Ny Regents Approve Safety Net For Teaching Hopefuls

04.30.14 | Bill Price

New York’s education policymakers on Tuesday agreed to temporarily ease certification requirements for new teachers, after a number of colleges and labor unions publicly raised concerns about a new exam.

The state Board of Regents unanimously voted to allow teaching hopefuls who fail New York’s new teacher performance assessment -- known as the edTPA -- to receive their initial five-year certification, but only if they pass a separate written examination.

The eased requirements would only be in effect for those who take the exam before the end of June 2015, according to the new regulations approved by the Regents. The board also approved the creation of a taskforce to review the handbook and review materials for the edTPA and recommend ways to improve it.

“The edTPA is a high-quality exam that has been adopted by 34 states and the District of Columbia, and we are very excited about its potential here in New York,” the resolution approved by the Regents reads. “We know, however, that some faculty members at schools of education are again asking for more time to ensure strong implementation of this video-based portfolio approach.”

The edTPA will be required as a certification requirement for the first time in May and was crafted as part of federal Race to the Top education funding granted to the state. The portfolio-style exam requires prospective teachers to provide video of them teaching a series of lessons, in addition to a written portion based on Common Core education standards.

Prominent state lawmakers and unions, including New York State United Teachers, had been critical of the implementation of the exam and pressured the Education Department to delay it, though state Education Commissioner John King has defended the support his department has provided.

“We’ve raised the bar for the teaching profession and at the same time we’ve ensured a smooth transition for teachers who have worked so hard to join the profession,” King said in a statement Tuesday.