ACRU

Teacher Testing in Massachusetts, Biased Against Incompetence

The Massachusetts Senate is considering waivers for teachers who fail the teacher licensing exam three times in a row. This is despite the fact that the test has been dumbed down to the 10th grade level. In some states, such tests have been discarded or avoided because the ACLU says they “discriminate.” They do discriminate – against incompetent teachers.

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The facts for this article, but not the legal conclusions, come from a column by Michael Graham in the Boston Herald on 7 April, 2008. It is entitled, “Three Strikes and You’re In.”

Like many other states, Massachusetts has a test for teacher competence. Its apparent purpose is to make sure that teachers there have the abilities to be licensed. The test is constructed at the 10th grade level. You read that right, not college, not junior college, but 10th grade in high school.

Despite the test being so badly dumbed down, it seems that 40 percent of all teachers who take the test each year, flunk it. And now the “pro-education” members of the Massachusetts Senate are considering what to do with teachers who have failed this test, three times in a row,

They are considering a waiver, so these “teechurs” can remain in the classroom. Does it need to be said that these politicians are Democrats who are supported by the “teechurs” unions?

In some states, the teachers’ tests have been withdrawn, because they are in the eyes of the ACLU and others, discriminatory. They reach that conclusion because of disparate pass rates among teachers of different racial backgrounds. In other states, the tests are avoided altogether, for the same reason.

The result, of course, is that “minority” students get less effective teaching from “minority” teachers, and the cycle goes on that some graduates of “majority minority” schools cannot read their diplomas, and many of them are handicapped in going to college, or taking a job that requires reading and reasoning skills.

But somehow, “minority” never includes Asian-Americans. That particular minority is lumped in which Caucasian students. Because otherwise, that minority would be revealed as outperforming all other groups.

Back to the situation in Massachusetts. In 1998 the Mass. Department of Education dealt with a failure rate on this test of 60 percent, by lowering the passing grade to a D. That immediately got the failure rate down to 40 percent.

“Two weeks of media mockery” caused the standards to be raised again, The Commissioner of Education then resigned, not because the standards were lowered, but because they were raised again.

The column quotes the Chairman of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Education as saying, “Some people don’t test well.” The columnist replies, “Yeah, well, Senator, some people don’t swim well, either, but I’m not going to grant them a waiver to become a lifeguard.”

The columnist points out that Boston spends $16,000 per student, per year. At that price, the teachers in the classrooms ought to be functioning above, not below, the 10th grade level.

Source for original story on the Net:

http://www.bostonherald.com/news/opinion/op_ed/view.bg?articleid=1085399