Friday, December 7, 2012

MORE Press Release: Weingarten "Bar-like Exam" Proposal is Shortsighted

I was thrilled when Randi proposed going to a bar to pick up your teaching license, then MORE busts my bubble. Here's one to ya Julie, who has been involved in a twitter battle over this issue with Weingarten and Leo Casey. Julie sent this link to an important case that Jeff Kaufman turned up: NYC discriminated against black, Latino teachers which I will write a full history in a post this weekend. Ed Notes from 1997 on and ICE when it formed in late 2003 supported these teachers. The UFT didn't. What's coming next? Teachers have to take a recertification test every so many years -- treat them like old fogy drivers needing retesting? You know, prove you are up with the new times, like knowing all the new ed jargon, a crucial sign of a good teacher.
For Immediate Release
December 5, 2012
Randi Weingarten "Bar-like Exam" Proposal is Shortsighted
Randi Weingarten, American Federation of Teachers President and former United Federation of Teachers President, has been talking up a proposal that would require a national certification exam for teachers, much like the bar requirement for lawyers.  The proposal, which she first raised at the Aspen Institute, has received much attention, especially from the corporate reform crowd, who support it.
"It is shocking that our national union leader is proposing a national high stakes exam for educators, while at the same time leading a national campaign supposedly against the overuse of high stakes testing for students," said Julie Cavanagh, NYC teacher and UFT presidential candidate with MORE caucus.  "What we know about these kinds of exams is that they sort, deter, and discriminate.  Unfortunately, Weingarten's proposal reinforces the teacher quality problem myth and the idea that high stakes standardized tests can promote high quality teaching and learning."
Cavanagh continued, "Instead, we need proposals that offer authentic solutions for attracting and retaining quality, experienced educators.  We know that, apart from class size, the most important in-school factor that positively impacts student achievement is teacher experience.  That experience cannot be predicted or captured in any test score."
"Standardized exams tend to be racially biased," said Brian Jones, MORE's candidate for UFT Secretary. Jones added, "Over the last several years we have seen a sharp decline in the number of Black and Latino/a educators in New York City, Chicago, and across the country.  Our union leadership should be proposing alternatives that assist in the recruitment and support of Black and Latino/a educators, and historically speaking, standardized tests are better instruments of exclusion than inclusion."
"Exams such as the bar are useless when it comes to ensuring preparation for the work force. Randi of all people should know this since she passed the bar and has described it as meaningless and irrelevant," said Kit Wainer, Executive Board candidate with MORE caucus.  Wainer furthered noted, "Beyond issues of validity and bias, we know what these types of exams measure:  how much one prepares for the exam.  There is no evidence to show an exam such as the one Randi is proposing will in any way help to better prepare teachers; testing doesn't produce or impact positive outcomes, they simply make some people a lot of money."
MORE caucus, The Movement of Rank and File Educators, stands firmly against a national exam for teachers and stands for policies we know will actually help our profession and the children we serve:  smaller class sizes, more rigorous and fully funded lead teacher programs, as well as mentoring and support to develop and retain experienced educators, especially in the first three years of teaching. 

1 comment:

  1. It's not just the racial impact that such a test might have it is its validity to assess those traits that epitomize good teaching. I don't think we want teacher certification exams becomes irrelevant rites of passage as the Bar Exam has become.


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