Teachers union calls for certification exam

From wire service reports
December 4th, 2012

There is no single, national standard for teacher certification, although the federal government does ask states to meet certain criteria to be eligible for federal funding.

School teachers should have to pass a stringent exam—much like the bar exam for lawyers—before being allowed to enter the profession, one of the nation’s largest teachers unions said Dec. 3.

The American Federation of Teachers called for a tough new written test to be complemented by stricter entrance requirements for teacher training programs, such as a minimum grade point average. It also called for a more “systemic approach” to preparing future teachers.

“It’s time to do away with a common rite of passage into the teaching profession, whereby newly minted teachers are tossed the keys to their classrooms, expected to figure things out, and left to see if they and their students sink or swim,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten, calling that system unfair to students and teachers alike.

The proposal, released Dec. 3 as part of a broader report on elevating the teaching profession, calls for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards to take the lead in developing a new test. The nonprofit group currently administers the National Board Certification program, an advanced, voluntary teaching credential that goes beyond state standards.

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2 Responses to “Teachers union calls for certification exam”

December 5, 2012

Seems to me like this is addressing the wrong end of the issue. My understanding is that there is a shortage of teachers in the entry level ranks. Making it harder to get into the profession will not help. A different take on the medical example; why don’t we have a residency program where new recruits will be mentored and nutured to help them be successful. Maybe the formal observations and certification exams should be used for tenure instead?

What is this test supposed to cover? My state required me to take the Praxis in each subject area that I wished to teach (Social Studies and Mathematics) and to earn a minimum score on that subject matter exam. That demonstrated that I knew the subject matter I wanted to teach to high school students. Does the AFT believe that all teachers should take the same exam? Do they really think that the same skill set is needed by those who plan to teach AP credit calculus and first grade?