A recent report by National Public Radio explored the idea of a bar exam for teachers, a proposal New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently embraced in his State of the State address.
Experts on the topic told NPR reporter Claudio Sanchez that the system for preparing and licensing teachers in the United States is in complete disarray. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers and a former lawyer, said there are different certification requirements that vary state by state. It’s an archaic system that she said must be replaced with one question in mind: “How do you ensure that an individual teacher walking into her classroom the first day is confident and competent?”
The AFT outlined its position in a recent report called “Raising the Bar.”
Gotham Gazette reported recently that New York is moving toward tougher requirements for entry into teacher-preparation programs. In his speech, Cuomo said teachers should take such a test and pass it “before we put them in a classroom.”
The idea was one of the recommendations offered by the governor’s education reform panel. Its preliminary report said prospective teachers should have a minimum 3.0 grade point average. It also called for adopting a bar exam, pointing out that the state’s current certification exam has a 99 percent pass rate.