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

 

TO:

Higher Education and Professional Practice Committee

FROM:

Johanna Duncan-Poitier

 

 

SUBJECT:

Proposed Amendment to the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education Relating to the Accreditation of Teacher Education Programs

 

DATE:

May 5, 2006

STRATEGIC GOAL:

Goals 2 and  3

AUTHORIZATION(S):

 

 

 

SUMMARY

 

Issue for Discussion

 

Consistent with the September 2005 endorsement of the Regents Higher Education and Professional Practice Committee, should the Regents amend section 52.21(b)(2)(iv)(c) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education to provide a one-time process through which existing teacher education programs may defer the date by which they must be accredited?

 

Reason(s) for Consideration


          Review of Policy.

 

Proposed Handling

 

The proposed amendment is before the Committee for discussion in May 2006 and will be submitted for action at the June 2006 Regents meeting.

 

Procedural History

 

The Board of Regents adopted a new teaching policy, "Teaching to Higher Standards: New Yorkís Commitment," in 1998.  As a result of that policy, in 1999 the Board adopted section 52.21(b)(2)(iv)(c) of the Commissionerís Regulations, which requires New York State teacher education programs to become accredited by an acceptable accrediting organization by December 31, 2006.  In September 2005, the Regents Committee on Higher Education and Professional Practice endorsed a proposal by staff concerning the creation of a limited process for institutions that need time beyond December 31, 2006, to receive an accreditation decision or to resolve issues that resulted in denial of accreditation and directed staff to develop an amendment to regulations to accomplish that. 

 

Notice of Proposed Rule Making concerning the proposed amendment was published in the State Register on April 19, 2006.  Supporting materials for the proposed amendment are available upon request from the Board of Regents.

 

Background Information

 

The purpose of the proposed amendment is to define limited conditions under which registered teacher preparation programs may receive from the State Education Department a deferral of the date by which they must be accredited.

         

          Under current regulations, teacher preparation programs that were registered prior to September 1, 2001 must be accredited by an acceptable professional education accrediting association or the Board of Regents by December 31, 2006, in order to maintain their registration status.  New York's 114 active teacher education programs must be accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC), or the Regents (Regents Accreditation of Teacher Education [RATE]).  To date, 66 programs have earned accreditation for some period of time.  Forty-four institutions have had an accreditation visit and are awaiting a decision or are scheduled for a visit before December 31st.  The four remaining institutions have newer programs that are subject to a later accreditation deadline.

 

          Staff believe it is necessary to give teacher education programs additional time to achieve accreditation, under limited conditions.  Due to the demands of scheduling over 100 accreditation visits and the challenges programs face in preparing for accreditation, the schedule of site visits extends through the fall 2006 semester.  At least one Department representative participates in every accreditation site visit to a teacher education program, regardless of the program's chosen accreditor. Twenty-three institutions have visits scheduled in either the spring (13) or fall (10) 2006 semesters. Because these institutions may not have an accreditation decision by December 31st or will have little time to respond to a denial of accreditation, they may be negatively impacted by the current accreditation deadline. 

 

          The amendment's first provision applies to institutions that are awaiting a decision following an accreditation review conducted by December 31, 2006.  For these programs, the date by which they must be accredited will be deferred by one year, until December 31, 2007.  That deferral will cover the time accreditors will need to render decisions on their late-2006 accreditation reviews.

 

The current cycle of accreditation reviews represents the first time many teacher education programs have sought accreditation.  Often, institutions must change and formalize their procedures and address resource issues to satisfy accreditation standards.  Institutions ultimately benefit from the accreditation review, but the time needed to prepare for and respond to such reviews, and the time needed for accreditation decisions to be made, will force some quality programs past the accreditation deadline.  As a result, some programs may need additional time to resolve first-time accreditation issues that led to an initial denial of accreditation.

 

The amendment's second provision applies to institutions that have been denied accreditation.  Under the proposed amendment, programs denied accreditation during a limited time period, January 1, 2005 through December 31, 2007, may apply for a deferral of the date by which they must earn accreditation.  To qualify for such a deferral, the institution will need to provide an acceptable corrective action plan to address the deficiencies cited by the accreditor and the Department.   Corrective action plans will be reviewed by the Department.  If the Department approves the plan, it will defer the institution's accreditation deadline by up to three years. 

