Teacher Preparation

N.Y. Regents’ Panel Proposes Stringent Teaching Standards

By Jessica L. Sandham — June 24, 1998 1 min read

Teachers, districts, and schools of education in New York state would all face stricter accountability measures under a plan proposed last week by the Regents Task Force on Teaching.

If approved by the majority of the state’s full, 16-member board of regents in July, the proposal would require that all new teachers obtain a master’s degree within their first two years in the classroom, and that all new teachers complete 175 hours of continuing education every five years.

The state would also begin phasing out temporary, or emergency, teacher licenses by 2003.

Districts, meanwhile, would be required to set up more stringent teacher evaluation processes and to plan professional-development activities for all teachers.

The proposal represents a major component of New York’s education reform agenda and “an effort to get the state’s teaching standards in line with its higher standards for students,” Commissioner of Education Richard P. Mills said in an interview last week.

The teacher-accountability measure would also raise the bar significantly for schools of education, requiring that at least 80 percent of education program graduates pass three different teacher-certification examinations to meet state accreditation requirements.

If the plan is adopted, New York would become one of the few states with comprehensive approaches to teacher education reform, said Fred Frelow, the director of urban initiatives at the New York City-based National Commission on Teaching & America’s Future.

Problems Ahead?

The five-member task force, made up of members of the state board, also proposed a package of financial and educational incentives to try to recruit certified teachers to teach in hard-to-staff districts, such as New York City.

But the 175-hour continuing education requirement could work against the state’s recruitment and retention efforts, said Antonia Cortese, the vice president of New York State United Teachers, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers.

While the union supports much of the task force’s proposal, Ms. Cortese said the continuing education requirement could prove particularly onerous for teachers with outside responsibilities. “A 175-hour requirement is three times higher than any other profession in New York state,” she said.

The state board was scheduled to debate the plan June 23. A vote on the measure is set for July

A version of this article appeared in the June 24, 1998 edition of Education Week as N.Y. Regents’ Panel Proposes Stringent Teaching Standards

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