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Monday, December 10, 2012

Susan Ohanian On L.A.'s Rubber Rooms

LAUSD Rubber Rooms Crowd Up

Susan O'Hanian

lausdprisoner Comment: 

This is Deasy's LAUSD: Facts don't matter. The principal documents the teacher is innocent. So Deasy sends the "case" downtown where a "committee" confirms her innocence and unanimously recommends the teacher be returned to the classroom. Deasy then removes the case from the committee and forces the principal to issue a Notice of Unsatisfactory Act, Suspension and the initiation of dismissal proceedings (which means automatic dismissal despite the facts) for a non incident the principal him/herself has documented was a non incident. 

Facts don't matter. 

I was charged with a false, hearsay allegation. The police told me it was hearsay from kids not even in my class. They completely dismissed the case as without merit. LAUSD stuck with the hearsay. They have the statement of the child involved (according to the false hearsay) which totally contradicts the hearsay. LAUSD sticks with the hearsay. 

Facts don't matter. 

Deasy is bragging about firing clearly innocent teachers. Hundreds of them. 

Facts don't matter. 

An angry student accuses a teacher. A month or two later, the student issues a written apology saying he/she lied, that he/she was angry. Deasy orders the principal to issue (or not retract) the Unsatisfactory Act, Suspension and dismissal proceeding (which means dismissal) anyway. 

Facts don't matter. Heil Deasy.

By Hillel Aron 

On the outskirts of LAUSD's sprawling, mazelike Educational Service Center in Reseda sit seven long, shabby, peach-colored bungalows with barred windows and rotting wood, which all but scream Southern California public education. 

In one of them is a roughly 35-square-foot room where 25 or so teachers (and a couple of teacher's assistants) sit at cubicles. They read, listen to music, watch Netlfix on smartphones, play scrabble on Facebook. One sits with his feet up and his head tilted back toward the pockmarked ceiling, fast asleep, snoring loudly through a gaping mouth. The other teachers laugh. His head jerks up and he looks around, takes a swing from a quart of Donald Duck orange juice and goes back to sleep. 

They are teachers in teacher jail, known more popularly as rubber rooms, and the aim is to keep them out of classrooms while allegations against them are investigated. 

Not everybody spends their time so idly during the average 127 days that each one sits, drawing full salaries that average $67,000 a year. One teacher practices the trumpet in the parking lot; another works on her dissertation for a doctorate in education. A Congolese immigrant who knows seven languages is using her time to learn an eighth — Korean. 

But mostly, these teachers sit around and commiserate, a cross between a 12-step group and detention. 

"A lot of us are good teachers," says Carrie Collier, a special ed teacher at Van Nuys Elementary who's been "housed" at the Education Service Center North since Sept. 10. "I know there's no reason for you to believe that — like, 'all inmates in a prison are innocent.' " She was accused by a teacher's aide of nearly closing a door on two rowdy special-needs students and of corralling another student against a wall using a wheeled table. 

Some 300 LAUSD employees now sit in five rubber rooms scattered around L.A. First revealed in 2009 by the Los Angeles Times, the rubber rooms take their nickname from much larger facilities that house New York City teachers who have been accused of wrongdoing or serious incompetence.

The rubber-room day is short, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. But some teachers now are being paid to simply stay at their own homes — because the number of L.A. educators under investigation is roughly twice that of a year ago. 

The big explosion in rubber-room population came after popular Miramonte Elementary School teacher Mark Berndt was charged last January with 23 acts of molesting young LAUSD students — including feeding his students cookies covered with his semen. Just days later, LAUSD revealed that in October 2011, third-grade teacher Paul Chapel at Pacoima's Telfair Elementary School was arrested for abusing 13 small children from 2006 to 2011. 

Berndt awaits trial, a symbol to many of what happens under California's byzantine state laws that make it hard to fire bad, or even dangerous, teachers. 

Chapel, by contrast to Berndt — who refused to step down at Miramonte and could not be easily fired — agreed to a plea deal. So Chapel has already been convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison. 

After Berndt made global headlines as one of the most horrific California teachers in memory, the district aggressively spread the word about what parents, students and other teachers should look for in "appropriate" and "inappropriate" teacher behavior. LAUSD general counsel David Holmquist says that, as a result, "We're seeing more reporting. We really see that as a positive thing." 

