State Proposes Changes To Teacher Preparation Programs

The state Education Department is proposing regulatory changes that would require teacher preparation programs in certain subject areas to dedicate at least three of the currently required six semester hours in language acquisition and literacy development to language acquisition and literacy development of English language learners.

The revision would apply to registered programs beginning on Sept. 1, 2022.

“We need to support our Multilingual and English language learners and provide them with equity and access to instruction that will help them thrive,” said Betty A. Rosa, Regents chancellor. “Courses in language acquisition and literacy development will help young teachers meet the particular needs of these students and build on the success we are seeing in New York’s ELL programs.”

A three-semester hour course would address topics such as ELL instructional needs, co-teaching strategies, and integrating language and content instruction for ELLs. Teacher preparation programs affected by this revision prepare teachers of:

¯ early childhood education, childhood education, middle childhood education, and adolescence education;

¯ teachers of students with disabilities, students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, students who are blind or visually impaired, and students with speech and language disabilities;

¯ teachers of English to speakers of other languages; and

¯ library media specialists.

To provide teacher preparation programs with sufficient time to align their program requirements with the proposed amendment, the revision would apply to registered programs beginning on Sept. 1, 2022.

“Teachers make a difference in the lives of their students every day, and it’s critical that we ensure that they enter the classroom with training and knowledge to help all our students realize their full potential,” said Mary Ellen Elia, state education commissioner. “Future teachers need to be equipped with the skills to support our students that are still learning the English language and provide rigorous instruction to foster advanced literacy skills. That work starts with our teacher preparation programs.”

Since the coursework requirements for the individual evaluation pathway for certification are based on the educational study requirements for state-approved teacher preparation programs, the department also proposes to change the pathway requirements for the certificate titles in the subject areas listed above from six semester hours in teaching literacy skills to three semester hours of study in language acquisition and literacy development of ELLs and three semester hours of teaching literacy skills. This revision would be effective for candidates who apply through individual evaluation pathway for certification after September 1, 2026 to match the implementation timeline for the proposed revisions in the teacher preparation programs.

The state Education Department Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages provides educator resources on its website for Multilingual Learners/English Language Learners, including tools and best practices that could be used by teacher preparation programs in the development of their course.

The state’s Next Generation P-12 Learning Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics require the ongoing preparation of prospective educators who enter the workforce able to provide rigorous instruction to foster the advanced literacy skills of ELLs. The department has released a series of briefs on advanced literacy to aid educators in implementing the Next Generation Learning Standards.

A Notice of Proposed Rule making will be published in the state register on April 24. Comments on the proposed changes will be accepted through June 24 and can be submitted by email to REGCOMMENTS@nysed.gov. Following the 60-day public comment period required under the state Administrative Procedure Act, it is anticipated that the proposed amendment will be presented to the Board of Regents for adoption at its September 2019 meeting. If adopted, the proposed amendment will become effective on Sept. 25, 2019.

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