The Honorable the Members of the Board of Regents



Johanna Duncan-Poitier


James A. Kadamus



Mathematics Teachers in New York City


January 6, 2006


Goal 1






Issue for Discussion


National shortages in teaching areas such as mathematics and sciences have put a significant strain on hard-to-staff school districts ability to employ certified teachers in these subjects. Having eliminated the use of temporary licenses in New York State, and created additional pathways to increase the teaching pool, the educational community still must address the issue of teachers teaching subjects in which they are not appropriately certified.


Preliminary data for the New York City school district indicates that 679 teachers without certification in mathematics are teaching math. Larger high schools tend to have the largest number of teachers who are not specifically certified in the math, who are teaching this subject. They are certified in another subject, and are not disproportionately assigned in the low performing high schools.


Both short-term and long-term solutions to the teaching shortages are needed, as well as the active involvement of the higher education community, the business community, the Governor and Legislature, and the K-12 community. 


Reason(s) for Consideration


For information

Proposed Handling


This issue will again come before the Regents EMSC-VESID and Higher Education and Professional Practice Committees for further discussion.


Procedural History


Since 2000, the Board of Regents has taken aggressive steps to ensure that all students have access to qualified teachers to assist them in meeting the Regents Learning Standards.  Highlights include:


                 The use of temporarily licensed teachers has been eliminated.

                 The Regents have created multiple pathways of teacher preparation to ensure that all highly qualified individuals can enter the teaching profession in an expeditious way.

                 Significant resources, including IDEA funds and Teachers of Tomorrow grants, have been targeted toward helping school districts recruit, prepare, and retain teachers in subjects with shortages.

                 The Department was awarded two federal grants totaling $3.4 million to support the graduate study of 800 new Teaching Fellows at six independent colleges. The funds helped preparing Teaching Fellows in subjects with shortages.

                 The Regents and the Department have helped school districts with recruitment efforts through Call to Teaching forums, Web resources, brochures, career fairs, and through other communications.

                 All 114 colleges and universities with teacher education programs modified their programs to meet the new Regents standards.  All college programs are now working to achieve accreditation.

                 The first teachers prepared according to the new Regents standards graduated in May 2004.  An independent evaluation of the impact of the Regents teaching policy on student learning is now underway. The report of baseline findings will be presented to the Board of Regents this month.


Background Information


Initiatives to ensure all students have access to qualified teachers have had an impact - especially in New York City. Four years ago, the Department issued over 14,000 temporary teaching licenses to the New York City School District. Without the possibility of employing an uncertified person under a temporary license, school districts have used the various alternative routes that the Board of Regents has created. Over 6,000 individuals have been certified and employed as teachers in New York City through the New York City Teaching Fellows Program which was built upon the Regents alternative teacher preparation program. 




To help address the lack of certified teachers in certain shortage area subjects, short-term, Chancellor Klein has identified specific initiatives designed to ensure that all math classes will be taught by teachers certified in mathematics by the beginning of the 2007-08 school year. These initiatives include the reassignment of teachers certified in mathematics,  massive recruitment efforts including the recruitment of certified teachers from other states, possible signing bonuses or housing allowances, expand the math immersion program, expand linkages with the business community and continue a major publicity campaign to encourage certified teachers to convert to a certificate area that is deemed to be a shortage area-using the new supplementary certificate created by the Regents. Many of these initiatives can be accomplished by the NYCDOE independently, some will require Regents action and others legislative action.


Possible steps the Board of Regents and the State Education Department can take:


1) To increase the pool of teachers from neighboring states who enter the teaching profession in NYS, consider modification of the teaching policy on reciprocity for certified shortage area subject teachers.


2) Advocate with the Governor and Legislature on a legislative proposal to enable a limited number of retired teachers certified in acute shortage subject areas, to re-enter the workforce without a pension penalty. This would provide an immediate supply of qualified teachers.


3) Assess the supplementary certification requirements to determine if there are ways in which more certified teachers would be interested in second certification in a shortage subject area.


 4) Continue to work with all sectors of the higher education community to increase the number of math and science candidates interested in pursuing the teaching profession. This will include advocating for increased scholarships and fellowships to support the undergraduate and graduate education for math and science teachers in New York.


5) The Department will work with leaders of the New York City Department of Education, higher education, and the business community to maximize the collective resources of all partners to develop both long-term and short-term solutions to shortages of teachers in critical areas.


6) Work with the NYCDOE to place greater emphasis on addressing teacher retention issues in NYC schools (i.e. workplace environment, staff development, mentoring, etc). This could significantly reduce the need for new teachers.


7) The Department will continue to work with the business community on various projects such as IBMs transition to Teaching for its employees interested in teaching in the fields of mathematics and sciences.


8) After reviewing relevant data and engaging with local educators, the Regents could set a date certain by which, statewide, all teachers who are teaching math must be certified in the subject. The same process could be used in other vital subjects, such as science. Through its earlier reforms, the Regents used this same process in deciding on the elimination of uncertified teachers statewide.




Timetable for Implementation

The remainder of the 2005-06 and 2006-07 school years.