New York Teacher Standards Stress Knowledge of Child Development

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After three years of discussion, the New York State Board of Regents has adopted new requirements for teacher certification that place greater emphasis on applicants' knowledge of developmental patterns in early childhood and adolescence.

The new regulations, which are scheduled to take effect in September 1993, establish three categories of teachers: prekindergarten through 3rd grade, kindergarten through 6th grade, and grades 7 through 12.

Teachers will have to know how to meet the needs of children in those age groups with developmentally appropriate instruction, as well as how to work with minority, limited-English-proficient, handicapped, and gifted students.

In addition, prospective teachers must pass a general-knowledge examination in the liberal arts and sciences, and tests of their clinical teaching skills and knowledge of their area of specialization.

The new regulations, adopted last6month, require teachers to take one year of a foreign language in college and complete a supervised internship.

The board did not specify how schools of education must meet the regulations and did not recommend a specific number of required credits in any subject.

Commissioner of Education Thomas Sobol said in a statement that leaving the implementation of the regulations up to the schools would "encourage higher institutions and the schools with which they cooperate to find the best approaches to teacher preparation."

"Fundamental change" is needed to rectify inequities in the way North Carolina funds its schools, a coalition of state and local officials and business leaders has argued.

While many local officials "deserve praise for their efforts to support local schools," the report issued last month by the Public School Forum of North Carolina says, they often lack the resources to provide an "adequate level" of school funding.

Local school spending in the state ranges from more than $3,600 per student to less than $300, the study notes.

Local-option sales-tax measures enacted by the legislature in 1983 and 1986 have helped to narrow the gap between poor and affluent communities, according to the report. But it adds that the high cost of welfare programs in some poor, rural counties has "dramatically increased'' disparities in districts' ability to fund schools.

The report shows "the inability of many poor North Carolina counties to support adequately a quality school program even when they tax their citizens at a high rate," said John Dornan, president of the group.

Copies of the report are available for $5 each from the Public School Forum of North Carolina, 400 Oberlin Road, Suite 220, Raleigh, N.C. 27605.

Vol. 08, Issue 37

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