Randi Weingarten states, "The head of the American Federation of Teachers has proposed that all prospective teachers pass a rigorous exam measuring subject-matter knowledge and pedagogical mastery before being licensed" ("How About a Bar Exam for Teachers?" The Wall Street Journal, December 10).
In reference to this statement, Walt Gardner has written a response in his blog post--New Way to License Teachers--published by Education Week (December 12, 2012). Gardner elaborates on two points that suggest a national exam would not guarantee quality teachers. He proposes a licensing process similar to the medical school model.
What do you think of teachers being required to pass a "bar" exam to be licensed to teach?
Do you think if a teacher passes a national exam, then he/she should be licensed to teach in every state?
Would the medical school model be a good prototype for certifying professional educators?
The "bar exam" rigorous test for teachers would not guarantee quality teachers. Walt Gardner is right on the money with his process in the follow-up article. Many of the most effective teachers I've known admitted to barely passing some classes, scoring average on Praxis exams, etc. but they have great attitudes, dedicated to their profession and their students give 100% effort. My opinion is do away with tenure, assign new teachers a mentor teacher for at least one year, evaluate where they are and extend the mentorship longer if needed. Tweak the medical school model and it would work.
I'm with you, Sam. Teachers already put much of their own time and money into continuing professional development. They are always striving to find new ways to reach their students. I'd even go so far as to give a new teacher two years of mentoring with no stigma attached to another year.
Helping new teachers be successful can alleviate a lot of their internal stress, keep the highly qualified ones in the profession, and bring less than stellar teachers up to standards.
One of the most remarkable changes I have seen in education is the professional networking on Thinkfinity. So many great mentors ready to offer help! One only needs to ask.