Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Credentialing Loopholes Common in K-12 Teaching: As States Wrestle against Teacher Shortage

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Credentialing Loopholes Common in K-12 Teaching: As States Wrestle against Teacher Shortage

Article excerpt

Credentialing Loopholes Common in K-12 Teaching: As states wrestle against teacher shortage

WASHINGTON -- The quality of classroom learning was once again highlighted last month with the release of a report that documents the failure of states to ensure that all teachers have the knowledge and skills required for student instruction.

Education Week's study, "Quality Counts 2000," found that while states set standards for those who wish to enter the profession of teaching, nearly all of them have created loopholes -- some that allow people to teach who lack basic skills like literacy. For example, the study found that although 39 states require prospective teachers to pass a basic-skills test to ascertain, among other things, levels of literacy, 36 of those states allow some who have failed those tests to teach anyway.

The study also revealed that national certification of teachers is not a highly regarded accomplishment. In fact, only North Carolina has more than 1,000 national board-certified teachers; Nevada and Oregon have none.

"With the nation needing to hire 2 million teachers in the next decade, states must make sure that the people who take those jobs are qualified to teach to the higher standards now expected of students," says Virginia B. Edwards, the editor of the study. "States are the ultimate arbiters of who should teach. They can help recruit and attract candidates and they can keep good teachers in the classroom by providing support and evaluating performance. …

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