THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234

 

TO:

The Honorable the Members of the Board of Regents

FROM:

Johanna Duncan-Poitier

 

 

 

COMMITTEE:

Higher Education and Professional Practice

TITLE OF ITEM:

Proposed Amendment to the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education relating to the Duration of the Initial Teaching Certificate and Requirements concerning the Faculty of Teacher Preparation Programs

DATE OF SUBMISSION:

October 8, 2004

PROPOSED HANDLING:

Discussion

RATIONALE FOR ITEM:

To Implement Policy

STRATEGIC GOAL:

Goals 2 and 3

AUTHORIZATION(S):

 

 

 

 

SUMMARY:

 

          Attached for discussion is a proposed amendment to sections 80-3.3(a)(1) and 52.21(b)(2)(i)(h) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, relating to the duration of the Initial teaching certificate and requirements concerning the faculty of teacher preparation programs.  Supporting materials for the proposed amendment are available upon request from the Secretary to the Board of Regents.

 

          The purpose of the proposed amendment is to extend the life of Initial teaching certificates to give teachers more time to complete the masterís degree requirements for professional certification and to provide teacher preparation programs that meet articulated standards of institutional accountability greater flexibility in the staffing of those programs.

 

The new certification requirements, effective on February 2, 2004, changed the duration of the first level teaching certificate (now known as an Initial certificate) from five years to three years (or four years with an extension under certain prescribed circumstances).  The proposed amendment would return to the previous standard, permitting teachers holding the Initial certificate five years to complete the master's degree.

 

Increasing the duration of the Initial certificate to five years has strong support in the field.  In a survey of the presidents of all colleges and universities with teacher preparation programs, conducted by the Office of Higher Education, 83 percent of the responding presidents indicated the need to extend the duration of the Initial certificate to five years.  

 

Many teaching candidates, teacher preparation programs and school districts from around the State have reported that the duration of the Initial certificate (three years) is currently too short to provide new teachers with sufficient time to complete the master's degree program required for a Professional certificate.  Typically these teachers are working full-time and pursuing the master's degree on a part-time basis during evenings and on summer breaks.  Educators have advised the Department that new teachers often benefit from teaching in the classroom for a period of time before progressing too far into the masterís degree program.  With this teaching experience, they are better able to integrate pedagogical theory and practice.   The Department is also concerned that the indicated impact of the short duration of the Initial certificate could worsen the teacher shortage problem by discouraging individuals from entering the teaching field and in some cases causing teachers to lose certification simply because their certificate has expired.  For these reasons, the Department proposes extending the duration of the Initial certificate to five years.    

 

          This proposal would also amend the provisions of section 52.21(b)(2)(i)(h) of the Commissionerís regulations to provide teacher preparation programs that meet articulated standards of institutional accountability greater flexibility in the staffing of those programs.  Under the current regulation, institutions of higher education with registered teacher preparation programs are mandated to provide sufficient numbers of qualified full-time faculty to ensure that the majority of credit-bearing courses in the program are offered by full-time faculty.  In addition, the regulation specifies fixed faculty workload requirements for teacher preparation programs: faculty teaching assignments may not exceed 12 semester hours per semester for undergraduate courses or 9 semester hours for graduate courses, or 21 semester hours per academic year for faculty who teach a combination of graduate and undergraduate courses.  The regulation also specifies that individual faculty may not supervise more than 18 student teachers per semester. 

 

The Regents Teaching Policy includes a commitment to ongoing monitoring of the implementation and impact of the Policy and a plan to consider adjustments and modifications as necessary to advance the Policy in todayís educational environment.   In numerous communications and activities, including the Departmentís survey, the leaders at colleges and universities with teacher education programs, while agreeing that maintaining a significant proportion of full-time faculty and faculty workload limitations are important standards for ensuring program quality, have requested more flexibility to develop staffing plans that are consistent with the changing needs of their programs (e.g., enrollment fluctuations and the need to offer specific courses to meet the demands for teachers in certain subject areas, etc.).  Presidents of institutions with teacher education programs, as well as some deans, program chairs, faculty, and representatives of higher education organizations have described a number of unintended consequences from the requirement for a fixed percentage of full-time faculty.  For example, some institutions reported having to reduce, rather than expand, the number of programs and courses they offer.  Others have reported having to increase class size and faculty/student ratios. A number of institutions have reported a diminishing pool of high quality, full-time teacher education faculty candidates in subject shortage areas.

