Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Teachers union wants a national bar exam

On Dec. 2, the Washington Post ran a story that the American Federation of Teachers wants a nation professional bar exam for teachers.

And some teachers, including some “career switchers”, are weighing in already in the Post today, as with this teacher from Rockville, MD (wesbite url), here

There seems to be a suggestion that participants from “Teach for America” are not as well prepared as those originally trained to be teachers.

Having subbed myself in northern Virginia, it seems to me that people from the “real world” of work, including information technology and software development, as well as from performing arts like music, have something to offer, but only when they are working with students who left home with some motivation.  I used to tell students that their hour of working on a lesson plan project was  a preview of the real workplace they would see in a few years.  But that only worked at a certain level (honors, AP, IB, etc.)  True, sometimes students wanted to work “in groups”, but teamwork happens in the workplace (including Google and Facebook). 

In Virginia, there are university  licensure programs to give career switchers the required “180 clock hours” in a semester or less.  But most university education programs (like GWU) require more than that for an M.Ed. degree.  The availability of training may improve in northern Va as both George Washington and Virginia Tech set up new campuses, back-to-back, near Ballston in Arlington. 

Update: December 10

Check Randi Weingarten's piece "How about a bar exam for teachers" in the Monday Dec. 10 Wall Street Journal.  What a piece to read in a dentist's chair.  This idea would make a "career switch" after "forced retirement" from other fields of work even more problematical. 

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