1-23-18

The New York State Board of Regents has approved two changes to the teacher education process that UUP strongly supported, and which its teacher education members wanted.

The first change – passed at the Jan. 23 meeting of the Regents’ Higher Education Committee – puts a longstanding policy in compliance with a new state law. Under that law, certified teachers and school administrators with a graduate degree and who want to apply to an additional graduate program, will no longer need to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or any equivalent graduate admission test.

The second change will offer teacher education programs the chance to use an accreditation process other than the controversial process offered by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, which has been the only such accreditation program recognized by the state.

Unions speak out on accrediting process

The change allowing alternative accreditation programs comes in response to a letter signed by UUP, NYSUT and the Professional Staff Congress/CUNY, which the three unions sent in December to Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa and State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia.

In that letter, the unions outlined longstanding problems with the only national accrediting program recognized by the Regents, the Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Preparation, or CAEP. Among the problems with CAEP that the unions cited: poor communication with participating teacher education programs, a lack of clear guidance, and delayed responses to important questions from participating programs.

The three unions favor an accreditation program being developed by The Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP).

“We are supporting this because we would specifically like AAQEP to be the alternative,” said Jamie Dangler, UUP’s statewide vice president for academics. “WE have looked at AAQEP, we know what their model is and we have our own members giving us tremendous feedback on AAQEP.”

GRE change backed by UUP

The elimination of the GRE as a requirement for teachers and administrators who already hold graduate degrees is immediately effective. So, for example, a classroom teacher or school administrator who holds a master’s degree but who wishes to enter a doctoral program will no longer need to take the GRE or any other admission test.

UUP had successfully pressed for that change to state education law last year as part of its legislative agenda. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law in December a bill that removed the GRE requirement for certified teachers and school administrators. The law is already in effect, so the Regents revised their policy to comply with the new law.

Both changes are the latest examples of the Regents demonstrating strong responses to UUP and NYSUT on matters concerning teacher education. That change has been especially notable under the Regents leadership of Rosa, whose tenure as chancellor began in April 2016, and who has encouraged public input on teacher education by the unions.

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