Almost as shocking as Berndt's alleged sex perversion was the fact that LAUSD kept the Berndt scandal quiet. Instead of warning parents and moving to fire Berndt — a nightmarish process that could have let Berndt cling to his job for years — LAUSD quietly paid him $40,000 to go away. 

A state audit released last week revealed that out of 429 cases of alleged misconduct, LAUSD failed to promptly report at least 144 to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing, which can revoke a teacher's license but rarely does. LAUSD sat on 31 of those allegations for three years. In one case, a teacher drew a student into a sex relationship but LAUSD officials failed to alert anyone for nearly four years. 

LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy says that before the state audit came out, he had already reformed LAUSD's lackadaisical system. Now, Deasy says, accusations of teacher wrongdoing must be reported to parents within 72 hours. 

When a teacher, administrator or assistant is accused -- say, of showing up to work drunk, or touching a child in an inappropriate manner -- that person is supposed to be immediately reassigned to a rubber room while district officials investigate. 

It's a costly system in which teachers draw their full salary, plus free health care and other benefits provided under teachers union contracts, and a substitute teacher earning salary and benefits of $283 to $352 a day takes over their class for them. 

Many of those at teacher jail in Reseda refused to give their names, saying the district might try to fire them, and that Deasy, who typically moves in a bold and decisive manner, is overreacting. One teacher, claiming that Deasy is stuffing the rubber rooms with teachers because he is guilt-ridden, remarks, "Mr. Deasy has decided that all normal human contact must be reported -- because he didn't report Miramonte." 

Special-ed teacher Collier says Deasy, who has clashed repeatedly with the huge, 35,000-member United Teachers Los Angeles, is on a witch hunt to "thin the ranks of high-paid teachers." 

Deasy denies this. But he does say, proudly, that more certificated employees are being fired for misconduct then ever, in a district where firings have been rare. 

Deasy says that 96 certified employees, mostly teachers, were fired in 2011-2012. 

Explains Deasy. "If there is suspected wrongdoing, we separate the employee [from the students], and then we investigate. Do [we] err on the side of safety? Darn right." 

Holmquist concedes that innocent teachers have "been pulled" from their classrooms and then returned "with apologies." But, he says, "If the safety of our students is No. 1, we have to act like it."

California state laws are stacked heavily against firing teachers. A 2012 law by state Sen. Alex Padilla designed to more easily fire teachers who commit sexual, physically abusive or drug-related acts with students, Senate Bill 1530, went down in flames when four Democrats, fearing the power of the California Teachers Association and UTLA, infamously declined to vote, thus killing the bill. 

Thanks to existing law, it costs LAUSD $500,000 in legal fees and salaries to oust a teacher who decides to fight back. It can cost up to $1.6 million to fire a single teacher. 

In the rubber room in Reseda, most employees willing to talk said the charges against them were trumped up, or that they didn't know why they were there. 

But one teacher seemed to have a pretty good case. She showed L.A. Weekly an Oct. 31 letter from her principal that stated, in part, "The conclusion of my investigation is that the allegation made by the parents is unsubstantiated." But she's still in the rubber room. 

"I would have done the same thing that my principal did," the teacher says, because a parent accused her of spanking a preschool student, which is against state law. But the student and witnesses denied the student was spanked, according to the principal's letter. "I should've been here two days," the frustrated teacher said. 

Of course, not every teacher in teacher jail is wrongly accused. Clay Geilfuss, 66, a kindergarten teacher, admits to improperly spanking a very young student "out of frustration." Says Geilfuss, "I blew it. ... Nobody's perfect. To think that teachers are beyond reproach is silly." 

He'd like more counseling for stressed-out teachers. "In the past, if something had gotten to the principal, it would've been handled at his level. Now it's like the big shots are trying to micromanage things." 

But the old way in LAUSD allowed horrible people who never should have been near children to remain in classrooms for years. 

For now, it seems, the LAUSD rubber rooms will do a brisk business. 

