Saturday, March 15, 2008

we have to pass tests in order to teach?

From the AP's Deanna Martin (hat tip: C-J)...

Gov. Mitch Daniels has vetoed a bill that would have allowed people to become licensed teachers through a waiver process if they fail general knowledge teaching exams.

Daniels said Wednesday in his veto message that the state should not lower its standards for teachers.

"A major challenge facing our state is to steadily improve teacher quality for Hoosier students, not to weaken it by allowing less-qualified candidates to enter the profession," Daniels wrote.

The bill would have created a waiver process for people who fail the general knowledge Praxis I exam by a certain margin at least two times. To qualify for the waiver, a person would have had to complete all other requirements of their teacher education successfully, reach certain grade point averages and demonstrate student teaching experience.

The person would also have to pass the Praxis II exam, which measures knowledge in the candidate's field.

The bill would have helped districts with teacher shortages, including those that use limited license teachers or substitutes without teaching degrees because they cannot find enough people for their classrooms, supporters said....

It's fine to have tests of knowledge-- although tests are imperfect proxies for knowledge. But a few thoughts come to mind:

-It's ironic that teachers-- who will rely on tests-- would not want to use tests on themselves.

-Existing teachers should have to pass the exams as well as prospective teachers.

-Prospective teachers who can pass both exams should need to do little or nothing else to be qualified to teach.

-It doesn't take an econ degree to figure out how to get rid of a shortage: simply pay differential wages where there's a shortage (typically, math, science, and special ed). Of course, the teacher unions don't like that answer...


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