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April Regents Actions – Teacher Certification Flexibility


CEOs/Presidents of Institutions of Higher Education with Teacher Preparation Programs; Deans and Directors of Teacher Education Programs
New York City Department of Education; District Superintendents
Superintendents of Public Schools; Nonpublic School Superintendents
Administrators of Charter Schools; School Personnel Administrators
New York State United Teachers; United Federation of Teachers
Commissioner’s Advisory Panel for Special Education Services
Other Interested Parties

From: Joseph P. Frey, Deputy Commissioner of the Office of Higer Education

April 14, 2010


Update and Request for Feedback on Certification Structure for Special Education Teachers

  Update and Request for Feedback on Certification Structure for Special Education Teachers PDF (100KB)

Over the past three years the Department has sought your feedback regarding special education teacher certification issues several times.  You have been very generous with your time and thoughts in providing the Department with recommendations.  I would like to update you on the current status of the issue. As you know, the State is facing a shortage of special education teachers at the adolescence level.  This shortage requires that we revise the current special education certification structure.  The Board of Regents has been discussing this issue since 2007 and provided conceptual agreement at its March 2010 meeting to move forward with the following recommendations:

  1. Retain the current structure of the Birth to Grade 2 Early Childhood and Grade 1 to Grade 6 Childhood certificate for teachers of students with disabilities (SWD). 
  1. Eliminate the 5-9 teachers of SWD Generalist and Content Specialist certificates.
  1. Ensure that there is flexibility and appropriate pathways for SWD teachers to qualify for moving from one developmental level to another through the use of extensions and supplemental certificates.
  1. Require institutions offering SWD Transitional B programs to ensure that their graduates have the requisite skills to teach students with disabilities. Performance-based assessment requirements, developed in conjunction with the development of statewide teaching standards, will be used to evaluate whether these graduates are meeting the expectations of the standards, holding the entities offering such programs accountable.   The performance-based assessment will provide the means for assessing whether program graduates have acquired the necessary knowledge and skills to promote the achievement of all their students.
  1. Create a 7-12 Generalist certificate for SWD teachers. Allow the 7-12 Generalist to meet additional academic requirements (not mandated) to be prepared to take on a greater academic role for students with disabilities. The proposed SWD Adolescence Generalist certificate preparation would include completion of a multidisciplinary core of 6 - 9 credits in each of four core subjects (English, mathematics, science, and social studies) coupled with both the completion of a general education core in the liberal arts and sciences and the pedagogical core. Most candidates will also have completed a major in one of the core subjects. The SWD Adolescence Generalist will need to take a newly developed CST in the core subjects required for the certification.  This test will be rigorous and ensure that the teacher has sufficient core subject knowledge aligned with the expectations of the Regents.  The duties (special class teacher versus consultant teacher services) of a teacher holding this certificate would vary depending on the teacher’s content area expertise.
  1. Support increased collaboration between general and special education. Collaboration is particularly critical for SWD Adolescence Generalist teachers engaged to teach a special class, where academic content area expertise is essential for student success.  The ultimate goal is to develop collaborative relationships that will increase student performance and help close the achievement gap.
  1. Increase special education pedagogy for all teacher preparation programs to better prepare general education teachers to teach in an inclusive classroom and to collaborate with their special education colleagues to meet the needs of SWDs in their classrooms.   As the education community moves toward greater inclusion, general education teachers need an improved foundation in working with students with disabilities

I encourage you to read the entire MARCH 2010 Regents item Joint Meeting on HE/EMSC/VESID: Students with Disabilities Teacher Certification . I also ask you to provide us with feedback regarding recommendations 5 – 7 and potential regulatory changes for teacher preparation programs. Please complete the survey found at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/7PW6DNZ. This is a one page survey which should take 2-3 minutes and must be completed by May 17, 2010. If the link does not work, copy and paste it into your Web browser.  Thank you for taking the time to provide this feedback to the Department.

It is expected that the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education would be revised September 2010 and that by June 2011, colleges would need to reregister their programs to come into compliance with such changes.
Last Updated: March 10, 2014