Washington, D.C. – State
University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher today, along with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and other national
education leaders, announced the findings of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Clinical Preparation and Partnerships for Improved
Student Learning, convened by NCATE – The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Eight states,
including New York, have agreed to implement the panel's recommendations.
Chancellor Zimpher served as co-chair of the panel along with Colorado Commissioner of Education Dwight Jones.
"This was an historic coming together of major stakeholders to make excellent programs the norm in teacher education," said Chancellor Zimpher. "Teaching, like medicine,
is a profession of practice. Making clinical preparation the centerpiece of teacher education will transform the way we prepare teachers, and I am looking
forward to working with my colleagues in higher education to implement the panel's recommendations."
This new vision of preparation will require the development of partnerships with school districts in which teacher education becomes a shared responsibility between P-12 schools
and higher education. The changes will also require state higher education officials, governors, and state education commissioners to remove policy barriers and create policy supports for the new vision of teacher education.
Chancellor Zimpher emphasized that SUNY will waste no time in taking up the reforms advocated in the NCATE report in partnership with the State Education Department and local school districts across the state.
"SUNY produces more teachers than any other institution in New York State--nearly 5,000 each year--and so we have both a responsibility and a tremendous capacity
to move the dial on teacher preparation," Zimpher said. "These recommendations provide us with a powerful roadmap to give all students what they need most to in order to succeed, and that is excellent teachers."
State Education Commissioner David Steiner, who, along with Chancellor Zimpher will lead New York's participation in the NCATE Alliance, said, "The Regents fundamentally believe
that the single most critical factor in ensuring high quality education and closing the performance gap for students is the presence of highly qualified teachers in the classroom. The Regents have already taken significant steps
toward increasing the effectiveness of teachers through authorizing pilot programs for a clinically rich teacher preparation program beginning in the Fall of 2011. We are delighted to see the NCATE recommendations are
consistent with the Regents Reform Agenda."
In addition to New York, California, Colorado, Louisiana, Maryland, Ohio, Oregon, and Tennessee have agreed to implement the panel's recommendations, which include:
- Cultivating an intense focus on developing teaching practice and P-12 student learning, making clinical practice the
centerpiece of the curriculum and interweaving opportunities for teaching experience with academic content and professional courses. Online and video
demonstrations must be expanded, as should case-study analysis and additional approaches widely used in other professional fields. The Panel says that
candidates need to work directly with students in schools as they analyze problems, try out solutions, and gain feedback. Teachers need to be prepared to
use research-based developmentally appropriate strategies, assess student progress, and change practice as appropriate for the purpose of improving
student learning and meeting students' developmental needs.
- Ensuring higher education and school districts share accountability and responsibility with P-12 schools playing a more
significant role in designing preparation programs, selecting candidates, assessing candidate performance and progress, and placing them in clinical
experiences. For example, current state laws often require that teacher preparation faculty sign off on candidate qualifications and completion of clinical
experiences. The Panel says that evaluation of candidate effectiveness needs to be a shared responsibility, with accountability closer to the classroom.
- Helping teacher-training programs attract more academically prepared and more diverse cohorts of students.
- Shifting the reward structure in academe and P-12 schools' staffing models to value learning to teach, and to support placing clinical practice at the center of teacher preparation. The
current practice of supervision of student teachers in schools now is typically assigned to a teacher as extra work, usually with no training, support, or
changes in schedule. Schools need to adopt a new staffing model patterned after medical preparation, in which teachers, mentors and coaches, and teacher interns and residents work together as part of teams.
- Strengthening oversight by states and accreditation agencies, and ensuring preparation programs become more accountable for meeting school needs and improving P-12 student
- Making sure states help ensure that future teachers are prepared to fill the staffing needs of P-12 schools by creating disincentives for schools of education that prepare
teachers in specialties that are not in demand.
- Gaining support from Federal agencies to support a clearly defined research agenda to document and provide evidence of the impact of practices in clinical preparation on teacher effectiveness. The
Panel's recommendations are consistent with a recent report of the National Research Council which notes that clinical preparation is one of three areas most promising for potential increases in teacher effectiveness in the
The findings of the NCATE panel also dovetail with SUNY's strategic plan, The Power of SUNY, a key aspect of which is the impact the State University can have
on improving New York's education system "from cradle through career."
Prior to leading SUNY, Chancellor Zimpher maintained a strong track record as a leader of effective collaborative educational partnerships – a model SUNY is committed to adopting
in New York. As President of the University of Cincinnati, she co-founded the STRIVE program, a partnership among a broad spectrum of
community stakeholders to improve student success and graduation rates. STRIVE's success has received national recognition and is now being replicated in communities across the nation.
A copy of the report is available here.
About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive university system in the United States, educating nearly 465,000 students in more than 7,500 degree and certificate
programs on 64 campuses with over 2.4 million alumni around the globe. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit www.suny.edu