Carol Burris, veteran teacher and principal, author and executive director of the Network for Public Education, here analyzes the proposal by the charter committee of the State University of New York to allow charter schools to hire uncertified teachers and to do their own certifying. Among other problems, this insults the education faculty of SUNY, as well as the New York Board of Regents, which sets high standards for new public school teachers in the state. The charter committee includes no educators; its members were appointed by Governor Cuomo.

Burris writes:

The proposed regulations by the State University of New York (SUNY) Board for charter school teacher certification have been posted. The SUNY Board should hang its head in shame. These regulations eliminate nearly all NYS requirements, requirements they themselves have endorsed under the new TEACH certification regulations.

While this proposal may further the political interests of the Governor who appointed 15 of the 18 Board members, and who has received millions in contributions from charter school board members, it does so at the expense of the children who attend the charter schools SUNY authorizes.

In a nutshell, turn up at a charter school door with a bachelors’ degree, and you can become a certified teacher in weeks.

According to the proposed regulations:

· Prospective charter teachers would be required to take only 30 hours of instruction (the equivalent of less than 4 days) by someone who holds a Master’s Degree, including an uncertified teacher whose students got good scores on state tests. (Yes, that nuttiness is written into the regulation.) The 30 hours do not even have to be “real” hours—SUNY’s proposed regulation defines an instructional hour as at least 50 minutes. Instruction can even be provided via video, as long as there is some face to face time.

· For a second certification—only six more hours is all that is required.

· The candidate needs 100 hours of field experience under the supervision of an experienced teacher. That teacher can be uncertified as long as they are a two-year, TFAer, anyone who has taught for 3 years and received satisfactory evaluations, or a university professor. Contrast this field experience requirement with that of SUNY’s Stony Brook University which requires a 75 day internship with a certified teacher. The State Education Department requires a minimum of 40 days.

· The teacher would be eligible to teach in SUNY authorized charters only, essentially relegating them to an indentured servant status. They would be unable to leave for public schools with better pay and better working conditions unless they went through a traditional program which would be very difficult, if not impossible, given the long days required by charter schools.

Speak out and let SUNY know that you are opposed to the proposed regulations. Let them know every New York child deserves a well-trained, qualified teacher.

Sign the Network for Public Education’s petition:

Call: Ralph A. Rossi II, at (518) 455-4250

Send an e-mail to