BYU-Idaho teacher preparation program falls short of state requirements

Originally posted on IdahoEdNews.org on December 19, 2018

REXBUG — Teacher candidates at Brigham Young University-Idaho appear to be in limbo after state officials determined some of the university’s middle school endorsement coursework falls short of state requirements.

In October, a 12-member state review team evaluated BYU-Idaho’s educator preparation program. Officials examined approximately 10 percent of the university’s institutional recommendation forms from 2015 to 2018. The forms are designed to verify that candidates have met state certification requirements. A draft report resulting from the October review shows that BYU-Idaho’s reviewed institutional recommendations did not meet state rule requirements for subject-area endorsement for grades 5-9 for at least one of the following reasons:

  • Insufficient minimum credit requirements.
  • Insufficient content.
  • A math endorsement lacking appropriate subject-area assessment and content.
  • Earth and space science and natural science courses that lacked a secondary science methods requirement.

BYU-Idaho, owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and located some 30 miles north of Idaho Falls, in Rexburg, is a major supplier to Idaho’s teacher pipeline. The university’s teacher prep program graduated 384 students in  2017, according to the Federal Title II report numbers. By comparison, all other teacher preparation programs in Idaho saw 545 graduates that same year.

It’s unclear how the program’s shortfalls are affecting students seeking their 5-9 teaching endorsement, or what the university is doing to correct the problem. In an email obtained by Idaho Education News, BYU-Idaho Teacher Education Department Chair Karla LaOrange informed students of the state’s findings. While LaOrange assured students that “a team of faculty members, deans, and vice-presidents are working in (their) behalf,” she did not include specifics about addressing the issue, or if students will have to repeat coursework.

“Since we have been informed of this issue, BYU-Idaho has been working closely with the State to rectify the situation and allow you to obtain a teaching certificate,” LaOrange told students.

Idaho Education News requested more information from the university, including what the issue means for current students. BYU-Idaho spokesman Brett Crandall declined to comment.

The State Department of Education’s chief certification officer Lisa Colón Duram, a state observer of the October program review, stressed that the report was still in draft form, and that BYU-Idaho is within the timeframe for submitting either factual corrections or a rejoinder.

Colón Duram also acknowledged that the school’s program needs to address the problem.

“We’ve identified where the holes are,” Colón Duram said. “How they are going to fix this is up to them.”

 

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