Kevin Basmadjian, dean of the School of Education at Quinnipiac University, addressed the state Board of Education Wednesday about the proposed master’s degree requirement for professional certification in the state of Connecticut. Basmadjian is available to discuss his comments.
Basmadjian said, “One of the challenges that plagues our profession – the teaching profession – is the lack of opportunities for upward mobility. Other than moving into positions of school or district leadership, teachers have few options to move up the career and salary ladder. As a consequence, many of our most effective teachers leave the classroom to become building administrators or district curriculum coordinators. Some leave the profession entirely in search of careers that provide opportunities for advancement based on performance.
“The proposed master’s degree requirement, if thoughtfully implemented, offers us the opportunity to keep these effective teachers where we need them most, working closely with our students and developing teachers. If we adopt guidelines that support peer leadership roles including curriculum leaders, mentors, and coaches, we create a diverse range of pathways for teachers that keep them in the profession and reward them for their knowledge and skills. With the Common Core State Standards and the new SEED Program now upon us, our schools need teachers who possess leadership skills and knowledge in areas such as evaluation, content-specific pedagogy, technology, literacy, assessment, and school and professional development. For these reasons, the proposed legislation offers us an opportunity to craft guidelines that may advance our profession.
“If we are not careful in how we shape this legislation, however, we run the risk of a wide range of unintended and negative consequences. If, for example, we require secondary biology teachers to obtain a master’s degree in biology, we risk losing talented teachers in an area already facing grave shortages. And if we require teachers of any content to earn a second master’s degree, we run the risk of recruiting fewer – not more – talented individuals into our profession.
“I strongly encourage the Board of Education, as well as the State Department of Education, to involve key stakeholders – including the state’s teacher preparation program – in the development of this policy. Such a collaborative process will allow us to seize this legislation as an opportunity, rather than one that leads to negative unintended consequences.”
If you’re interested in speaking to Basmadjian, please call John Morgan, associate vice president for public relations, at 203-206-4449 (cell) or 203-582-5359 (office).