ALBANY, N.Y. -- Facing a looming teacher shortage, the state Education Department plans to loosen regulations and make it easier to enter the profession.
The state Board of Regents on Tuesday said it will reform ways to get a teaching certificate in New York as a way to bolster the teaching ranks amid what the state estimates could be a need for as many as 180,000 new teachers in the next decade.
“The Regents continue to take important steps to ensure the quality of our teaching force,” MaryEllen Elia, the state education commissioner, said in a statement.
"New York is facing a shortage of qualified teachers in specific subject areas and in many parts of the state. Today’s action strikes the right balance by providing fairness to those seeking to become teachers, while maintaining some of the most rigorous certification requirements in the country.”
New York has nearly 8,600 fewer active educators than it did five years ago, a review by the USA Today Network's Albany Bureau found last month. The issue is compounded by a 50 percent drop in SUNY students majoring in education, the review of state records found.
So here's three ways New York plans to change the process to get a teaching certificate:
Since May 2014, the state Education Department required an edTPA test to get a teacher certification. The test is "a subject-specific, multi-measure performance assessment," the Education Department said.
The regulations required a passing score of 41 on the edTPA exam.
A task force recommended a passing score of 40 implemented after a four-year phase in -- which the Board of Regents approved Tuesday. The passing score will start at 38 next year.
If a teacher can't get a passing score on the exam, but can provide "compelling evidence that a candidate is ready to teach," the new regulations would allow for alternatives to getting a teaching certificate.
The Board of Regents in June implemented a "multiple measures review process" that could led to certification.
On Tuesday, a change was made: To be eligible for the review process, a teaching student would have to fall within two points below the new passing score; have a minimum GPA of 3.0; and pass all other exams required for the teaching certificate.
The "Safety Net"
Current regulations let students who fail the edTPA exam to take and pass an "Assessment of Teaching Skills – Written" (ATS-W) in its place.
On Tuesday, the state said the alternative test will be available until June 30, 2018, even as it transitions to the new passing scores on the edTPA.
The changes are separate from ones being considered by the SUNY Board of Trustees to scale back the requirements for charter-school teachers -- a measure being opposed by the Education Department and the teacher's union. SUNY regulates most charter schools.
How to comment
The Board of Regents changes were implemented immediately on an "emergency basis," Elia said.
But public comments will be taken on the new regulations through Nov. 13 by emailing REGCOMMENTS@nysed.gov.
After the public-comment period, the Board of Regents is expected to adopt the measures as a permanent rule in December.
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