Appellate Court Rules That ATR Status For A Tenured Teacher Does Not Violate Any "Clear and Unequivocal" Mandate

In re Diana Hrisinko, Petitioner-Appellant, v Board of Education of the City
School District of the City of New York, et al., Respondents-Respondents.
8752 110191/08

2012 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 8328; 2012 NY Slip Op 8431
December 6, 2012, Decided
December 6, 2012, Entered

COUNSEL: [*1] The White Rose Group, LLC, Jackson Heights (Jesse C. Rose of counsel), for appellant.
Michael A. Cardozo, Corporation Counsel, New York (Fay Ng of counsel), for respondents.
JUDGES: Tom, J.P., Mazzarelli, Moskowitz, Abdus-Salaam, Feinman, JJ.

Appeal from order, Supreme Court, New York County (Joan B. Lobis, J.), entered August 19, 2011, which denied petitioner's motion for an order holding respondents in contempt of an order, same court (Marilyn G. Diamond, J.), entered March 3, 2010 (the prior order), unanimously dismissed, without costs.

The 2011 order is not appealable as of right, as it was "made in a proceeding against a body or officer pursuant to [CPLR] article 78" (CPLR 5701[b][1]; see Matter of Storman v New York City Dept. of Educ., 95 AD3d 776, 777 [1st Dept 2012], appeal dismissed 19 NY3d 1023 [2012]). We decline to grant petitioner leave to appeal from that order in the interest of justice.

Were we to review the 2011 order, we would find that the motion court providently exercised its discretion in holding that respondents should not be held in contempt (see Storman, 95 AD3d at 777; Richards v Estate of Kaskel, 169 AD2d 111, 122 [1st Dept 1991], lv dismissed in part, denied in part [*2] 78 NY2d 1042 [1991]). Although the prior order declared that petitioner had "been a tenured teacher of Commercial Art'" since September 2, 2005, it did not reference the "Commercial Art" position, or any other specific teaching assignment, in its mandate, instead directing only that
petitioner be reinstated "to her position as a tenured teacher." "Any ambiguity in the court's mandate should be resolved in favor of the would-be contemnor" (Kaskel, 169 AD2d at 122). Accordingly, we find that, in reinstating petitioner to the position of tenured teacher and assigning her to serve as an absent teacher reserve, respondents did not violate any "clear [**2] and unequivocal" mandate (Storman, 95 AD3d at 777 [internal quotation marks omitted]; see Matter of Department of Envtl. Protection of City of N.Y. v Department of Envtl. Conservation of State of N.Y., 70 NY2d 233, 240
Page 1


Diana Hrisinko, Plaintiff-Appellant,Josefina Cruz, Andrea Shapiro, Diana Lee Friedline, Ismael Diaz, Anthony Ferraro, Elaine Jackson, Midge Maroni, David McMullen, Ram Narine, Geraldine Whittington, Gloria Chavez, Fitzroy Kington, Erica Weingast, Plaintiffs,v.New York City Department of Education, Graphic Communication Arts High School, Jerod Resnick, Dominic Cipollone, Edward Demeo, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis High School, M.S. 219, Eric Brand, Judith Silverman, Defendants-Appellees.

No. 08-6071-cv.

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit.

March 11, 2010.

DIANA HRISINKO, pro se, New York, N.Y., for Appellant.
MICHAEL A. CARDOZO, Corporation Counsel of the City of New York, New York, N.Y., for Appellees.
Present: JOSEPH M. McLAUGHLIN, Circuit Judge, KIMBA M. WOOD,* District Judge.**


