Sunday, September 19

Why a teacher exam?

A national teachers union has proposed an entrance exam that new teachers would have to pass. Given that across the country teachers unions do all they can to shield teachers from accountability, we ought to be suspicious of the union’s motive. In the Washington Post:

A bar exam would “just level the playing field,” [AFT President Randi] Weingarten said. “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.”

Teach For America’s goal is to “eliminate educational inequity by enlisting high-achieving recent college graduates and professionals to teach” for at least two years in low-income communities throughout the United States. It has no presence in Wichita or Kansas. Time had this to say about TFA:

Over the past two decades, Teach For America (TFA) has grown from a scrappy start-up to a national corps with an annual budget of $212 million and a staff of 1,400. Along the way, it has generated a great deal of research about how to improve the teacher training and selection strategies that are commonly used today. Yet the reaction from the education establishment remains one of intense hostility, which echoes through state capitals, Washington and even the courts, where lawsuits have been filed to curtail the use of TFA teachers.

Often we find that entrance exams like this are simply ways to restrict entry to a profession, not to ensure quality. Weingarten revealed one of the true reasons for the exam proposal. I’m sure we’ll learn more underhanded reasons for union test support.