A judge in New York this week overturned rules which allowed some charter schools to certify their own teachers. The policy was put in place last year by the State University of New York, which is one of two governing bodies in the state that has the power to grant charters.
Elizabeth A. Harris explains in The New York Times that “in exchange for extending mayoral control of New York City schools, State Senate Republicans gave SUNY more authority to regulate the schools it oversees. SUNY then used that power to allow some schools to train and certify their own teachers.” She contends that the deal was enacted to benefit Eva Moskowitz and the Success Academy schools in particular. Harris states that she “is close to Senate Republicans” and that “the deal was seen as a gift to her.”
Monica Disare explains in Chalkbeat that the regulations which began in October 2017 “eliminated the requirement that teachers earn master’s degrees and allowed charter schools authorized by SUNY to certify their teachers with as little as a month of classroom instruction and 40 hours of practice teaching.”
She explains how “the rule was quickly challenged by the State Education Department and the state teachers union, which filed separate lawsuits that were joined in April. They argued that SUNY overstepped its authority and charged that the rule change would lead to children being taught by inexperienced and unqualified teachers.”
State Supreme Court Judge Debra Young explained in her ruling that charters “are free to require more of the teachers they hire but they must meet the minimum standards set.” She also contended that laws requiring public comments on the changes to teacher certification were ignored.
SUNY officials may try to appeal the ruling or rewrite the regulations in a way that would assuage Judge Young’s concerns.
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