Elementary Teacher Preparation Policy
The state should ensure that new teachers who are licensed to teach elementary grades under an early childhood license demonstrate sufficient content knowledge in all core subjects and know the science of reading instruction. This goal has been revised since 2017.
Content Test Requirements: New York requires early childhood education candidates, who are certified to teach elementary grades through grade 2, to pass the New York State Teacher Certification Examinations (NYTCE) Multi Subject: Teachers of Early Childhood (Birth-Grade 2) test, which is comprised of three separately scored subtests. Subtest I is literacy and English language arts; subtest II is mathematics; and subtest III covers science, social studies, the arts/health/fitness/family, and consumer science/career development.
Scientifically Based Reading Instruction: New York's early childhood education assessment contains a separately scored English language arts/literacy section. This subtest does not address the science of reading and therefore does not amount to a stand-alone reading test. The state's early childhood preparation standards do not address scientifically based reading instruction.
Provisional and Emergency Licensure: Because provisional and emergency licensure requirements are scored in Provisional and Emergency Licensure, only the test requirements for the state's initial license are considered as part of this goal.
NYSTCE Test Requirements http://www.nystce.nesinc.com/TestView.aspx?f=HTML_FRAG/NY211_TestPage.html New York State Teacher Certification Examination www.nystce.nesinc.com
Require all teacher candidates who teach elementary grades to pass a rigorous assessment in the science of reading instruction.
New York should require a rigorous reading assessment tool to ensure that its early childhood candidates are adequately prepared in the science of reading instruction before entering the classroom. The assessment should clearly test knowledge and skills related to the science of reading and address all five instructional components of scientifically based reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. Early childhood teachers who do not possess the minimum knowledge in this area should not be eligible for licensure.
Require a content test that ensures sufficient knowledge in all subjects.
Although New York is on the right track by administering a three-part licensing test, thus making it harder for teachers to pass the overall test if they fail some subject areas, we encourage the state to further strengthen its policy and require separate passing scores for each core subject on its elementary test. Doing so will help to ensure that every student is taught by a teacher with adequate subject-matter knowledge.
Ensure that teacher preparation programs prepare early childhood education candidates in the science of reading instruction.
New York should require teacher preparation programs in the state to train candidates in scientifically based reading instruction to help ensure that all teachers are well prepared in the science of reading instruction before entering the classroom.
New York was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis. The state added that it has articulated teaching standards that its approved teacher preparation programs must use to frame instruction in early childhood and elementary instruction in literacy and ELA content. The teaching standards are driven by the State Learning Standards. Early Childhood and Childhood Education candidates must be prepared to teach the State Learning Standards in ELA identified in Part 100 of the Commissioner's Regulations.
Specifically, the content core for preparation in early childhood education (birth-grade 2) is found in Part 52.21(b)(3)(i)(a):
(a) Content core. In addition to meeting the general requirements for the content core prescribed in clause (2)(ii)(b) of this subdivision, the content core shall be a major, concentration, or the equivalent in one or more of the liberal arts and sciences, which, in combination with the general education core and pedagogical core, shall ensure that the candidate has a knowledge base for teaching to the State learning standards for students, as prescribed in Part 100 of this Title, in the following areas of the early childhood education curriculum: the arts; career development and occupational studies; English language arts; health, physical education, and family and consumer sciences; a language other than English; mathematics, science and technology; and social studies.
Per Commissioner's Regulations Part 52.21(b)(2)(ii)(c)(1)(iv) and 52.21(b)(3)(i)(b)(1)(iii), all early childhood education programs provide study that will permit candidates to obtain the following pedagogical knowledge, understanding, and skills in:
2D: Elementary Licensure Deficiencies
Early childhood teachers who teach elementary grades must be ready for the demands of the elementary classroom. Many states have early childhood licenses that include some elementary classroom grades, usually up to grade three. Because teachers with this early childhood license can still teach many elementary grades, they should not be held to a lower bar for subject-matter knowledge than if they held more standard elementary licenses. Given the focus on building students' content knowledge and vocabulary in college- and career-readiness standards, states would put students at risk by not holding all elementary teachers to equivalent standards. That is not to say the license requirements must be identical; there are certainly different focuses in terms of child development and pedagogy. But the idea that content knowledge is only needed by upper-grade elementary teachers is clearly false.
Focus on reading instruction is especially critical for early childhood teachers. Although some states do not ensure that any elementary teachers know the science of how to teach young children to read, in the states where this is a priority, it is inexcusable to hold elementary teachers on an early childhood license to a lower standard. Research is clear that the best defense against reading failure is effective early reading instruction. Therefore, if such licenses are neglecting to meet the needs of the early elementary classroom, of which learning to read is paramount, they are failing to meet one of their most fundamental purposes.