Today, Assemblyman Robert Smullen (R,C-Mohawk Valley and the Adirondacks) attended a press conference hosted by the College of Saint Rose and Fulton Montgomery Community College (FMCC) to discuss solutions to the teacher shortage currently plaguing New York state. These shortages are negatively impacting students by resulting in larger class sizes, meaning students who would benefit from a more intimate setting, or a more personalized experience do not have access to those things.
“If we say every child deserves a quality education, then we need to take real, concrete steps to hire more teachers in New York. Let's face it, not every student learns the same way, some of these students need smaller class sizes to thrive. To add insult to injury, not only does this teacher shortage harm students, it harms the economy of New York. These teachers are heading to more competitive states to work, leaving us without valuable jobs. Again, if we are serious about fixing these problems we need real solutions,” said Smullen.
Smullen also talked about possible solutions to the shortage, including the partnership between the College of Saint Rose and FMCC. The hope is this partnership can be a model for other institutions throughout the state. This partnership is part of the Build the Teachers Pipeline Initiative and includes a multi-pronged approach, including Dual 2 + 2 enrollment so students will be enrolled at both institutions simultaneously and receive additional scholarships for participating. The Saint Rose Admissions and Advisement Office, which will be located on the FMCC campus, will ensure both FMCC and Saint Rose admissions counselors can provide in-person assistance to students in the education program, and the Saint Rose Education Classroom and Lab will allow Saint Rose faculty to lead bachelor-level courses on the FMCC campus and lessen the time a student would need to spend at Saint Rose. Hybrid and online course offerings will also be available. Another solution is local school district support. With this partnership, all 17 Fulton-Montgomery County districts will accept Teacher Pipeline Pathway students as student teachers, ensuring local placement.
“I am so glad to see our higher education institutions take proactive, innovative steps to help students during this time. Our colleges and universities’ main goal is to provide a quality education to their students, and this partnership model is a great example of how schools can take steps to ensure students receive this education while dealing with the teacher shortage. It is unfortunate that such steps are even necessary as we should have enough teachers that all schools are fully staffed, but until we can get back to that level, this is a good alternative. I again want to commend the College of Saint Rose and FMCC on a job well done,” concluded Smullen.