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Regents to vote on teacher certification

November 3, 2011

The state board of education is slated to vote this afternoon on new rules for teacher certification. The proposal calls for teacher credentials to be tied to annual teacher evaluations.

The head of the Rhode Island College School of Education, Sasha Sidorkin,  has criticized the plan, saying it does not require any specific course of continuing education for teachers.  Instead, the proposal leaves professional development choices up to local school leaders.

The argument may be self-serving in a sense, since Rhode Island College stands to lose business if teachers are not required to take specific courses to maintain their credentials. However, Sidorkin says this policy is sharply divergent from teacher certification rules in other states. He has urged the Regents to invite an independent expert to provide more guidance.

State officials say the goal of the new certification rules is to make sure that teachers who consistently receive the lowest rating on evaluations do not keep their credentials.

As far as continuing education, the Department of Education says it wanted to tailor teacher professional development to the needs of individual teachers and their local school districts.

The Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education meeting starts today at 4:00 at RIDE headquarters in Providence.

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