report on teacher shortage and testing
- Subject: report on teacher shortage and testing
- From: Monty Neill <Mneillft@AOL.COM>
- Date: Fri, 27 Aug 1999 14:57:23 EDT
- Comments: To: email@example.com
- Reply-to: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
- Sender: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
I just received a report from the Applied Research Center, "Creating Crisis:
How California's teaching policies aggravate racial inequalities in public
schools." It demonstrates the critical and growing lack of minority teachers,
then examines the policies which create the problem. A key one is testing;
prospective teachers in California have to pass a series of tests to get
There is a strong 4-page section in which a person details his/her experience
taking the CBEST test and explains what a travesty of education and how
racist and culturally biased it is.
The recommendations call for eliminating the current kinds of tests and
instituting more effective and fair assessments, tho it does not detail these.
It may be that the report would be strengthened by confronting more directly
the central claim of test proponents: that first of all, teachers must be
prepared academically. At one extreme, it is the "anyone who knows the
subject can teach," a complete rejection of pedagogy; a softer variant would
be first subject knowledge, then pedagogy, ability to relate to students, etc.
The ARC report does debunk the idea that the tests represent serious subject
knowledge (e.g., in the 4-page CBEST "experience") and in pointing out how
the needs of students of color are not met by a mostly-white teaching force.
Taken together, I think these points are critical to refuting the arguements
of the testers. But a federal district court judge decided the CBEST was a
legitimate, valid measure of academic basic knowledge and he was upheld by
the federal circuit court. And the issue of exclusion of people of color as
not only harmful to the excluded teachers but to the students has not I think
made sufficient progress since the rebuttal is, don't you think black,
Latino, etc. students need an academically qualified teacher? I think more
needs to be done to bring together these two arguements against the tests and
their use, and to think about how effective they have been and what can be
done to strengthen them among the various publics -- some of whom are no
doubt far more receptive to the ARC arguments than are others.
I don't see a price on the report. ARC has a website www.arc.org and an
email address firstname.lastname@example.org -- I assume you can obtain a copy from one or
both of those routes.
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