Changes in teaching certification requirement adds new courses

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    After changes were made to state regulations for early childhood education certification programs, the university implemented new courses for its students this fall to comply with the new standard, an associate professor of education said.

    Cecilia Silva, an associate professor in the College of Education, said this change to state standards restored the EC-6 program, which certifies students to teach grade levels from early childhood to sixth grade. The earlier EC-6 program had been replaced by the EC-4 program, which qualifies students to teach through the fourth grade.

    The EC-6 program is back with new requirements, Silva said. The new certification requires students to take additional courses in the subjects of math, science and children’s literature, Silva said, making the previously required Spanish courses elective.

    Alicia Graves, a junior early childhood education major, is part of the first class that will graduate with the new certification guidelines.

    Graves said the new courses offered to students, although they add more content, are going to better prepare students for their major courses once in the College of Education.

    “I think maybe for students who take the intro classes before they are in the College of Education, it could be a little helpful for them to get a feel for it,” Graves said.

    Jan Lacina, associate professor in the College of Education, told the Skiff in January that there was difficulty filling positions in the higher grades of elementary schools, which likely spurred the state to make this change.

    Silva said the EC-4 program created a disconnect between the certification of teachers coming into schools and the school structure itself.

    “As principals were hiring, there was a gap there in terms of the certification,” Silva said. “Now principals are going to be able to hire for the elementary school for pre-K through fifth grade,” Silva said.

    Changes to the program, because of the planned structure of the College of Education, should not prevent any students from graduating on time and should be an easy transition, Silva said.

    Graves said these changes will benefit students and prepare them for the state certification tests.

    “TCU has always had really good percentages of people who pass the certification tests; it’s something that they are very proud of,” Graves said. “So they always have prepared their students well for it. I definitely feel confident with the school that I chose and knowing that I am going to be well prepared.”

    The pass rate for College of Education students on the Texas state certification exams has often reached 100 percent and averages above 97 percent, according to the College of Education’s Web site.

    This new certification, along with new courses offered, is expected to make students look more appealing to school districts because of their wider range of certification, which should make hiring easier on both the schools and the graduates, Graves said.