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Board of Regents seeks to address NY’s teacher shortage

The New York State Board of Regents sought to address the state’s teacher shortage this week by lifting some of the requirements to teach all grades.

The new proposed literacy certificate would allow teachers to complete 50 hours of in-class teaching- versus the current 100 hours- to obtain a certification for teaching all grade levels.

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The Department of Education seeks to replace its current Literacy (Birth-Grade 6) and Literacy (Grades 5-12) certificates with one Literacy (All Grades) certificate.

The proposed certificate is now available for public comment for 45 days before the Board of Regents makes their final vote.

“Literacy is one of the persistent statewide shortage areas,” said the state Department of Education’s Higher Education Committee in its June 13 meeting report.

According to WTEN, New York’s student population is expected to grow by 61,000 over the next seven years, but enrollment in the state’s teacher programs has decreased by 49%.

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Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

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Jim Baldwin, New York’s Senior Deputy Commissioner for Education Policy, said the state’s teacher certification process is complex and has changed over time.

“So we’re really trying to respond to the field, respond to the conditions that our school districts are experiencing when it comes to being able to hire appropriately certified teachers and looking at each of the major certifications of teachers in New York,” explained Baldwin.

“What this ‘all grades literacy certificate’ will do is really provide teachers with an opportunity who are focused on the elementary grades to move into the middle and highschool grades if they choose to do so or vice versa.”

For more information, head to the NYSED Board of Regents webpage.

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