A state requirement that new teachers earn master's degrees in three years instead of five is about to be scrapped, just months after it was established.
The rule was designed to improve teacher quality. But educators and teacher colleges objected, saying it imposes an unrealistic timetable on young teachers who are just getting comfortable with their classroom assignments and, in many cases, are faced with paying off loans for their undergraduate eduction.
The state Education Department has recommended that the Board of Regents revert to the five-year timetable, and the Regents are expected to do that in January.
"We don't want it to be an undue burden on the teachers," said Johanna Duncan-Poitier, a deputy state education commissioner. "The minute they graduate, the next thing they have to worry about is the master's degree."
Duncan-Poitier also said the three-year limit could worsen the teacher shortage in some areas of the state and cause teachers to lose their certification simply because they failed to meet a tight deadline.
Teachers get their initial certification after receiving their undergraduate degrees and must then earn master's degrees to retain their licenses. New York is one of only seven states with master's degree requirements.
The three-year limit, which applied to teachers who obtained their initial certification after last Feb. 1, is counterproductive, said Stephen Bovino, principal of John F. Kennedy High School in Cheektowaga.
"You're not going to get a better teacher," Bovino said. "You're going to get a teacher who is a little more frazzled up front, when what they really need is some time to breath."
The Regents are also expected to loosen recently imposed staffing requirements on teachers colleges.
But they are expected to leave intact rules that teachers certified after last Feb. 1 complete 175 hours of professional development every five years, be assigned more experienced mentor teachers and pass three rather than two licensing exams.