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NYC Analyzes 12 Teacher-Education Programs

NEW YORK—The New York City Department of Education’s new process of grading the colleges and universities that train the largest share of its new teachers shows that all are producing high-quality candidates, a school official said.

The department issued a report Wednesday analyzing new hires from 12 teacher-education programs including those at Columbia University, New York University, St. John’s University and several City University of New York campuses.

Each of the schools has had at least 150 graduates hired as New York City teachers since 2008. The information reflects the performance of teachers from 2008 to 2012.

“We wanted to see whether the universities and colleges that are providing us with the majority of our teachers are meeting our needs,” Deputy Schools Chancellor David Weiner said. “Are they putting student teachers and teachers into the schools that need them the most? Are they bringing them to the subject areas that we need the most?”

In addition to examining whether programs are training candidates for high-demand jobs like special education, the report compared the job performance ratings of graduates of each of the schools.

It also looked at how many graduates of each of the schools were still on the job after three years.

There were differences among the programs but no clear winners or losers.

“I definitely don’t want this portrayed as a ‘gotcha’ type of thing,” Chancellor Dennis Walcott said at a briefing at Department of Education headquarters. “This is laying a solid foundation for the future success of our teachers, especially the new teachers who will be coming into the system.”

Weiner said department officials were “quite pleasantly surprised” with the results of the process. “We thought there might be bigger differences between the universities,” he said.

One subset of teachers, those who taught math or English in grades 4 through 8, was rated according to student progress on statewide standardized tests. Most graduates of all 12 of the schools were rated effective, and all of the schools had some graduates ranked highly effective.

Three-quarters of the graduates of Touro College, a private college in New York City, were rated effective. Another 7 percent were rated highly effective, 15 percent developing and 3 percent ineffective.

“We thought it was a very positive report in terms of what we’re doing,” said Arnold Spinner, associate dean of Touro’s Graduate School of Education. “It’s very helpful.”

But Alfred Posamentier, dean of the Mercy College School of Education, which ranked highest of all the programs in the percentage of graduates who are hired at high-needs schools, said he did not find the report useful.

“Nothing they gave me tells me I need to change this or change that,” he said. “It substantiated things I already know.”

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