 

          It is important to note that, no other academic programs leading to professional licensure in professions registered by the Department are required to maintain a specified percentage of full-time faculty by either the Department or their accrediting body.  Colleges and universities offering licensure-qualifying programs in medicine, nursing, architecture, engineering, public accountancy, dentistry, and other professions maintain high standards of quality while exercising discretion to establish staffing plans in those program areas.  Likewise, no teacher education-accrediting agency identifies a fixed percentage of required full-time faculty. Rather, all accrediting bodies assess the overall financial and human resources supporting a program to determine whether the program is able to operate effectively and meet its academic mission.

 

Consistent with the feedback we received, the Department is proposing that the Regents consider moving toward a performance-based system Ė a system that continues to require high standards of quality while giving the leadership of colleges and universities with demonstrated records of performance more discretion and flexibility to develop staffing plans that are consistent with their program designs. The proposed amendment eliminates the percentage requirement for full-time faculty and the fixed workload requirements for those teacher preparation programs that demonstrate program quality by being accredited by the Regents or an acceptable professional education accrediting association and that meet or exceed the established institutional pass rate of 80 percent on teacher certification examinations. These performance standards apply to all teacher education programs, including alternative certification programs. The regulations will continue to require all institutions that offer teacher preparation programs to provide sufficient numbers of qualified, full-time faculty to foster and maintain continuity and stability in these programs and ensure the proper discharge of instructional and all other faculty responsibilities.  The regulations will also continue to require all teacher preparation programs to meet the requirements for faculty that are applicable to all registered college programs. 

 

A Notice of Proposed Rule Making concerning the proposed amendment will be published in the State Register on October 27, 2004.  It is recommended that formal action on the proposed amendment be taken at the January 2005 meeting of the Board of Regents.

 

 

 

Attachment


AMENDMENT TO THE REGULATIONS OF THE COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION          Pursuant to sections 207, 210, 215, 305, 3001, 3004, and 3006 of the Education Law.

          1. Paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of section 80-3.3 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education is amended, effective February 3, 2005, as follows:

(1) Duration.  The initial certificate shall be valid for [three] five years from its effective date.  [A candidate may be granted an extension of the time validity of the initial certificate for a period not to exceed one additional year for the purpose of completing a masterís or higher degree program needed to fulfill the education requirement for a professional certificate, pursuant to section 80-3.4 of this Subpart, provided that the candidate completes at least 24 semester hours of such study by the end of the three-year period of the initial certificate.  The application for the one-year extension of the validity of the initial certificate shall be accompanied by documentation satisfactory to the commissioner demonstrating the candidateís progress to date in the graduate program and the compelling need for additional time to complete such program.  At the expiration of the additional one-year period, the time validity of an initial certificate shall not be extended again for the same purpose.]

2. Clause (h) of subparagraph (i) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of section 52.21 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education is amended, effective February 3, 2005, as follows:

          (h) Faculty.

          (1) Institutions shall provide sufficient numbers of qualified, full-time faculty in order to [:] foster and maintain continuity and stability in teacher education programs and policies [; ensure that the majority of credit-bearing courses in the program are offered by full-time teaching faculty;] and ensure the proper discharge of instructional and all other faculty responsibilities.  Institutions shall meet the requirements for faculty set forth in section 52.2 of this Part.

          (2) Staffing requirements.

(i) Except as provided in item (ii) of this subclause, institutions shall meet the following staffing requirements:  Institutions shall ensure that the majority of credit-bearing courses in the program are offered by full-time teaching faculty.  Faculty teaching assignments shall not exceed 12 semester hours per semester for undergraduate courses, or 9 semester hours per semester for graduate courses, or 21 semester hours per academic year for faculty who teach a combination of graduate and undergraduate courses, while still providing sufficient course offerings to allow students to complete their programs in the minimum time required for earning the degree.  Individual faculty members shall not supervise more than 18 student teachers per semester.  Supervision of field experiences, practica, and student teaching shall be considered by the institution in determining faculty load, and institutions shall demonstrate how such supervision is considered in determining faculty load. 

(ii) Waiver and exception. 

(a) Waiver.  The commissioner may grant a waiver from one or more requirements of [this clause] item (i) of this subclause upon a showing of good cause satisfactory to the commissioner, including but not limited to a showing that the institution cannot meet the requirement because of the nature of the program, which otherwise meets the requirements of this Part.

(b) Exception.  Institutions that meet the standard for student performance on the New York State teacher certification examinations set forth in section 52.21(b)(2)(iv)(b) of this Part and are accredited in accordance with section 52.21 (b)(2)(iv)(c) of this Part shall not be required to meet the staffing requirements prescribed in item (i) of this subclause.   

(iii) For institutions subject to registration review for failing to meet the standard for student performance on the New York State teacher certification examinations set forth in section 52.21(b)(2)(iv)(b) of this Part, the department may impose a time frame for the institution to conform to the staffing requirements set forth in item (i) of this subclause as part of the institutionís corrective action plan.