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Regents Approve Four Revisions to Teacher Education Plan

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Atlanta — April 18, 2001

The state’s public universities that prepare teachers will have a new and higher bar to clear beginning in 2006. By then, all of the University System of Georgia’s institutions that prepare educators for the schools will have as a goal an 80 percent pass rate on the PRAXIS II exam – the state’s primary test used for teacher certification for teacher and educational leader candidates.

The goal is one of two new principles added to the Board of Regents original 1998 policy document, “Principles and Actions for the Preparation of Educators for the Schools.” The ten original principles established the foundation for a comprehensive System effort to strengthen teacher preparation programs at its 15 University System of Georgia institutions that prepare educators. The regents approved the additions as well as several other revisions at their April board meeting, held on the campus of Georgia College & State University, in Milledgeville.

“We have learned a great deal over the past several years, both from our implementation of the 1998 teacher education policy and from the work of the Governor’s Education Reform Commission,” said Dr. Jan Kettlewell, assistant vice chancellor for academic affairs and co-facilitator of the P-16 project. “These policy revisions are designed to fine-tune and improve our efforts and are consistent with the spirit and the goals of the state’s broader education reform efforts. It just makes sense for the Board of Regents to adopt this principle that a high percentage of the System’s future teachers pass the teacher certification test.”

The PRAXIS II test measures content knowledge and is administered by the Professional Standards Commission (PSC), which requires that all teacher and educational leader candidates must pass the examination to become certified in Georgia. Currently the PRAXIS II pass rate among System colleges ranges from 44 to 92 percent. Among ethnic groups, pass rates range from a low of 17 percent to a high of 94 percent. The board-approved 80 percent goal applies not just to all teacher candidates from a particular System institution program, but to each demographic group.

With an eye to the 2006 goal, the University System’s institutions will use fall 2001 as the baseline to set annual targets toward progress in closing the pass rate gap between majority and minority groups – while maintaining or increasing the overall number of minority educators prepared. Institutions needing assistance in meeting their goals may utilize System resources. In addition, System officers will work with appropriate agencies to resolve a number of issues that should lead to more accurate test data.

The board also adopted a new principle on educational leadership. The University System will:

  • bring in a team to review all current preparation programs in educational leadership and make recommendations; and
  • collaborate with the Governor’s office, the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, the PSC, the Georgia Department of Education, regional education service agencies, representatives from local schools, the Southern Regional Education Board, and private partners in the development and implementation of the Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement.

The new Leadership Institute is based upon data that illustrates the strong influence school leadership has on creating a good environment for teaching, learning and student improvement. It is a response to recommendations from the Governor’s Education Reform Study Commission and the Southern Regional Education Board that call for new models for the preparation of educational leaders.

The statewide leadership institute will be affiliated with one of the University System of Georgia’s campuses and will be implemented in three phases. In Phase One, the Institute will create an academy for the professional development of current principals and superintendents (with optional degree/credit). In Phase Two, the Institute will offer degree and non-degree programs for aspiring principals and superintendents as an alternative to traditional preparation programs. The final phase will offer preparation programs for those seeking certification as “master principals” (when such certification becomes available) and mentoring programs for beginning principals and superintendents.

The board also approved two revisions to its existing principles for teacher preparation:

  • One new requirement is that all graduate programs for certified teachers be a collaborative effort between the colleges of Arts & Sciences and Education. As a result of this revision, the System’s Office of Academics & Fiscal Affairs will approve only those master’s degree programs for certified teachers at the early childhood, middle grades and high-school levels that are collaborative programs developed jointly by the arts and sciences and education faculty.
  • Programs will be developed that will lead to dual certification in early childhood education and special education will be expanded (currently, students earn a degree in either childhood or special education).

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