Chancellor Zimpher, Commissioner Elia Announce Historic Partnership To Address New York’s Teaching Shortage

May 18, 2016

TeachNY Campaign To Promote the Profession, Expand Clinical Preparation, Generate Investment

SUNY & SED Launch Statewide Listening Tour To Receive Feedback from Teachers, School Leaders, College Faculty & Administrators

Albany – State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher and State Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia today announced an historic partnership to address New York’s teaching shortage through the transformation of teacher preparation. Launching TeachNY today in Albany, they unveiled the findings of the TeachNY Advisory Council—a distinguished group of state and national thought leaders convened by SUNY—and launched a listening tour to receive feedback from teachers and school leaders as well as college faculty and administrators throughout the state.

Informed by the report, TeachNY will be a campaign to promote the teaching profession while also improving the state’s delivery of teacher preparation programs by expanding clinical practice, generating investment for professional development that spans the career of a teacher, and creating regional councils to ensure future teachers will meet projected demand. Following the campaign, Chancellor Zimpher and a Provost’s Steering Committee will recommend a new SUNY policy to its Board of Trustees.

“We know that excellently trained teachers are the number one in-school factor for student success, and so we must create a system through which every student, without exception, has access to great teaching,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher, who began her career as a teacher and is a national expert in the field of teacher preparation. “As New York and the nation face a massive teacher shortage, there is no time to waste. By lifting up the teaching profession and transforming the way we not only prepare – but continually support – teachers, TeachNY will ensure that New York has the cadre of high quality teachers that our state and our students deserve going forward.”

“Study after study confirms what we already know from common sense – a good teacher is absolutely critical to student success in the classroom,” said Commissioner Elia. “So I am thrilled that the TeachNY Advisory Council has come up with a set of concrete recommendations to improve the ways in which we prepare teachers. I am equally thrilled that practitioners around the state will have a chance to weigh in on the recommendations. Of course, many of the recommendations will require regulatory action by the Board of Regents before they are implemented, but the historic partnership we’re announcing today is an essential first step to increasing the pool of highly successful teachers in New York.”

TeachNY represents an unprecedented partnership between SUNY and SED to collectively address a significant and growing teacher shortage. According to the Advisory Council’s report, which is available online, New York’s need for teachers will grow by 5.8 percent by 2022, or an average of 1,700 teachers per year. Nationally, approximately 1.6 million teachers will be needed in the next decade. Zimpher and Elia stressed the importance of producing effective, high-quality teachers to close the gap.

The Advisory Council’s report asserts that the most successful teachers are content-area experts as well as pedagogical masters, and outlines strategies for schools, colleges, and communities continue to collectively produce such teachers. Key findings from the report and proposed TeachNY actions announced today include:

  • Launch a Public Service Campaign to Promote the Teaching Profession: A number of factors have contributed to a 40 percent enrollment drop in New York’s teacher preparation programs since 2009-10. Through a public service campaign, TeachNY will aim to instill a renewed sense of pride in the profession.  
  • Improve and disseminate educator-labor market data: In an effort to better match graduates with the teaching needs of New York’s school districts, enrolled students and faculty could be provided with labor supply and demand projections. SUNY and SED will create regional advisory boards to ensure current and emerging needs are communicated and will seek to partner with the state and federal Departments of Labor on their establishment.
  • Recruit a diverse pool of excellent teachers: Approximately 82 percent of the current U.S. teacher force identifies as white and that figure hasn’t changed significantly in the past 15 years. However, by 2024, students of color will comprise 56 percent of the student population. Teacher Recruitment Academies could be established in selected Early College High Schools in each of the state’s economic development regions to attract qualified, diverse high school students into teaching careers.
  • Enhance high-needs recruitment through an Urban-Rural Teacher Corps: Schools with the highest need for excellent teachers face financial constraints and often struggle to maintain consistent staffing, two significant factors that impact student success. SUNY proposes to work with selected communities on the creation of an Urban-Rural Teacher Corps to recruit and support teachers who appreciate and are dedicated to the special needs of these schools.
  • Increase clinical experiences for pre-service teachers: New teachers report that a focus on teaching practice through clinical experiences is the most valuable aspect of their in-college preparation. To broaden this experience and limit “learning on the job,” SUNY proposes to pilot a clinical demonstration lab in the Capital District that connects existing labs throughout its campuses and increases access to clinical experiences such as microteaching, virtual simulation, and live classroom experience for pre-service teachers.
  • Incentivize public schools to host teachers-in-training: Similar to a teaching hospital’s obligation for residencies, New York can incentivize public schools to receive and train pre-service teachers through an established funding structure. Closer collaboration between K-12 and higher education would spur a greater understanding of teacher expectations throughout their career, broaden awareness of current best practices to in-school professionals, and ultimately lead to less teacher attrition. 
  • Create a career ladder to signal and reward professional milestones: As is customary in fields such as law and medicine, TeachNY will aim to support a pre-service teacher’s maturation through the profession by acknowledging and rewarding teachers as specific milestones are achieved, such as completion of exams and certifications, job placement, and master teacher status.
  • Create a continuum of professional development and advancement, and increase National Board Certification: Less than 1 percent of New York’s public school teachers are certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching, the profession’s standard for accomplished teaching. With increased support and development services for teachers at every stage and compensatory incentives throughout their maturation, New York State can improve its current 42nd ranking among states for Board-certified teachers.

About the New York State Education Department
The New York State Education Department is part of the University of the State of New York (USNY), one of the most complete, interconnected systems of educational services in the United States. Its mission is to raise the knowledge, skill, and opportunity of all the people in New York. Its vision is to provide leadership for a system that yields the best educated people in the world. For more information, visit www.nysed.gov.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, with 64 college and university campuses located within 30 miles of every home, school and business in the state. In 2015-16, SUNY served nearly 1.3 million students, including nearly 600,000 in credit bearing courses and programs and more than 700,000 through continuing education and community outreach programs. SUNY students and faculty across the state make significant contributions to research and discovery, resulting in nearly $1 billion of externally-sponsored activity each year. There are 3 million SUNY alumni worldwide and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree are SUNY alumni. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit www.suny.edu.


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