-Letter to the Editor-
Calling All SUNY Students: We Need Your Help Now, All of You
As all SUNY education majors, including myself, are well aware, the New York State Education Department (SED) recently introduced new requirements for initial teacher certification. Fellow seniors and I graduating this spring, whether from here at Brockport or another SUNY college, are the first group of students affected. The problem is that we haven't been given nearly enough time to prepare for the new tests. One of them - edTPA -- is considered especially unfair, and not only by students. Administrators and faculty across SUNY campuses have loudly voiced objection to it. In fact, NYSUT, a union of more than 600,000 people who work in, or are retired from, New York's schools, colleges, and healthcare facilities, as well as UUP, the union which represents more than 35,000 teaching faculty and professional staff on 29 state-operated SUNY campuses and in System Administration, have been urging SED to: delay edTPA's implementation, not have it be a requirement for certification, and allow May 2014 graduates who passed the old tests to be able to use them for certification.
As things stand now, SED shockingly predicts that up to 40% of graduating seniors will fail edTPA. In actuality, the rate was even higher at Potsdam, where nine out of 18 students - an alarming 50% -- who completed student teaching in the fall, failed the test. Specific objections to edTPA can be found at http://uupinfo.org/committees/teached/taskforce.php.
The bottom line is that thousands of our fellow SUNY students, whether from here at Brockport or elsewhere, who earn an education degree will be left unable to teach since they will not have the necessary certification. But, this is not only a problem for education majors. Rather it affects all SUNY students, as the overall reputation of the system will be severely tarnished.
Therefore, I am urging all Brockport and other SUNY students, education and non-education majors, to immediately call and write your campus and hometown representatives in the NY State Assembly and Senate, as well as on the NY State Board of Regents, to ask that:
-- the introduction of edTPA be delayed
--edTPA not be a requirement for certification
--any students who have passed the old tests be able to use them for certification
But, we need as many voices to rise up as possible, so I am also urging you to ask your parents, other family members, guardians, and friends to do the same. And we need you to act right away since thousands of spring education graduates are just a few weeks away from taking edTPA and in danger of failing it through no fault of our own.
It's easy. Simply go to http://uupinfo.org/committees/teached/edTPAActionPlan.php, where you'll see the names of all Assembly and Senate representatives, as well as all members of NY Board of Regents, along with their phone numbers, and email and mailing addresses. It's even easier if you go to the online version of this letter, where the web links provided above are live.
Please don't hesitate in helping your fellow SUNY students and yourself.
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