Yes, some folks in Assachusetts are pissed off because they failed a licensing examination necessary to be teachers, but why look at yourself and improve, when you can claim that the man is still holding you down? :rolleyes:
This reminds me of a situation about 30 years ago when my Dad, then the engineer in charge of training for electrical operations of a large mid-Atlantic utility was told by the higher-ups that the company didn’t have enough minority line crew foremen. Dad’s reply was that that resulted from too few minority candidates passing the foreman examination. They told him to dumb down the exam, and his response was that people in charge of a crew working with distribution level voltage had to know their stuff, or somebody was going to get killed. Adequate training, on the utility’s dime was available to all employees who wanted to sit for the exam, and if somebody failed, it was their lacking. He stood his ground, and I’m proud of the man for doing so. It was bullshit then, and it’s bullshit, now.
Sorry, but it doesn’t make a heck of difference to me if you’re black, white, hispanic, male, female, switch hitter, or cross-dressing paisley. If your job is to teach my kid, you shouldn’t be a dumbfuck. The taxpayers deserve qualified people as educators, and lowering the standard invariably comes back to bite you in the ass.
This is almost like an Onion article. We want quality teachers. Quality teachers are competent and well trained. Some groups find the test that assesses that competency and training to be too difficult (never miind that about half of those very groups can handle it), so let’s make the test easier. Brilliant. And we wonder why our schools have gone so far downhill.
I love it. Teachers complaining that one test can ruin their careers. Have they heard of the SATs? And if they know ahead of time that this test is sooo difficult, can’t they, um, let’s see—STUDY harder to pass it. No, the test is unfair! It will be unfair until all teachers get the same excellent grade on it. Damn, I feel sorry for the kids that these idiots are supposed to be teaching.
Yet one more argument for private voucher schools, who aren’t hobbled by the counter-productive teachers’ union and can bounce incompetence when it shows itself.
I haven’t seen an article that mentions which tests were required, but if it’s the Praxis series, they’re administered by ETS.
I know the Praxis makes some students shake in their boots. I did some of the practice exams while I was working in the Teacher Education department and I had no trouble with them. The sad thing is, I can’t get a teaching license in Pennsylvania without a bachelor’s or master’s in education or a hell of an in with a principal. Or go to Philly and work for Teach for America.
[personal story] A long time ago, I considered becoming a vocational ed teacher in the evening to have some fun, and earn some extra green (this was pre my job with Volvo)
I was told I would have to take an English proficiency test. Several of the teachers told me it was a mother fucker, and had a very high failure rate.
Due to a mix up on the directions to the test site I was late. Over 25 minutes late. By the time I got seated, and my name on the paper, I had spotted everyone else in the room 30 minutes out of the two hours allotted. :eek:
I looked at the answer sheet to get an idea of how fast I had to work. There was space for 200 answers. ninety minutes, 200 answers, I have less than 30 seconds per question. :eek: :eek:
OH SHIT. So I put the pedal to the metal and start reading and answering questions as fast as I can.
Before I know it, I am at question 90 and there are no more questions in the booklet.* :smack: The funny thing is nobody else has finished. I look around and notice that all the people that I can see are about 1/2 way through the book. I look at the clock and there is about 1 hour left. I think this can’t be right, I must have screwed the pooch some how. So I go back and re-read every question and answer. I verify that I did not skip any questions or pages. I even wrote a critique of one of the reading sections (they gave us a space to do so)
I still had 45 minutes left, and no one else had finished. So I got up and left.
I got the notification a couple of weeks later that I passed.
Now I don’t know how the tests given in Mass compare to the one I took in LA, but I can tell you that if you could not pass the test I took, you should not be in a classroom. This test just was not that hard.
It was a scantron answer sheet. I should have looked at the last page of the booklet, and realized I had way more time per question than I thought, but I was rattled at this point.
It’s practically a meme in education that standardized tests are racist and biased against people of color. If there were cites to back this up (and there are, believe me), would you want the tests to be changed to be more fair to minorities? I’m not saying, make them easier, or lower the standards. But if the tests discriminate and make it harder for otherwise qualified minorities to become teachers, wouldn’t you want them to be made more fair?
I’m not a big fan of standardized tests as a way of evaluating people’s qualifications. I feel that way about how my students are subjected to test after grueling test. Some pretty smart kids do badly on them, not because they have teh dumb, but because the testing situation freaks them out, or because the tests are culturally biased, or because they have some disability that makes it harder. If that’s true of kids, why can’t it be true of teachers?
Standardized tests are poor instruments of judging people. Are these applicants otherwise qualified? I mean, do they have Masters degrees? If they somehow got through the Bachelors and Masters, how much of teh dumb can they have? Is it possible the tests are fucked? It could be worth looking at them for bias.
