Monday, December 17, 2012

Weingarten Proposes Profession Bar Exam for Teachers

It is rare that I agree with Randi on anything of note, so I want to draw attention to this and give her huge kudos for embracing this. Done right, this could be ENORMOUSLY important: it could keep incompetent people out of the classroom, raise the status of teaching, attract more high caliber people into the profession, lead to the closure of the many dreadful ed schools in the country, increase the quality of teaching and training at ed schools, etc.

A major teachers union wants to create a rigorous professional exam for K-12 teachers that would serve the same function as the bar exam for lawyers and board certification for doctors.

“Unlike law, medicine, architecture and engineering, we hand teachers the keys and tell them to go into the classroom and do their thing,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, who is expected to announce the plan Monday. “This is about raising the standards of our profession and making sure that kids get teachers who are prepared.”

A task force of teachers and education experts Weingarten assembled spent a year developing recommendations to improve teacher preparation and certification.

Under the AFT plan, prospective teachers who have undergone training at an education school would have to demonstrate knowledge of their subject areas, an understanding of the social and emotional elements of learning, and spend a year in “clinical practice” as a student teacher before passing a rigorous exam.

The plan also calls for universities to grow more selective in accepting students into teacher preparation programs, requiring a minimum of a 3.0 grade point average to enroll and to graduate, among other things. There are about 1,400 teacher preparation programs in the country, with a wide range of quality, experts say.

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