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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