AFT Proposes 'Bar Exam' for Teachers

PASSING THE BAR: AFT leader Randi Weingarten is floating the idea of a national "bar exam" as a new requirement for would-be teachers. The idea, presented as one of three major recommendations in the AFT's latest report Raising the Bar, is short on details -- there's a call for a comprehensive written component and "a rigorous teacher performance assessment, including actual instruction and reflection on instruction" -- but that hasn't stopped the critics. EduWonk-er Andy Rotherham says he'd be "a lot more excited if the AFT announced it wanted to pursue more of a guild model and see what we can learn from that approach." He also wonders if the proposal is a poorly masked attempt to pull the reins on a decentralized credentialling process that's gained momentum through TFA and moving towards extinction with the rise of the MOOC. Teachers aren't holding back either -- in this EdWeek community forum, teacher/lawyer John Prosser provides a compelling anecdote for why a "bar exam" can't produce better prepared teachers. We're staying mum until more details emerge, though relegating design of the assessment to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) could produce a process that's out of touch with what's really happening on the ground.


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