News and Speeches

NYC Department of Education Releases First Ever Teacher Preparation Program Reports

08/14/2013

New York City Becomes the First Major School System in the Country to Comprehensively Collect and Analyze Data on New Teacher Hires from Post-secondary Schools of Education

New Data Illustrates How Higher Education Programs Are Preparing Over 10,000 of the City’s Newest Incoming Instructors

The New York City Department of Education today released the nation’s first ever district-level Teacher Preparation Program Reports, which analyze the quality, distribution, and retention of new teacher hires graduating from college and university education programs. The first in-depth information of its kind, the data reflect the performance of new teachers from 2008-2012 from the 12 education programs that supplied the most educators to the DOE system over that time. Out of 10,135 new traditional pathway hires over that span, 51.6% graduated from those dozen schools. As such, the Department compiled these reports as a first step for the City and university education programs to open a dialogue aimed at developing a long-term strategy to improve preparation for aspiring teachers before they ever step into a DOE classroom.

“Teachers and school leaders have been clear that as a country, we need to strengthen teacher preparation. New York City’s work is a major step forward, and one from which others can learn. It puts the record of preparation programs – including their impact on student learning – into sharp focus. The data in this report will support smart decision making and improvement at many levels,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said.

“By working with post-secondary education programs around the City, we’ll enhance teacher preparation before aspiring educators ever step foot into a classroom. That’s a big step for our schools – and it’s an exportable reform for systems around the nation. This is data that we hope other districts will create and build on,” City schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott said. “If you turned back the clock over a decade ago, we had minimal data on how well students were performing and how well our teachers were instructing. Today, we’re a national leader in developing metrics that show us where we can improve. The most important asset we have is our teachers – they’re the game changers for our students. By working with education schools to better prepare incoming teachers for the needs of our system, we’ll be able to build on the historic outcomes we’ve delivered for our children.”

As the only major school system in the nation to create reports with such in-depth data, the Department hopes to better align teacher preparation in education programs with the needs of City schools. To understand how post-secondary programs are addressing these needs, the Department aggregated numerous data points, broken down by school of education, which include: the number of teachers with highest need licenses such as special education, science, and English as a Second Language; the number of teachers entering the City’s highest need schools; teacher growth scores on 2012 State tests in 4th through 8th grade math and English; the results of tenure decisions; the number of teachers rated “Unsatisfactory”; and teacher retention after three years within the DOE system.

Over the last five years, on average there have been over 13,000 applicants annually who are recommended for certification by a school of education, with 4.4 applicants for every traditionally-certified teacher hire. Nearly 17,000 individuals across the country – from 49 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico – applied to teach in New York City for the 2012-13 school year, and more than half of those who applied reported having at least one year of teaching experience. Those candidates graduated from over 200 different institutions of higher education. In the 2012-13 school year, the DOE hired over 5,000 new teachers in more than 1,200 different schools, marking a 27% increase in new teacher hiring from 2011.

With huge demand to teach in City schools through traditional pathways, the DOE aims to work more closely with schools of education in order to align the needs of the system with teacher preparation. That means encouraging more development for programs in highest need license areas, creating better retention strategies, finding ways to encourage new hires to teach in high-needs schools, aligning teacher preparation with Common Core standards, and connecting teacher preparation with the City’s new evaluation and development system, “Advance.”

Although New York is the first to create in-depth reports, other cities nationwide can replicate the approach. To compile the information, the DOE collected data – captured when candidates apply to become a teacher – of the post-graduate institutions aspiring teachers were certified from. The DOE then matched this information with data from the New York State Department of Education to confirm each teacher’s preparation program. By simply storing, tracking, and analyzing the same information, other systems around the country can replicate these reports to better understand their workforce.

“For too long, education programs and school systems have worked alongside each other without working together. That must and will change,” said former Teachers College Dean Arthur Levine. “We all have the same goal: great teachers, terrific instruction, and college-ready students. In order to improve, we need to collaborate, and these reports will kickstart that new dialogue. Ushering in a new era of accountability, this data will help universities understand what they're doing right, and where they can improve. This is a great step forward – and future teachers and City students will gain enormously.”