SUNY Chancellor to launch statewide tour in Cortland

The following is a republished press release from SUNY Cortland and not an article written by The Cortland submit a press release, community announcement or information about another upcoming event, email Editor Peter Blanchard at [email protected].

SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher will launch her statewide TeachNY listening tour at SUNY Cortland Wednesday, May 25, meeting with teachers, school leaders, college faculty and administrators from throughout the region.

The purpose of the day-long series of conversations is to get front-line input on the ambitious TeachNY initiative announced by Chancellor Zimpher and State Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia last week.

“As home to the state’s largest and most comprehensive teacher education program, SUNY Cortland makes sense as a starting point for this tour,” said SUNY Cortland President Erik J. Bitterbaum. “We look forward to discussing these ideas with the chancellor, who is a former school teacher and a national expert in teacher preparation.”

TeachNY is a multi-pronged effort to address New York’s teaching shortage through the transformation of teacher preparation programs. In addition to a campaign promoting the teaching profession, TeachNY would revamp teacher preparation to expand clinical practice, invest in lifetime teacher career development, and create regional advisory boards to ensure the supply of highly qualified teachers meets future demands.

“As New York and the nation face a massive teacher shortage, there is no time to waste,” Chancellor Zimpher said in announcing TeachNY. “By lifting up the teaching profession and transforming the way we not only prepare – but continually support – teachers TeachNY will ensure that New York has the cadre of high-quality teachers that our state and our students deserve going forward.”

Chancellor Zimpher will begin the event at 11 a.m. in Brockway Hall, Jacobus Lounge with a “Teacher Speak Out” with invited pre-school through 12th-grade educators. During this informal session, she hopes to enhance her understanding of the current climate surrounding the teaching profession and learn what support working teachers say they need.

At 12:30 p.m., Chancellor Zimpher will address a larger group of participants in Jacobus. Several SUNY Cortland faculty members and administrators will present the School of Education’s focal points, which include helping teachers support students in poverty, developing and sustaining clinically rich teacher education programs and creating educator preparation programs that effectively meet a wide variety of accountability measures.  Structured roundtable discussions will round out the rest of the afternoon.

TeachNY’s long list of proposed actions were developed by an advisory council made up of influential state and national education leaders convened by SUNY, the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States.  The proposals include:

  • Public service campaign to promote the teaching profession and reverse a 40-percent enrollment drop in New York’s teacher preparation programs since 2009-10.
  • Regional advisory boards to coordinate date to better match graduates with the teaching needs of New York’s school districts.
  • Recruitment drive to attract an increasingly diverse pool of excellent teachers. Approximately 82 percent of the current U.S. teacher force identifies as white, but by 2024, students of color will comprise 56 percent of the student population
  • A new Urban-Rural Teacher Corps to recruit and support teachers who appreciate and are dedicated to the special needs of high-poverty schools.
  • Incentives for public schools to host pre-service teachers in classrooms, similar to a teaching hospital’s obligation to host medical residents.
  • A better-defined career ladder that recognizes and rewards professional milestones and achievements, similar to those that exist in the legal and medical professions.