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New York State Certification
May 18, 2016

NYSUT says SUNY's top-down TeachNY report fails to address the real issues with teacher education

Source: NYSUT Media Relations

ALBANY, N.Y. May 18, 2016 — NYSUT President Karen E. Magee said a report released today by SUNY's TeachNY Advisory Council fails to adequately acknowledge the serious problems with teacher certification in New York State and is a distraction from the significant work underway led by Chancellor Betty Rosa and the Regents to systematically re-vision public education from pre-school through college.

"This report gives short shrift to the experience and voice of education professionals and repeats the failed top-down approach that wreaked such havoc on public education in New York State," Magee said. "An essential lesson from the disastrous 'test-and-punish regime' is the importance of listening to those on the front lines about what's needed to strengthen public education and the teaching profession. This report fails that test."

NYSUT Vice President Catalina Fortino, who is the union's liaison to the Board of Regents, said: "In concert with United University Professions, we believe this report falls short by failing to recognize the Regents' efforts to correct the flaws in the state's certification process, the resulting teacher shortages and the lack of diversity in teacher education programs. The report's recommendations are built on the shifting quicksand of the state's widely repudiated evaluation system, instead of following the lead of Chancellor Betty Rosa and the Board of Regents who are working with parents and educators in forging a positive new vision for public education." Fortino said the SUNY report also lacks appropriate acknowledgment of the excellent work of its own teacher education faculty.

UUP and NYSUT had participated in early work on the report but withdrew their names in March 29 and May 6 letters to SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher. NYSUT's Higher Education Council, which includes UUP, the Professional Staff Congress at CUNY and community college leaders from around the state, has put forward strong, positive recommendations for entry to the teaching profession.

UUP's analysis identifies several specific problems with the SUNY report.

New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.

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