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March 24, 2008

Missouri teachers

The legislature is considering adoption of the low-standard American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE) process, in Senate Bill 1066 and House Bill 1911. Every person in Missouri who wants good teachers for our children should oppose these bills.

ABCTE allows anyone who holds any bachelor's degree (no minimum GPA or other criteria) to become certified to teach by passing two tests - one in teaching and one in the content field. This is a low effort, minimal preparation (even in content field) mechanism.

Supporters claim these bills will address teacher shortages but Missouri already has multiple alternative certification entry ways including the Temporary Authorization Certificate (TAC) and Teach for America. These allow people with a degree in the content field which they desire to teach to enter the classroom immediately (if hired) and learn on the job with support.

ABCTE will not help the shortage of highly qualified teachers; it will make it worse. I urge all Missourians to contact your representative and senator today to express opposition to these bills, or any legislation that authorizes ABCTE as a route to teacher certification in Missouri.

Donna M. Gardner
Associate professor and chairwoman
Department of Education
William Jewell College



Passing tests does not a good teacher make.
Neither does a degree.
teachers shold be hired based on not ONLY testing but individual. Start hiring people instead of paper, then you will find the best of the best for each subject.
I surely would not want someone teaching business that has never been in business. Having a degree in business does not make you an axpert in business, it makes you "qualified" to talk about book theory and methods but so what, anyone can get that from a book.

K Clifton

The ABCTE tests are so tough that only 40 percent pass the teacher knowledge test, so, if you are not competent, you are not going to pass the test. In fact, this is the reason Missouri requires state competency exams for all other teachers. If the ABCTE exams provide no means of establishing competency, we should remove the requirement to pass Praxis and all other state tests in all the states. Finally, how did we get to the point where subjective, informal assessment (of teachers) by observation has been elevated to a higher level than objective, formal assessment?

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