June 20, 2018

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Court tosses “dumbed down” charter school teacher certification

uupdate 6-20-18

A state judge has declared illegal a special and far easier teacher certification process for charter schools, in a decision that stands as a major victory for students, UUP and NYSUT.

The June 19 decision, issued by Acting Supreme Court Judge Debra J. Young, "vacated, annulled and enjoined" the certification process, approved by SUNY's Charter Schools Committee in October 2017.

You can read a copy of the June 19 decision by clicking HERE.

“The court was right to rule the way it did," UUP President Fred Kowal said. "This was an impossible situation, and one that UUP and our expert practitioners in our membership could not let stand,” “We are grateful to our members who spoke up, who rallied, and who lent their expertise to our protests.”

In September 2017, more than 150 UUP and NYSUT members spoke out against the certification process in a rally in Saratoga Springs. Above, UUP Vice President of Academics Jamie Dangler, right, addresses the crowd.

NYSUT President Andy Pallotta and its K-12 affiliate in New York City, the United Federation of Teachers, sued on behalf of UUP and other affected NYSUT affiliates over the special policy days after the Charter Schools Committee approved it. The New York State Board of Regents and the State Education Department filed a companion lawsuit that also opposed the special certification.

The court ruling that overturned the controversial policy “is a victory in our fight to ensure excellence in education at all schools,” Pallotta said in a June 20 statement.

Pallotta noted that the special process would have allowed charter school teachers to be certified with as little as one month of coursework and a week of actual practice teaching. The standard teacher certification process for all other teacher education programs in the state requires a minimum of 40 days of student teaching.

UUP joined NYSUT and the Professional Staff Congress/CUNY – NYSUT’s other major higher education affiliate – as the unions turned out in force a year ago for rallies opposing the special charter certification process, soon after it had been approved. Education advocacy groups around the state, as well as many lawmakers, had also criticized the Charter Schools Committee, and many of those opponents filed briefs supporting NYSUT in its opposition.

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