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“Bar Exam” Proposed For Aspiring Teachers

Michael Calhoun (@michaelcalhoun, mrcalhoun@cbs.com)
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(Photo by KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo by KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (KMOX) – The American Federation of Teachers, the union representing St. Louis Public Schools teachers, is proposing an entry — or “bar” — exam.

The test would assess mastery of subject matter, competency in teaching methods and even confidence and compassion. It’s being compared to the bar exam that lawyers must master before practicing their profession.

“This report centers around people who are studying at the university and college level, and this bar would have to be met prior to becoming a teacher in a classroom,” A.F.T. executive vice president Francine Lawrence said Thursday, on KMOX’s Mark Reardon Show.

The exam’s standards, she added, would be set by a national board, just as those criteria which are used to identify the most accomplished veteran teachers.

CNN reports:

The AFT report titled  Raising the Bar: Aligning and Elevating Teacher Preparation and the Teaching Profession included a statement by AFT president Randi Weingarten:  We must do away with a common rite of passage, 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. Such a haphazard approach to the complex and crucial enterprise of educating children is wholly inadequate. It s unfair to both students and teachers, who want and need to be well-prepared to teach from their first day on the job. At a time when we are raising the standards for students through the Common Core State Standards, we must do the same for teachers.

KMOX talk host Reardon wondered how the move would affect professionals thinking about crossing over into teaching and lending their expertise in a particular field.

“Would this cut some of those people out of the teaching profession?” Reardon asked. She responded, “No, it would not cut anyone out. But we do say that this threshold should be met by any one who is entering the profession.”

The A.F.T. report also recommends colleges and universities set a minimum G.P.A. for teaching majors.

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