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Student Assembly President and SUNY Trustee Marc J. Cohen is hoping to tackle statewide teacher shortages with support for TeachNY.

“Good teaching at an early age prepares students to complete their college degree in a timely manner, without having to repeat courses or change direction to avoid troublesome course work – both of which lead to higher college costs,” said Cohen. “And, for some, good teaching at an early age inspires students to become teachers themselves. This is a positive cycle that can only be realized as we better prepare more, well qualified teachers.”

Announced last May, TeachNY, an effort between SUNY and the state education department, aims to transform teacher education programs. The initiative is currently on a SUNY campus tour to gather input on the teacher shortage and share research from the TeachNY.

“Students are at the center of everything we do at SUNY, and we are fortunate to some of the most engaged and passionate Student Assembly leaders in the country,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “TeachNY is a movement to lift up the teaching profession so that we can better serve students and teachers at every stage of their education. Marc’s insight, on behalf of the students he represents across the state, will be a critical component of TeachNY’s success.”

According to the TeachNY advisory council, the state’s need for teachers is expected to increase by 5.8 percent come 2022. Over the next decade, there will be a call for 1.6 million new teachers nationwide.

The plan calls for a public service campaign to turn around the 40 percent enrollment drop in state teacher preparation programs since the 2009-10 academic year.

Along with fighting the teacher shortage the initiative also addresses increasing teacher diversity, incentivizing schools to host pre-service teachers, a new Urban-Rural Teacher Corps, and a new system to recognize professional milestones in education.