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SUNY Chancellor Promises Continued Monitoring Of Charter Schools

The Chancellor of the State University of New York is defending a SUNY board committee’s decision to lower some requirements for teachers at some charter schools.  Dr. Kristina Johnson, who began her job as Chancellor in September, says SUNY will continue to hold the 185 charter schools that it regulates to high standards. But she does not disagree with a Board of Trustee committee’s decision to allow charter schools to develop their own certification plans for teachers. The charter schools would be able to require fewer qualifications than is mandated by charter schools certified by the state education department, in some case requiring as little as 40 hours of active classroom time in order to be certified. Dr. Johnson says the schools, like all charter schools under SUNY  will continue to be monitored. “We’ve shut down 19 schools that didn’t meet those standards, so, we’ll see how this goes forward,” Johnson said , in a wide ranging interview interview with public radio and television.

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SUNY Committee Adopts Controversial Charter School Teaching Requirements

ALBANY (WSKG) – Some of the state’s top-ranking education officials are condemning a vote by a State University of New York committee that would weaken regulations for teachers at some charter schools.  The controversial proposal approved by the SUNY Charter Schools Committee is slightly different than an earlier one. Now, instead of requiring as little as 30 hours of classroom experience in order to be eligible to teach in a charter school, 40 hours are required, as part of a total of 160 hours of classroom related instruction. State Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia and Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa condemned the vote, saying they “strongly disapprove” of the committee’s actions.  The two say the change “lowers standards and will allow inexperienced and unqualified individuals to teach those children that are most in need — students of color, those who are economically disadvantaged, and students with disabilities.” Charter schools have argued that there’s a shortage of teachers and that it’s hard to hire enough instructors under the more stringent qualification required by the State Education Department. New York State United Teachers union President Andy Pallotta said in a statement that the weakened requirements “sell out the state’s most vulnerable children to score political points.” Northeast Charter Schools Network New York Director Andrea Rogers said in a statement that “the trustees made the right decision” and it offers more “flexibility” for charter schools who opt to design their own teaching requirements.