Letter from the SUNY Deans of Education to the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York

My fellow and sister Deans of Education in the SUNY system sent the following letter in response to the SUNY Charter Schools Institute’s plans to permit teachers with virtually no qualifications to be appointed as “certified” teachers.

See below the letter for links to the regulation change and a public comment link where you can register your own thoughts about this damaging plan.

 

July 27, 2017

 

Members of the Board of Trustees

The State University of New York

State University Plaza

Albany New York 12246

Dear Colleagues:

We, the Deans and Directors of Education Programs in the State University of New York (SUNY) system, write to strenuously object to the SUNY Charter Schools Institute’s recent action to virtually eliminate teacher certification requirements for charter school teachers.  We call on the SUNY Charter Schools Institute to rescind the proposal and for Chancellor Zimpher and the entire Board of Trustees to speak out against these changes and take action to repeal them. This extreme measure essentially proposes to address the lack of qualified teachers in some charter schools by certifying unqualified teachers, and thus it has negative consequences for all teachers and the education profession across New York State.

The regulation change allows anyone with a bachelor’s degree to earn state teacher certification without broad and rich intellectual stimulation from education faculty, without taking appropriate coursework or completing an adequate number of field experience hours, without demonstrating adequate content knowledge, without student teaching, and without demonstrating the ability to teach effectively according to any standardized measure.

The regulation is proposed as a corrective to the difficulty of hiring highly-qualified teachers in SUNY-operated charter schools.  However, every child in New York State deserves a highly-qualified teacher, which means every teacher should earn certification through an accredited, rigorous teacher education program. It is entirely inappropriate to lower the standards for teachers because charter schools are finding it difficult to hire certified teachers, and is entirely unfair to the students in their charge. Creating a cadre of underqualified teachers is misguided, shortsighted, and harmful to the state’s children as well as to the profession of teaching.

It is particularly disconcerting that this lowering of standards for the state’s teachers is brought forth by the very institution that recently adopted TeachNY, a highly-rigorous and expansive set of policies for teacher education programs. These resolutions were widely and carefully considered statements of the importance and complexity of teaching, and of the necessity of rigorous, comprehensive, and accountable teacher preparation.  This misguided alteration proposed by the SUNY Charter Schools Institute flies in the face of the Board of Trustees’ resolutions on teacher preparation, ignoring their efforts to advance the profession in consistency, rigor, and transparency.

If SUNY and its leadership truly believe in the principles of TeachNY, they cannot undercut professional teacher certification by opening a “backdoor” to unqualified teachers. Teacher certification regulations can always benefit from continuous improvement, but creating a far less rigorous “backdoor” pathway for one special interest is dangerous and unacceptable.

We, the Deans and Directors of Education in SUNY, respectfully call upon our Chancellor, members of the Board of Trustees, and the SUNY Charter Schools Institute to speak out against and reject this inappropriate and extremely damaging proposed regulation.

Sincerely,

The Deans and Directors of SUNY Education Programs

Robert Bangert-Drowns Jan Bowers Nancy Brown
University at Albany SUNY Oneonta SUNY College at Old Westbury
Walter J. Conley Stephen Danna Christine Givner
SUNY Potsdam SUNY Plattsburgh – Queensbury SUNY Fredonia
Thomas Hernandez Andrea LaChance Ken Lindblom
SUNY Brockport SUNY Cortland Stony Brook University
Natalie Lukas Pamela Michel Candace Mulcahy
SUTEC SUNY Oswego Binghamton University
Wendy Paterson Michael S. Rosenberg Suzanne Rosenblith
Buffalo State College SUNY New Paltz University of Buffalo
Anjoo Sikka

SUNY Geneseo

Nathan E. Gonyea

Empire State College

Denise Simard

SUNY Plattsburgh

For More Information:

The public comment period ends on September 9
Comments can be submitted to
Ralph A. Rossi II, SUNY Charter Schools Institute, 41 State Street, Suite 700, Albany, New York 12207, (518) 455-4250
They can be submitted via e-mail to charters@suny.edu

Submit via hard copy and e-mail.

The SUNY charter school proposal is available at the following link:
http://www.newyorkcharters.org/wp-content/uploads/102263_1.pdf

The public comment notice is posted in the July 26 NYS Register at the following link. It begins at the bottom of page 23.
https://docs.dos.ny.gov/info/register/2017/july26/Rule%20Making.pdf