Note: I took the standardized tests for license in both NY and PA, and passed on the first try. But I am an excellent test-taker, always have been, and that doesn’t mean I’m a genius. I will also reveal that, after sitting through 8 hours of testing in PA without being allowed to stand up for more than 10 minutes, I got a back spasm that put me in the hospital. No shit. Those tests are miserable and test things other than if you “have teh dumb,” believe me.
ETA: Rick, the tests I took had essay questions, not just scantron answers.
I agree that it is not unreasonable to examine whether the tests are well-designed or not, and just how useful their results are. However, I’m curious: what sort of thing might count as a cultural bias in such a test?
The link in the Op said they were lagging not only in English but in math. How do you make a math test biased against people of color? I thought that math concepts were pretty much a universal language if you will. Pi is 3.14159 in every language isn’t it?
Do we rewrite them to emulate that “LA math test” that was going around the internet a few years back?*
Also do you expect them to be able to teach the same material as the white teachers that can pass the tests? If so then don’t they need to held to the same standard?
Mine should have, but did not. ::: shrug::: I took the test they gave me.
*For those of you that don’t know, it had questions like:
An AK-47 clip holds 30 rounds. A Glock clip holds 15. At the average drive by Lamont fires 5 rounds from the Glock and 10 rounds from the AK. How many drive by shootings can Lamont go to if he as 3 AK 47 clips and two Glock clips?
Bonus question: If Lamont kills someone for every 6 AK rounds he fires, and one for every 8 Glock rounds he fires, how many people will Lamont kill?
Ahh, the old “Private entrepeneurs can always do better than public servants” meme. (Certainly, private entrepeneurs seem to do a better job of making themselves rich than public servants, although the test scores in Ohio, where charter schools score about the same as public schools, show no real improvement in educatuion while siphoning off tax money to pay private groups who can never quite pass their financial audits.)
Having said that, the SATs, including the math section, were reworked because they were found to be biased against people of color.
Even if this is the educational equivalent of the Dow-Corning Breat Impant suits (Which I don’t think is the case.) it’s already been proved once that tests can be biased against social classes. So, it’s not unreasonable, to my mind, for someone to think that they can get the teaching exam changed for the same reasons.
I don’t necessarily agree that it should be done, but that’s a different argument.
ETA: Tom, as someone who was forced out of public schools because of harassment, including harassment by teachers, why shouldn’t I believe that the public schools should pay a price if a family finds, for whatever reason, that they don’t think it’s in their child’s best interests to keep them in the public schools?
I’m not going to defend the record of charter schools, locally I don’t know of any that are failing audits, but many are failing to deliver the promises they made for improved results.
I don’t view school vouchers as something to improve public schools, really. At least not directly. I view school vouchers as a way to punish the public schools, when they do unconscionable things. And with that background, they seem just dandy to me.
Well, in Ohio, (and Wisconsin and, I suspect, a number of other states), charter schools are the only options other than a few parochial schools. Charter schools are simply the term used to identify the non-parochial schools that were started up for the purpose of grabbing voucher money. Where are all the wonderful private schools that are producing fully educated scholars around the country?
I don’t argue that vouchers or charter schools are evil; I simply note that they are not the panacea that they are held up to be. (In the same way that private prisons were going to make things wonderful in the various penal systems, but have woulnd up costing more while permitting more escapes and more reported abuse of prisoners, the idea that simply handing over state funds to people who are most interested in their profits will result in better education for the kids who need it seems odd.) One of the issues discovered with the vouchers in Ohio was that either a majority or large plurality of kids who got vouchers simply used them for the non-public schools they or their siblings were already attending. In other words, the families had already found ways to pay for private education, but were quite willing to shift that burden to the state. (The stories where that was initially reported are now on dead urls.)
Again: I do not argue that vouchers are bad. I note that they are simply not the cure-all that some people would like to pretend.
Still munching my popcorn, but I wanted to say that I agree with this:
And with this:
Having said that, this issue can be excrutiatingly frustrating. And, well, just plain old excruciating. Especially if you’re a Black person, and a reasonably intelligent one at that. (Gotta toot my own horn, right? )
Like the rest of you, I’ve been hearing for quite some time that tests like this can be biased according to ethnic/socio-economic background (does anyone else remember allllllll the way back, when they addressed this same issue on “Good Times”–I *think * one example of proof they provided was that of a demitasse cup?), and while I’m not interested in discounting these claims outright or wholesale (I don’t know enough about how tests are devised to be able to do that), I do find myself wishing that I could actually *see * whatever test is being slammed at the moment.
Granted, even if I, who was raised, oh, lower middle-class, but went to highly-regarded public schools (and who currently studies at a well-regarded university, whatever the hell that’s worth in the context of this discussion), passed such a test, that wouldn’t necessarily mean that others of similar background and experience would (or vice-versa, right?), but still, it might certainly provide food for thought.
Oh, and Rick, the question that you provided is easy enough to solve with basic math, but it seems to me that, given the way it’s worded, you’d really have to pay close attention to what you were reading so as to not become flummoxed.