SCHOOL DESK

Teachers union sues SUNY Charter Schools

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The United Federation of Teachers filed suit in Manhattan Supreme Court claiming the committee is overstepping its authority and lowering the standards for certified teachers.

Under the new process, prospective teachers at state university charter schools would have to sit for the equivalent of one month of classroom instruction as well as practice teaching for 40 hours in order to become certified.

Before that, teachers were required to hold a bachelor’s degree and be making progress toward a master’s degree, completing coursework in their subject. They also had to pass certification exams and possess extensive supervised teaching experience, according to the union’s website.

Supporters of the SUNY measure said the decision was necessary to fill the hiring gaps in high-performing charter schools, according to Chalkbeat.org, a website covering education.

Andy Pallotta, president of the state’s teachers union, blasted the committee’s decision, claiming it sends the message, “We care more about nail salon customers than charter school children,” according to a release.

The state, he said, requires manicurists to have 250 hours of training, but charter school teachers would need less time.

SUNY’s proposed change also was panned by the head of not only the state’s education department but also the Board of Regents, who also authorize charter schools.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and schools chancellor Carmen Fariña disagreed with the committee’s change, according to Politico.

Last month, the Board of Regents eased requirements of its own certification process, voting to drop the passing score on the edTPA — a test that requires prospective teachers to submit a portfolio of work, including a video of themselves teaching — from 41 to 38 starting in January, according to Chalkbeat.

While the SUNY committee is empowered to authorize charter schools, the state also possesses that power through the Board of Regents.

In the northwest Bronx, four charter schools operate under the state university’s charter school system, while a fifth is authorized by the Board of Regents.

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