Meeting of the Board of Regents | June 2008
THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234
Regents Accreditation of Teacher Education Recommendation of Accreditation Action: Bank Street College of Education
June 4, 2008
Goals 1, 2, and 3
Issue for Decision
Bank Street College of Education has applied for Regents accreditation of its teacher education programs. Should the Board of Regents accredit these programs?
Reason(s) for Consideration
Required by State regulation.
The question will come before the Higher Education Committee at its June 2008 meeting, where it will be voted on and action taken. It will then come before the full Board at its June 2008 meeting for final action.
The Board of Regents adopted a new teaching policy, "Teaching to Higher Standards: New York's Commitment," in 1998. As a result of that policy, in 1999 the Board adopted section 52.21(b)(2)(iv)(c)(1) of the Commissioner’s Regulations, which requires New York State teacher education programs to become accredited by an acceptable accrediting organization.
Bank Street College of Education has applied for accreditation of its teacher education programs by Regents Accreditation of Teacher Education (RATE). The Summary of the Application for Accreditation, available in the Regents office, lists the registered programs leading to certification offered by the College.
Bank Street College of Education, an independent institution founded in 1916 by Lucy Sprague Mitchell as the Bureau of Educational Experiments, is located in the Morningside Heights section of Manhattan; most courses are conducted at 610 West 112th Street, while a second building at 132 Claremont Avenue (between 122nd and 123rd Streets) houses the Continuing Education and Institutional Advancement offices as well as additional classrooms, offices, and meeting space. The College's mission is to “improve the education of children and their teachers by applying to the educational process all available knowledge about learning and growth, and by connecting teaching and learning meaningfully to the outside world.”
The College’s Graduate School division houses the three departments that offer the institution’s programs that prepare candidates for State teacher and educational leadership certifications. The “Bank Street approach” focuses on child-centered education and on improving the quality of classroom instruction:
The Bank Street approach applies to education of people of all ages and in all learning environments: to adults such as teachers, administrators, and principals; to children in the classroom, home taught, and other; and to the community at large, through educational institutions and community-based organizations … The Bank Street approach, also known as the "developmental-interaction approach," focuses on child-centered education and improving the quality of classroom instruction….
The innovative nature of Bank Street is evident from its accomplishments: Bank Street helped create The Little Golden Book series, bringing opportunities for reading into the home at a low cost. It developed the Bank Street Readers, books for the classroom that focused on the lives of inner-city children. And Bank Street helped develop the national Head Start program.
The College is also unique in that its graduate school is dedicated solely to education and understanding ways in which children develop. Another unique feature is that faculty members do not hold professorial rank, nor is there a system of tenure; faculty and administrators (except for the president) are employed on the basis of annual contracts.
Accreditation Review Process
The RATE review process at Bank Street College consisted of the following steps:
- College prepared its Self Study;
- RATE team conducted the site visit;
- College responded to the site visit team's report;
- The Higher Education Subcommittee of the State Professional Standards and Practices Board for Teaching (PSPB) reviewed the site visit team report, the College's response, and the Department's preliminary recommendation; and
- The Senior Deputy Commissioner of Education reviewed the PSPB’s recommendation and all related materials.
The RATE team visited the College from October 14–17, 2007, as part of the accreditation review process. The team reviewed documents; visited classrooms; inspected facilities and resources; and interviewed administrators, department chairs and faculty, candidates and graduates, principals, and cooperating teachers. The team identified 13 discrete areas for improvement across 6 standards: Standards for Program Registration, Teaching Effectiveness of Graduates, Assessment of Candidate Achievement, Support Services, Advertising, and Candidate Complaints.
The RATE team noted the following strengths, among others:
- A coherent philosophy deeply informs all programs as well as interactions between and among candidates, faculty, administrators, and partners.
- Teacher preparation as well as various College centers, projects, and institutes reflect the institution's comprehensive commitment to the needs of children and families.
- Full-time and adjunct faculty members are highly experienced professionals with impressive community and field contributions and quality experiences in high-need schools. As a group, they are well matched to their teaching and advisory assignments and have distinguished themselves through publication and field, professional, and college service.
The primary areas for improvement identified by the RATE team related to the need to further align candidate and graduate assessment with RATE standards. As acknowledged by the College prior to the site visit, continuing work is also needed to better define the spans of the Early Childhood and Childhood Education curricula. In addition, the RATE team identified some technical compliance and administrative matters in need of follow up, including retention of candidate complaint data and consistency in recording committee deliberations, advising candidates, and evaluating adjunct faculty.
The College's response to the RATE team’s findings is summarized in the Summary of the Application for Accreditation.
Bank Street College’s previous teacher education accreditation term, as earned through the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), was valid through fall 2007. Since teacher education programs must maintain continuous accreditation, accreditation by the Board of Regents, if granted, will be retroactive to the final day of the RATE site visit, October 17, 2007, for a period beginning on that date and ending on October 16, 2014.
http://www.bankstreet.edu/aboutbsc/history.html (accessed January 4, 2008)