I don’t think that those wishing to become Pre-K – 12 teachers should have to take a standardized test to become a teacher. If a person did not graduate with a degree in Education or in a specific content area, the individual should be able to simply take the necessary coursework and then become a teacher. A standardized test does not help us to see if a prospective teacher can teach. People can master knowledge on a test, but that does not mean that they can teach. If there is a desire to evaluate a prospective teacher beyond the coursework that he or she has taken, then we should seek more evaluative measures that assess his or her actual teaching performance rather than what he or she can or cannot accomplish on a standardized test.
One test I have found to be nothing but a scam is the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE). This test is preventing so many new good teachers from being able to enter into the teaching profession because of this poorly constructed test. If you don’t pass the test, you never get any feedback about what you missed and you get the same test each time. This test is simply a get rich scheme for the state of Georgia.
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 needs to be eliminated too. It’s simply an unfunded mandate that does not provide teachers and administrators with the financial resources they need to improve their schools and student academic achievement. With all of the problems with the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, it puts too much additional stress on teachers who already don’t have the resources they need to improve student academic achievement.
We need to be doing everything that we can do to get new teachers into the classroom who have demonstrated a strong commitment to entering into the profession by completing the necessary coursework, which includes student teaching. Let’s abolish all of these standardized tests that are preventing quality teachers from helping us to fulfill the mission of a high quality education for all. I really don’t understand why we are putting so much investment in a test to certify teachers to teach when they have devoted a significant amount of time in college to becoming a teacher. It looks like we have more faith in a test than we have in four years of college education.
I would like to thank all of our teachers for doing such a great job. You are truly not paid what you should be paid. I applaud all of those prospective teachers who are still committed to joining such a noble profession. When you are considering your votes for politicians in the mid-term elections, be sure to find out what they have planned to improve education in America, and be sure to ask them what they will do to make it better for new teachers to enter into the profession.
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison