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Meeting of the Board of Regents | January 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010 - 11:55pm

TO:

Higher Education Committee

FROM:

Joseph P. Frey

SUBJECT:

Data on Early Childhood Teachers

DATE:

January 5, 2010

STRATEGIC GOAL:

Goals 1, 2 and 3

AUTHORIZATION(S):

 

 

SUMMARY

 

Issue for Discussion

Are we preparing a sufficient number of early childhood teachers to meet the State’s needs? Early childhood education is critically important in a child’s education. The Board of Regents has set an aggressive agenda to promote quality early childhood education in New York State. There are also new proposed early childhood education federal initiatives planned for 2010. New York must ensure that there are a sufficient number of well prepared early childhood teachers to meet the State’s needs.

 

Reason(s) for Consideration

 

Review of Policy

             

Background Information

The Regents 1998 teaching policy “Teaching to Higher Standards: New York’s Commitment,” created an early childhood certificate, Birth – Grade 2, for both teachers in general education and teachers of students with disabilities (SWD). The Regents believed that more focus was needed on the pedagogical skills for children at this developmental level to better prepare teachers to instruct preschool children so they get an appropriate start in their educational programs.

In 1999, colleges redesigned their teacher preparation programs and began to enroll new students in early childhood programs in fall 2000 with students first graduating from the undergraduate programs in May of 2004.  At present, there are over 550 registered programs that lead to early childhood certificates offered at 59 colleges in New York State.  There are approximately 180 SWD early childhood programs offered at 39 colleges in New York State. The number of programs far exceeds the number of institutions offering these programs since multiple programs can be offered leading to different degrees and majors (e.g., BA, MA, MSED, etc) and leading to different certificate types (e.g. transitional B, initial or professional certificates). In addition, some of these programs may lead to dual certification (e.g. early childhood, Birth to Grade 2 and childhood, grades 1 to 6). See Table 1 for a breakdown of the numbers of programs offered by colleges in each of the sectors of higher education in New York State. It is evident that there is widespread availability of these programs in New York State.

Policy Discussion

The availability of early childhood teacher preparation programs has resulted in a significant number of students completing programs over the last few years. Table 2 shows the number of teachers that have been certified in the two areas of early childhood education and SWD early childhood education for 2007-08 and 2008-09. For the past two years, there has been a comparable number of program completers for both early childhood teachers and SWD early childhood teachers.

Since 2005, the Department has been refining a teacher supply and demand data collection and analysis model to be able to identify teacher surplus and shortage areas both by certificate and by the region of the State.  For the most recent iteration of this supply and demand model, early childhood and childhood teachers were analyzed separately. As past presentations to the Regents have indicated, our model looks at the percentage of teachers who are teaching out of their appropriate certification area, the annual teacher turnover and the number of new (inexperienced) teacher hires by school districts in each certification area as compared to the total number of new teachers certified the previous year in that area. This latter analysis lets us compare the number of new teachers prepared to the actual number of vacancies filled by a first year teacher. When this number is high (e.g., 5 new teachers prepared for each new teacher hired), then we project a surplus in the area. However, if we are only preparing one or two new teachers for each vacancy filled by a new teacher, we project a possible shortage in that area.

Table 3 indicates the results of the teacher supply and demand analyses described above. In 2007-08 the Department estimates that for each vacancy filled by a first year early childhood teacher, approximately three early childhood teachers were prepared and certified. For the same time period, we estimate that for every vacancy filled by a first year SWD early childhood teacher, approximately three to four SWD early childhood teachers were prepared and certified.

In addition, through a grant supported by both the New York State Education Department and the Carnegie Foundation, the SUNY Research Foundation tracked the progress of 125,000 individual NYS teacher certification program completers between 2000 and 2006, first in obtaining certification, then in obtaining employment in NYS public schools. The data indicates that for all secondary level and specialist area teacher education program completers between 2004 and 2006, 24.9 percent were employed in public schools during their first post-completion year. In comparison, early childhood program completers were employed at a 12.7 percent rate and SWD early childhood program completers were employed at a 15 percent rate (See Table 4).  We need to be cautious in interpreting this data. Early childhood programs are offered across the State in a variety of different settings that are often outside of the public school setting where we are not able to collect appropriate data. This could be an important reason why the employment rates were lower for early childhood teachers compared to other teachers in the public school setting.

