Thursday, October 20, 2016

A Bandage on a Wound

As they say, there's good news and bad news from Albany this week. The good news is that the Regents voted on an extension of teacher certification safety nets for the Content Specialty Tests as well as a change in the policy on the safety nets. 19 of the 41 CST exams have been revised, and another 14 are coming next month. It's no longer required to take the new exam, fail, and take and pass the old exam. The dates for extension of these safety net policies vary depending on the exam so be sure to read the fine print here. Good luck understanding some of the tangled jargon: 

This safety net for those previously revised CSTs will expire on June 30, 2017.  These safety nets will expire before the safety net for the newly revised tests (those being released in November 2016) because those students and institutions have already had time to prepare for the revised exams since those examinations will have been operational for over two years when the safety net expires.

It's appropriate that the metaphor here is a safety net because making your way through to certification is akin to a high wire trapeze act.

The bad news is that we still don't know what the outcome will be on the work of the edTPA task force, and our future teachers are still feeling the pain. Take 9 minutes and listen to the voices of these people at SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College speaking to Regent Cashin and others at a recent forum.

The other bad news is that all that has really happened is the problems with the tests and the process of becoming a teacher in New York State have been kicked down the road without a vision for a real solution. Pearson continues to profit on problematic tests. Cuomo's victory in requiring a 3.0 GPA and normed test for admission to teacher education programs is still in place, and is still going to cause precipitous drops in enrollment. Legislative action is our only hope. Please, write to your representatives and Regents and implore them to do something. They have been listening, but they need your input and advice.