UPON DUE CONSIDERATION, it is hereby ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that the judgment of the district court is AFFIRMED in part and VACATED and REMANDED in part.
Plaintiff-Appellant Diana Hrisinko, pro se, appeals from a judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Rakoff, J.), granting summary judgment to the Defendants-Appellees and dismissing Appellant's complaint brought pursuant to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 ("ADEA"), as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq., and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, actionable through 42 U.S.C. § 1983. We assume the parties' familiarity with the underlying facts and procedural history of the case.
We review orders granting summary judgment de novo and determine whether the district court properly concluded there was no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Cronin v. Aetna Life Ins. Co.,46 F.3d 196, 202-03 (2d Cir. 1995).1
As an initial matter, we note that Appellant has not challenged the dismissal of her § 1983 claim against the New York City Department of Education on the ground that her principal did not have final policymaking authority. Thus, we affirm this dismissal. See Losacco v. City of Middletown,71 F.3d 88, 92 (2d Cir. 1995).
The ADEA prohibits employers from refusing to hire, discharging, or otherwise discriminating against an employee with regard to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of age.2See 29 U.S.C. § 623(a)(1). Historically, this Court has applied the burden-shifting framework of McDonnell-Douglas to ADEA claims. See, e.g., D'Cunha v. Genovese/Eckerd Corp.,479 F.3d 193, 194-95 (2d Cir. 2007) (per curiam). The Supreme Court recently held that under the plain language of the ADEA, an employee bringing a disparate treatment claim must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that age was the "but-for" cause behind the employer's adverse decision, and not merely one of the motivating factors. Gross v. FBL Fin. Servs., Inc.,129 S.Ct. 2343 (2009). The Supreme Court noted that it had "not definitively decided whether the evidentiary framework of [McDonnell Douglas], utilized in Title VII cases is appropriate in the ADEA context," id. at 2349 n.2, and did not apply its burden-shifting framework in holding that the ADEA does not authorize a "mixed-motives age discrimination claim," id. at 2350-52. In a recent opinion, this Court held that, although Gross changed the latter part of the McDonnell Douglas formulation "by eliminating the mixed-motive analysis that circuit courts had brought into the ADEA from Title VII cases," this Court remained bound by the burden-shifting framework previously employed in this Circuit. See Gorzynski v. Jetblue Airways Corp., ___ F.3d ___, 2010 WL 569367, at *11 (2d Cir. Feb. 19, 2010).
If a plaintiff alleges a prima facie case of discrimination and the employer demonstrates a legitimate, non-retaliatory reason for the challenged employment decision, the plaintiff must present evidence that would be sufficient to permit a rational jury to conclude that the employer's explanation is merely a pretext for impermissible discrimination. Id. at *10. In order to establish a prima facie case of discrimination, a plaintiff must show that: (1) she was within the protected age group; (2) she was qualified for the position; (3) she experienced an adverse employment action; and (4) such action occurred under circumstances giving rise to an inference of discrimination. See Carlton v. Mystic Transp., Inc.,202 F.3d 129, 134 (2d Cir. 2000).
Appellant challenges the district court's conclusion that she failed to establish an adverse employment action under the ADEA. An adverse employment action occurs when there is a "materially adverse change" in the terms and conditions of employment. A materially adverse change must be "`more disruptive than a mere inconvenience or an alteration of job responsibilities,'" and can include "`termination of employment, a demotion evidenced by a decrease in wage or salary, a less distinguished title, a material loss of benefits, significantly diminished material responsibilities, or other indices... unique to a particular situation.'" See Galabya v. New York City Bd. of Educ.,202 F.3d 636, 641 (2d Cir. 2000) (quoting Crady v. Liberty Nat'l Bank & Trust Co. of Indiana,993 F.2d 132, 136 (7th Cir. 1993)). In Galabya,an excessed teacher was transferred to a different high school and was assigned a position teaching mainstream keyboarding, despite the fact that his previous teaching experience had been in special education. Id. at 638-39. This Court found that the transfer did not constitute an adverse employment action because he could not demonstrate that the change in responsibilities was a "setback to his career." Id. at 641.
Here, although Appellant's salary and benefits would have remained the same had she continued teaching at Graphic Communications Arts High School ("GCA"), she would have remained in the position of a substitute teacher — arguably a less distinguished title, involving diminished responsibilities — indefinitely, and there is no evidence that GCA would have attempted to find her a more permanent position. Thus, it appears that the only way Appellant could obtain a more permanent position was to seek employment elsewhere. In doing so, Appellant terminated her probationary period, causing her to lose the opportunity to receive tenure at GCA. Whether Appellant remained a substitute teacher or left to obtain a more permanent position, Appellant faced changes in the terms and conditions of her employment that rise to the level of an adverse employment action. See Back v. Hastings on Hudson Union Free Sch. Dist.,365 F.3d 107, 116-17 & n.3 (2d Cir. 2004) (assuming, without holding, that the termination of a probationary period was an adverse employment action in the employment discrimination context). Because, as the district court concluded, the plaintiffs in this case collectively introduced evidence sufficient to create an inference of discrimination, 561 F. Supp. 2d at 425, Appellant has set forth aprima facie case of age discrimination.
Defendants argue that they have articulated a legitimate, business reason for their decision to excess Appellant. They state that because of staff reductions due to a reduced student population there was no longer any demand for an instructor teaching under a Cold Type Composition license. Even assuming this is sufficient evidence on summary judgment to demonstrate a legitimate business reason for excessing Appellant, construing the facts in the light most favorable to Appellant, her assertion that several younger teachers had recently been hired at the time she was excessed could demonstrate that defendants' reasons were, in fact, pretextual.3 Thus, Appellant's ADEA and equal protection claims are remanded to the district court for further proceedings.
We have considered Appellant's remaining arguments and find them to be without merit. For the reasons stated above, the judgment of the district court is AFFIRMED in part and VACATED and REMANDED in part for further proceedings in accordance with this decision.
* Kimba M. Wood, Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, sitting by designation.

