Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Raise the bar . . .

Did you see the article in yesterday's Seattle Times where the AFT President, Randi Weigarten called for a significant change to the entrance requirements for teachers?  In essence they are proposing a "bar exam" for entry into the teaching profession.

The American Federation of Teachers called for a tough new written test to be complimented by stricter entrance requirements for teacher training programs, such as a minimum grade point average.

"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.

In this Eduwonk piece you can learn why Andy Rotherham is against it.  One of his reasons is below.

Second, in the Washington Post, AFT President Randi Weingarten made this statement, “A bar exam would “just level the playing field. Maybe all the alternative certified teachers will pass with flying colors. But if only 10 percent of [Teach For America] passed it and 90 percent of the students from Teachers College passed it, that would say something.”

In this Thomas B. Fordham Institute piece you can read how Chester Finn favors it.

. . .  But let’s not doom this baby at birth. Let’s welcome its arrival, wish it good health, cross our fingers (maybe even help if asked), and stand by ’til it can walk by itself. Thanks, Randi, for a proposal that would make Al proud—and that could conceivably do American education some good. Or could just as easily create nothing except false hope and, possibly, some damage.

So, where is NEA on this issue?  As a local NEA affiliate, what do our current teachers think about this proposal from the AFT?  Does it make sense?  Will it contribute to raising the stature of the teaching profession?

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