The following appears in the Oct. 13, 2014 edition of City & State magazine. The PDF version is available to download and distribute.
Q: Who do you trust to do what's best for New York's students?
That was the number one answer given in a recent Times Union/Siena College poll of
upstate New Yorkers. The public trusts teachers more than anyone else when it comes to
putting their students' interests first.
And they should.
New York's public school teachers are consistently rated among the best and most highly
educated teachers in the nation. They face a demanding uphill climb to earn the right to
teach our children. Aspiring teachers must earn a college degree, complete a minimum of
40 days of student teaching, and pass multiple certification exams. They must pass rigorous
background checks and successfully complete required training on child abuse prevention,
school violence issues and ensuring the dignity of all students.
That only gains them an initial certification to teach. They must then also complete additional courses. Have a mentor for one year. Succeed as a classroom teacher for three years
before being eligible for due process rights. And earn a master's degree within five years.
Teachers must also complete 175 hours of professional development every five years to
maintain their certification.
Few states require as much of their public school teachers as New York does.
No wonder New York state is widely recognized for its exemplary teaching force and earns
high marks for its rigorous standards and credentialing requirements - typically ranking
among the nation's top ten.
You are right to trust your teachers, New York. They've earned it.