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:

December 23, 2004

PROPOSED HANDLING:

Approval

RATIONALE FOR ITEM:

To Implement Policy

STRATEGIC GOAL:

Goals 2 and 3

AUTHORIZATION(S):

 

 

 

 

SUMMARY:

 

          Attached for approval is a proposed amendment to ßß80-3.3(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. An ďAssessment of Issues Raised by Public CommentĒ is also attached.  Supporting materials for the proposed amendment are available upon request from the Secretary to the Board of Regents.

 

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

 

The new certification requirements, effective 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 requirement that teachers holding the Initial certificate complete the master's degree in five years.

 

Increasing the duration of the Initial certificate to five years has strong support in the field.  In a survey conducted by the Office of Higher Education of the presidents of all colleges and universities with teacher preparation programs, 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 three-year Initial certificate is too short to provide new teachers with sufficient time to complete the master's degree program required for a Professional certificate.  Typically these newly certified teachers work full-time and pursue 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 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 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 ß52.21(b)(2)(i)(h) of the Commissionerís regulations to provide greater flexibility in staffing teacher preparation programs that meet articulated standards of institutional accountability.  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 commits to ongoing monitoring of the implementation and impact of the Policy and a plan to consider adjustments and modifications as necessary.   In numerous communications and activities, including the Departmentís survey, the leaders at colleges and universities with teacher education programs agreed that maintaining a significant proportion of full-time faculty and faculty workload limitations are important standards for ensuring program quality.  At the same time, they are requesting more flexibility to develop staffing plans that are consistent with the changing needs of their teacher education programs (e.g., enrollment fluctuations and the need to offer specific courses to meet the demands for teachers in certain subject areas, etc.) as other academic programs are able to do.  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.

 

While the majority of college and university leadership strongly support this modification, some full-time faculty members, their labor unions and the Professional Standards and Practices Board (PSPB) have expressed opposition citing that the current regulatory mandate is necessary to ensure an adequate balance of full-time/part-time faculty in teacher education programs and to maintain quality. 

 

          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.

 

The Department is proposing that the Regents consider moving toward a performance-based 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 fixed percentage requirement for full-time faculty and the workload requirements for those teacher preparation programs that demonstrate program quality through program accreditation by the Board of Regents, the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) or the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), and that meet or exceed the established institutional pass rate of 80 percent on all required 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. 

 

The proposed amendment was discussed at the November 2004 meeting of the Board of Regents.  A Notice of Proposed Rule Making concerning the proposed amendment was published in the State Register on October 27, 2004. 

 

          I recommend that the Board of Regents take the following action:

 

          VOTED: That paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of section 80-3.3 and clause (h) of subparagraph (i) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of section 52.21 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education be amended, as submitted, effective February 3, 2005.

 

 

 

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.  


PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO SECTIONS 80-3.3(a)(1) AND 52.21(b)(2)(i)(h) OF THE REGULATIONS OF THE COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION PURSUANT TO SECTIONS 207, 210, 215, 305, 3001, 3004, AND 3006 OF THE EDUCATION LAW RELATING TO THE PERIOD OF VALIDITY OF THE INITIAL TEACHING CERTIFICATE AND FLEXIBILITY IN THE STAFFING OF TEACHER PREPARATION PROGRAMS

ASSESSMENT OF ISSUES RAISED BY PUBLIC COMMENT

The proposed rule was published in the State Register on October 27, 2004.    Below is a summary of written comments received by the State Education Department concerning the proposed rule making and the Departmentís response. 

COMMENT: We support extending the duration of the initial certificate to five years.  Our reflective experience over the past several years continues to affirm the necessity of having a longer time frame in which to meet the requirements for the professional certificate.  This will positively impact the recruitment, retention, and quality of new teachers as well as benefit those who are currently enrolled in teacher preparation programs. 

          RESPONSE:   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 Department's 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.  

          After carefully considering extensive commentary from teacher preparation programs, teacher candidates and school districts from around the State, the Department concurs that it is necessary and appropriate to extend the duration of the initial teaching certificate from three to five years to facilitate the ability of new teachers to complete the study necessary to earn a master's degree for the professional certificate.

          COMMENT:  If the duration period of the initial certificate is extended from three to five years, the benefit of this extension should be provided to all initial certificate recipients since the implementation of the new initial certificate on February 2, 2004.

          RESPONSE:    The Department agrees and plans to administratively extend the duration of all initial certificates issued since February 2, 2004.

          COMMENT: We ask the Regents to approve the regulations that replace fixed regulatory input standards for faculty workloads in teacher education programs and require that a majority of teacher education courses be taught by full-time faculty, with outcome measures establishing program quality.   In the independent sector where the quality of programs is not only an academic hallmark, but also a key economic indicator, given that quality determines reputation in the marketplace, these quantitative requirements represent an intrusion on many of our campuses.  As long as institutions maintain a high level of quality as measured by teacher education program accreditation and the pass rate, responsibility for allocation of resources within the institutions should reside within their own internal governance structures.

