29 August 2007

Renewing Habits

A new school year is upon us. Have you let your Education Carnival reading slip over the summer? Today's a great day to get back into the routine of things. Matt Tabor has put together a delightful end of summer read. Won't it feel good to be regular again?

If the Carnival isn't enough for you, or if you prefer a bit of an appetizer before you head over to the feast, here are an article which recently caught my eye:

Massachusetts is struggling with closing the achievement gap. Not news, you say? Well, this is about teachers. More than half of minority teachers in that state are failing the teacher certification exam.

Education officials say the gap is making it harder to bring more diversity to the state's teaching ranks.

The problem is so persistent that a special state task force of teachers, state education officials and hiring directors has been set up to find out why minorities don't do better on the tests.

Sally Diaz, a vice president at Emmanuel College in Boston and a member of the panel, said one test shouldn't make or break a career.

"One of the fallouts which is particularly upsetting in our experience across the colleges is fewer and fewer students of color are even going into teaching because word has gotten out that these tests are very difficult for them," she said.

Some minority applicants say the tests includes questions that white applicants and those with liberal arts backgrounds can more readily identify with, such as questions about ancient literature or investing in the stock market.

Diversity among staff---as well as cultural proficiency skills---are major issues in many schools and districts these days. I don't believe in lowering the bar for certification, but we also need to look at the barriers (perceived and real) that may be present and keeping people from entering the profession.

1 comment:

Scoop0901 said...

The summation seems to agree with the overall post.

This whole thing, especially the final paragraph of your quoted text, is sad. It seems excusitis is alive and well, and if all involved get their way, excusitis will further lower the proverbial bar for those wanting to be teachers, which then, by default, lowers the bar of what is taught.

In the end, no matter how you look at the final result, the students will lose. Period.