Better Tests for Teachers? Schrenko Urges Evaluation Upgrade

Article excerpt

ATLANTA -- School Superintendent Linda Schrenko told lawmakers

yesterday that she would like to see more extensive classroom

evaluations of first-year teachers to see whether they're

prepared for the profession.

Schrenko commented during a HouseSenate Appropriations

Committee meeting after being questioned by lawmakers about

reports that many of Georgia's top students are avoiding

teaching as a profession.

"We need to better test our teachers," said Sen. Don Cheeks,

D-Augusta, who cited statistics showing students entering the

state's colleges of education have among the lowest grade-point

averages and Scholastic Assessment Test scores of any group.

"Are we getting our money's worth?" he asked.

Schrenko called it a loaded question, but added, "We need to

set a higher standard for our teachers coming out of college."

The University System of Georgia Board of Regents is currently

in the middle of a year-long study on teacher recruitment,

preparation and retention.

Surveys show Georgia teachers are as well-educated as national

counterparts. About half have at least a master's degree.

Many are teaching classes outside of their field of study,

though. For instance, in Georgia, two-thirds of high school

physical science teachers do not hold a degree in that subject.

The same is true for nearly half of history teachers and almost

a quarter of math teachers.

Studies show more than a third of new Georgia teachers drop out

of the profession within five years, leading to shortages in

some key areas. …