 

The amendment is needed to give the Department regulatory flexibility to accommodate teacher preparation programs that demonstrate the ability to earn accreditation within the short term.  It provides a safety net for those institutions (and the students they serve) during this initial cycle of accreditation reviews.  Given the number of accreditation reviews that must still be completed, and the possibility that some completed reviews will result in accreditation denials, the Department estimates that 15 to 20 institutions will be unable to meet the December 31st accreditation deadline.   The majority of that number will simply be awaiting an accreditation decision.  Without the amendment, programs may be subject to de-registration for not meeting the accreditation requirement by December 31, 2006.  By providing for deferral of the accreditation deadline under the described conditions, the amendment allows programs to address deficiencies, thereby limiting disruptions to students while helping to ensure improvements in program quality.

 

Recommendation

 

N/A

 

Timetable for Implementation

 

The effective date of the proposed amendment is July 13, 2006.

 

 

Attachment

 


AMENDMENT TO THE REGULATIONS OF THE COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION

          Pursuant to sections 207, 210, 215, 305, 3001, and 3004 of the Education Law.   Clause (c) of subparagraph (iv) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of section 52.21 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education is amended, effective July 13, 2006, as follows:

          (c) Accreditation.

          (1) (i) For programs registered on or before September 1, 2001, the requirements of subclause (2) of this clause shall be met by December 31, 2006, except as provided in subclause (3) of this clause.  [For such programs, the institution shall submit to the acceptable professional education accrediting association or the department pursuant to the Regents accreditation process, the self-study or its equivalent as prescribed by the department, required for the accreditation review, by July 1, 2004.] 

(ii) For programs registered for the first time after September 1, 2001, the requirements of subclause (2) of this clause shall be met within seven years of the date of the commencement of such initial registration.

          (2) Programs shall be continuously accredited by either:

          (i) an acceptable professional education accrediting association, meaning an organization which is determined by the department to have equivalent standards to the standards set forth in this Part; or

          (ii) the Regents, pursuant to a Regents accreditation process.

          (3) Exceptions.  Programs that meet the requirements of either item (i) or (ii) of this subclause shall receive a deferral of the date by which they must be accredited, in accordance with the requirements of each item.

(i) Deferral for programs awaiting accreditation decision.  Programs registered on or before September 1, 2001 that are awaiting an accreditation decision from their chosen accreditor following an accreditation review which included a site visit conducted on or before December 31, 2006, shall meet the accreditation requirement in subclause (2) of this clause by December 31, 2007.

(ii) Deferral for programs under corrective action plan.    Programs registered on or before September 1, 2001 that have been denied accreditation between January 1, 2005 and December 31, 2007, may request from the department a deferral of the date by which they must be accredited in accordance with the requirements of this item.

(A) Such programs denied accreditation between January 1, 2005 and July 12, 2006 must submit a written request to the department for the deferral of the date for accreditation by September 1, 2006.  Such programs denied accreditation between July 13, 2006 and December 31, 2007 must submit to the department a written request for such deferral within 15 days of receiving written notice of the determination denying accreditation. 

(B) Such programs may be granted by the department a deferral of the date by which they must be accredited, provided that the programs submit a corrective action plan that is acceptable to the department.  Such corrective action plan must be submitted to the department within 60 days of  the programs' submission of the request for the deferral of the date for accreditation.  The corrective action plan must adequately address the deficiencies identified by the accreditor and establish an acceptable date by which the programs will be accredited based upon a plan to remedy such deficiencies.   The department shall review the corrective action plan to determine whether to grant the deferral of the date for accreditation.

 (C) Where the deferral of the date for accreditation is granted, the department shall determine the date by which the programs must be accredited.  Such date shall be stated in the corrective action plan and shall not exceed three years from the date of the department's written notice to the programs of the determination to grant the deferral of the date for accreditation.   During the period of the implementation of the corrective action plan, the programs shall demonstrate to the department that the programs are making adequate progress toward meeting the chosen accreditor's standards.  Any determination denying re-registration of the programs based upon the initial accreditation review shall be held in abeyance and the programs shall continue to be registered during the period of the review by the department of the programs' request for accreditation deferral and the implementation of an acceptable corrective action plan.