The New York City Independent Budget Office released a report today presenting a statistical portrait of the thousands of uncertified teachers who have taught in the city's public schools between 1990 and 2000. In 2000, 15 percent of the more than 76,000 public school teachers were uncertified. The report, "A Statistical Portrait of Uncertified Teachers in New York City Schools," looks at who the uncertified teachers are, what and where they have taught, and how many eventually became certified.
With the Board of Education under pressure to recruit qualified teachers, IBO finds significant numbers of teachers who join the system without credentials go onto become certified. Based on the experience of teachers who joined the school system from 1990 through 1994, more than half of the teachers who began without credentials have become certified, a process the teachers have up to six years to complete. The state Board of Regents has prohibited the city from hiring uncertified teachers after September 2003.
"Given the push to simultaneously hire more teachers and raise teacher standards, the Board of Education faces a serious challenge," said IBO Director Ronnie Lowenstein. "IBO's findings suggest that policymakers may not want to use a broad brush in their approach to uncertified teachers."
IBO's analysis provides a number of other insights into the composition of the city uncertified teacher population. Among the key findings:
- Blacks, Hispanics, and males comprise a larger share of the recently hired uncertified teaching population than among certified newcomers to the public school system.
- The heaviest concentration of uncertified teachers is in the Bronx, where 22 percent lacked state certification in the 1999-2000 school year.
- The number of uncertified teachers in the city's lowest performing schools has declined significantly in response to state policy.
- Uncertified teachers were disproportionately concentrated in science classes, elementary school bilingual Spanish classes, and special education day school classes during the 1999-2000 school year.
- Although uncertified teachers overall tend to gain post-secondary education credits at a slower rate than certified teachers, uncertified teachers who become certified earn credits at a faster pace than their counterparts who join the city schools with certification.
- The rate of attrition among uncertified new teachers is significantly higher than the rate among certified new teachers.
The full report is available on IBO's Web site at www.ibo.nyc.ny.us or by calling IBO at (212) 442-0632.