THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234
To: Higher Education Committee
From: Joseph P. Frey
Subject: Adolescence Level Teacher Certification Restructuring for Students with Disabilities
Date: August 31, 2010
Issue for Discussion
Should the Board of Regents proceed with revisions to the adolescence level teacher certification structure for students with disabilities to ensure an adequate supply of such teachers and that they are prepared to collaboratively teach multiple subjects?
Reason(s) for Consideration
Review of Policy.
This item is being presented to the Higher Education Committee for discussion at its September 2010 meeting.
As part of your ongoing review of Regents teaching policy, since February 2007 the Board has discussed at six meetings the need of students with disabilities, especially at the adolescence level, to have both an adequate supply of teachers and special educators prepared to teach to the learning standards. On four separate occasions Department staff sought and received feedback from the field and has engaged various constituency groups in discussions and recommendations regarding the restructuring of students with disabilities teacher certificates. There was limited stakeholder consensus regarding the restructuring. In March 2010, the Board discussed recommendations centered on revisions to adolescence level students with disabilities certification.
To implement the proposed recommendations, amendments to the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education will be proposed for emergency adoption in October 2010 as follows:
- Candidates will no longer be able to enroll in special education teacher preparation programs that lead to Students with Disabilities 5-9 Generalist and Students with Disabilities 5-9 and 7-12 content specific certificate titles after February 1, 2011.
- Amendments will be made to Parts 52 and 80 of Commissioner’s Regulations to create a Students with Disabilities 7-12 Generalist certificate, beginning after September 1, 2011. Candidates seeking this certificate will have a foundation of academic preparation in four areas: math, science, English language arts and social studies to prepare them to teach to the State’s learning standards and to teach in supportive roles such as consultant teachers, resource room service providers and integrated co-teachers.
- The Students with Disabilities 7-12 Generalist will include the option of completing 18 credits in a specific subject area. This, coupled with passing the Content Specialty Test in the specific subject area, will allow candidates to earn an extension to the base certificate to permit the teacher to be employed as the special class teacher of students with disabilities in that subject. This model will require weekly collaboration between the certified general education content specialist and the special educator, with at least one period per month co-taught by both teachers. The length of the required weekly collaboration and co-taught lesson will be defined at the local level.
- Amend regulations to ensure that all teachers are better prepared to skillfully collaborate with other teachers and to work with students with disabilities by adding a requirement that all teacher education programs include a minimum of three credits in educating students with disabilities. Regulations will specify that general education teachers must be prepared with knowledge and skills regarding:
- classroom management and positive behavioral supports and interventions
- individualizing and differentiating instruction
- effective practice for integrated co-teaching and collaboration
- State special education laws and regulations
- special education process
- information on the categories of disability, including autism; and
- identification and remediation of specific learning disabilities
- Regulations will be amended to add a required minimum number of field experience clock hours focused on working with students with disabilities for all candidates in teacher preparation programs.
Consistent with our recommendations and reporting to the Board in April 2010, the Department will continue to support other regulatory and non regulatory means to provide qualified special educators at the adolescence level.
With Regents approval, we will adopt proposed regulations on an emergency basis in October 2010 and will permanently adopt these regulations in December 2010, with an effective date of January 5, 2011.