          RESPONSE: The proposed regulation moves 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.  This approach ensures the quality of teacher education offerings, while permitting colleges and universities greater flexibility to manage their staffing needs consistent with program design.

          COMMENT:  The proposed change of the current requirement that a majority of courses in registered teacher preparation programs must be taught by full-time faculty will undermine recent progress made by institutions of higher education to improve the quality and capacity of their teacher preparation programs.

          RESPONSE:  The Department does not believe the current proposal will undermine the recent quality/capacity gains of teacher preparation programs.  The current proposal continues to explicitly recognize the criticality of maintaining sufficient full-time faculty to ensure the integrity of registered teacher preparation programs.  The regulation would only permit flexibility in the percentage requirement for full-time faculty when institutions of higher education meet two critical accountability measures.  First, the teacher preparation program must be accredited and maintain such accreditation.  Second, at least 80 percent of the teacher candidates from the institutionís teacher preparation program must pass the NYS teacher certification examinations.   Together, these measures will provide reasonable assurances of the teacher preparation programís continuing quality.

          COMMENT: The change in the requirement that a majority of the courses in registered teacher preparation programs must be taught by full-time faculty is premature to the extent that the first cohort of teachers trained under the more rigorous teacher preparation standards associated with the new classroom teaching certificates graduated in May 2004.  A change at this time is not warranted since data is not yet available verifying the relationship between full-time faculty and quantitative output measures.

          RESPONSE:  The Department does not believe that the proposed change is premature.  The amendment gives hiring flexibility to institutions of higher education whose teacher preparation programs meet defined standards of accountability.  The Department will carefully evaluate the impact of providing this hiring flexibility on the performance of teacher certification candidates and the quality of teacher preparation programs and will reconsider this policy if objective evidence demonstrates a negative impact on them.

          COMMENT:  Full-time faculty perform many functions that part-time adjuncts, by the limited nature of their appointments, cannot perform.  Full-time faculty are, for example, more available to work with students on the academic training necessary to become a teacher, to coordinate a teaching candidateís field work, to work with necessary faculty partners across the institution to improve the preparation of teacher candidates and to provide continuity in the quality of teacher preparation programs.

          RESPONSE:  The Department continues to recognize and value the vital role of full-time faculty, and 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, which include additional standards to ensure the quality of the faculty.  The proposal would only extend staffing flexibility to those teacher preparation programs that meet the articulated accountability standards that demonstrate the quality of the programs. 

          COMMENT:  The change is unnecessary because the current regulation permits institutions of higher education to request a waiver from the Department of the percentage requirement for full-time faculty.

          RESPONSE:  The amendment is needed to move towards a performance-based system.  The 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.   The regulation would also continue the opportunity for a waiver request from the staffing standards for good cause, such as inability to hire sufficient numbers of full-time faculty in a new program. 

          COMMENT:  Teacher preparation is far too important to argue that since no other programs that prepare professionals have a percentage requirement for full-time faculty, teacher preparation programs should not either.  This reasoning undercuts the importance of quality standards.

          RESPONSE: It is instructive 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.  The Department does not believe it necessary to retain the percentage requirement for 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.

          COMMENT:  Since the average statewide pass rates on the certification exams is close to 90 percent, allowing variance from the requirement that a majority of courses be taught by full-time faculty if 80 percent of a teacher preparation programís completers pass the certification exams could be viewed as lowering of the Stateís quality standards.

          RESPONSE:  The Department does not believe providing additional hiring flexibility to accredited teacher education institutions whose program completers consistently pass the certification exams at rates of 80 percent or above diminishes the Stateís quality standard.  

          COMMENT:  The proposals in the regulation to extend the duration period of the initial certificate, in order to provide additional time for new teachers to earn a master's degree, and to provide additional hiring flexibility to institutions of higher education with teacher preparation programs that achieve articulated quality standards should be separated because they are unrelated.

          RESPONSE:  The Department consistently amends at the same time several provisions of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education relating to common subject areas.   In this instance, both provisions relate to teacher certification and the Department's ongoing efforts to provide additional flexibility in regulatory requirements to facilitate production of additional certified teachers.

          COMMENT:  The Department appears to be advancing the proposal to remove the percentage requirement for full-time faculty in teacher preparation programs in an effort to accommodate the economic/management desires of some institutions of higher education rather than data demonstrating the need for a policy change.

RESPONSE: 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 above-referenced survey of college presidents, the leaders at colleges and universities with teacher preparation 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 preparation 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.

The Department believes that elimination of the percentage requirement for full-time faculty for those teacher preparation programs that demonstrate program quality by being accredited and meeting or exceeding the established pass rate of 80 percent on teacher certification examinations is reasonable.  It will provide institutions that have demonstrated quality additional flexibility to meet their staffing needs.  The Department will carefully monitor the effects of the new policy to ensure that it does not result in a reduction in the quality of teacher preparation programs.