Finally, Table 5 identifies the performance of program completers in early childhood education and SWD early childhood education on the Content Specialty Test for initial certification. The Content Specialty Test for each childhood teacher is the same test taken by childhood education teachers and middle childhood education generalist teachers. We have separated out the performance of early childhood teachers. As Table 5 indicates, these teachers’ pass rates are slightly below other teachers who take this test.

Summary

The policy paper on early childhood education presented to the Elementary, Middle, Secondary and Continuing Education Committee this month states:

“In January 2006, the Board of Regents adopted a comprehensive policy on early education.  This policy has been the basis of many initiatives and advocacy which have reshaped early education in the state.  A central component of the policy was the expansion of prekindergarten and advocacy for full day kindergarten.   Over the past five years, there has been a 135% growth in the number of districts implementing prekindergarten and a 72% increase in funding.  There has also been steady growth in the number of districts implementing full day kindergarten. Currently, 96% of districts operate full day kindergarten.   In the 2008-09 school year, there were a total of 228,318 students attending kindergarten in New York State in public and nonpublic schools.  Of that number, 92% (210,455) attended full day programs.”

The State’s certification structure is designed to meet the programmatic needs of schools to educate all of their students.  The certification structure must then be responsive to teacher shortage/surplus issues, possible reductions in teaching positions due to fiscal constraints, educational program growth, changes in educational program requirements, the performance of teacher candidates on State certification exams, and, in the instance of early childhood teachers, the demand for new teachers outside of the public school setting. Our goal will continue to be to ensure a sufficient quantity of well-prepared early childhood teachers to meet the State’s need and, in doing so, ensure that all children are provided quality educational services as soon as they are needed.


Table 1

Registered Early Childhood and SWD* Early Childhood Programs in New York State

 

Number of Early Childhood Programs

(Birth – Grade 2)

Number of Institutions Offering Early Childhood Programs

(Birth – Grade 2)

Number of SWD Early Childhood Programs

(SWD Birth – Grade 2)

Number of Institutions Offering SWD Early Childhood Programs (SWD Birth – Grade 2)

Total Number of Early Childhood Programs

Independent

465

40

158

24

623

SUNY

51

13

13

9

64

CUNY

35

6

8

6

43

Total

551

59

179

39

730

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Table 2

College Recommendations Received with Degree Dates of 09/01/2007 - 08/31/2008

       
 

Number of Early Childhood Recommendations (Birth - Grade 2)

Number of SWD Early Childhood Recommendation (SWD Birth - Grade 2)

Total Number of Recommendations*

Independent

2,481

1,962

4,443

SUNY

275

24

299

CUNY

397

143

540

Total

3,153

2,129

5,282

       
       

College Recommendations Received with Degree Dates of 09/01/2008 - 08/31/2009

       
 

Number of Early Childhood Recommendations (Birth - Grade 2)

Number of SWD Early Childhood Recommendation (SWD Birth - Grade 2)

Total Number of Recommendations*

Independent

2,361

2,016

4,377

SUNY

295

37

332

CUNY

389

149

538

Total

3,045

2,202

5,247

       
       

* Totals of all college recommendations. Some individuals are recommended for both certificates, therefore this does not represent the total number of teachers.


Table 3

not available at this time


Table 4

Early Childhood and Childhood Certification and Assignment Data Tables

 

              not available at this time

 

Table 5

2008 Content Specialty Test (CST) Results for College Program Completers

Certificate Program

Number of Completers Tested

Number of Completers Passed

Pass Rate

Early Childhood (Birth - Grade 2)

1,848

1,679

91%

SWD Early Childhood (Birth - Grade 2)

1,210

1,108

92%

All Programs for Which the Multi Subject CST is Required*

11,654

11,073

95%

*Includes Early Childhood (Birth - Grade 2), SWD Early Childhood (Birth - Grade 2), Childhood - Grades 1-6, SWD Childhood - Grades 1-6, Middle Childhood Generalist - Grades 5-9, and SWD Middle Childhood Generalist - Grades 5-9.

* Students with Disabilities