Press Release: Regents Prepare to Transform Teacher Preparation

For Immediate Release November 16, 2009

For More Information Contact:

Tom Dunn, Jonathan Burman or Jane Briggs at (518) 474-1201


In Albany today the New York State Board of Regents took the first in a series of steps to strengthen the preparation and practice of teaching, with a specific emphasis on providing high needs schools with the best teaching faculty possible. The Regents are authorizing the development of a performance-based approach to teacher certification and inviting – on a trial basis – new entities to prepare teachers for certification. As part of this new approach, the Regents will support the development of new performance-based assessments for teacher certification (including the eventual use of value-added assessment as a component of professional certification), will develop new methods to recruit and retain teachers for high needs schools in subject shortage areas and will allow additional content knowledge demonstrations for prospective teachers to bring new talent into the teaching field.

Other key strategies are also under development to transform struggling schools, create a comprehensive P-16 data system, raise standards, and strengthen assessments. Together these strategies are intended to improve student performance, close achievement gaps, and raise graduation rates for students across the State. These strategies will be included in the State’s application for Race to The Top funding.

“Teacher quality is the single most important variable in student achievement,” said Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch. “The Regents are committed to putting effective teachers in front of all our students and today have begun to create a 21st century model for teacher development.”

“These are exciting first steps toward an ambitious education reform agenda in New York State,” said Education Commissioner David M. Steiner. “Preparing new teachers well and bringing excellent teachers to the children that need them most are essential parts of a strategy to ensure that each and every child achieves the knowledge and skills they need for higher education, the global economy of the 21st century and a lifetime of learning.”

Specifically, the Regents discussed recommendations to change teacher preparation that included:

Authorizing colleges and universities, cultural institutions, research centers, non-profit organizations, and others – on the basis of an RFP process – to certify teachers for placement in high needs schools through clinically based pilot programs.

An expedited pathway to encourage scientists, engineers, and mathematicians with doctoral degrees or Master’s degrees with higher education teaching experience to teach in our State’s high needs high schools.

New incentives to recruit and retain teachers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) areas in high needs schools. Effective teachers in high needs schools certified in a STEM discipline (or teachers of English language learners or students with disabilities supporting teachers in STEM disciplines) would be eligible to receive as much as a $30,000 total bonus over the course of five years.

Creating transparent data profiles of teacher preparation institutions.

Putting in place performance-based assessments for initial certification and again for professional certification in the careers of new teachers.

Allowing secondary-level certification applicants to use alternative means to demonstrate content-knowledge with work experience and acceptable rigorous examinations in combination with undergraduate/graduate level coursework.

The proposed strategies have been informed by the work of the Board of Regents Workgroup on Strengthening Teaching in Urban Settings, the Higher Education Workgroup, and other State and national education leaders.

The Regents will consider further recommendations at their December meeting to strengthen the preparation of educational leaders as well as their professional development.

The full discussion item considered by the Regents today is available on-line: (Word) or (HTML)

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New York State Board of Regents

The State Education Department / The University of the State of New York / Albany, NY 12234

Office of Communications / (518) 474-1201

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