** The Honorable Rosemary S. Pooler, originally a member of the panel, did not participate in consideration of this appeal. The two remaining members of the panel, who are in agreement, have determined the matter. See 28 U.S.C. § 46(d); 2d Cir. Internal Operating Procedure E; United States v. Desimone, 140 F.3d 457 (2d Cir. 1998).

1. Appellant's motions to add legal precedents and to file a supplemental reply brief are GRANTED. We consider only the evidence submitted by Appellant that was before the district court.

2. The district court concluded that Appellant's equal protection claim brought pursuant to § 1983 is not preempted by the ADEA, and that her remaining § 1983 claim is properly analyzed under the same standards as a claim made pursuant to the ADEA. Shapiro v. New York City Dept. of Educ.,561 F.Supp.2d 413, 419-20, 422 n.2 (S.D.N.Y. 2008). The parties do not challenge either of these conclusions on appeal. Accordingly, our analysis of Appellant's ADEA claims, infra, also applies to Appellant's remaining § 1983 claim.

3. We note that the district court, in finding summary judgment inappropriate as to a co-plaintiff's discrimination claim, appears to have credited the allegation that "defendants have sought only to select and promote employees with newer teaching licenses (Commercial Art rather than Cold Type Composition), and that this adversely affects older employees, because only individuals over age 40 are likely to possess a Cold Type License." 561 F. Supp. 2d at 426.

Brace for lawsuit if ‘demotion’ involves less prestige, fewer opportunities

Employees who are transferred against their will often sue for discrimination—especially if the new job is less prestigious and makes the employee feel like she has to quit.
For example, in the following case, an older teacher claimed she suffered an adverse employment action when she was demoted to substitute teacher at the same time younger teachers were hired.
Recent case: Diana Hrisinko and other experienced New York City teachers with teaching certificates found out they were being moved into substitute teaching positions. The school system blamed the moves on declining student enrollment—and also said older teaching certificates were less desirable than new ones.
It said that’s why it hired the younger teachers.
Hrisinko sued, alleging age discrimination, and claimed she had no choice but to quit. She said that being a substitute teacher is less prestigious than having one’s own classroom and doesn’t offer the same opportunities for promotion and tenure.
The court agreed Hrisinko had endured an adverse employment action even if her pay and benefits were the same. The court also agreed that the system’s hiring of younger teachers might be evidence of age discrimination. The court reasoned that only older teachers held older certificates; thus they were the only teachers affected by the decision. The court sent the case to trial so a jury can decide whether discrimination occurred. (Hrisinko, et al., v. New York City Department of Education, No. 08-6071, 2nd Cir., 2010)

AFT Recommends an Entry 'Bar' Exam for Teachers

Randi Weingarten

How About a Bar Exam for Teachers?

To become a lawyer, Abraham Lincoln was required by Illinois law only to "obtain a certificate procured from the court of an Illinois county certifying to the applicant's good moral character." That 19th-century standard, along with Lincoln's self-taught legal training, was sufficient for our extraordinary 16th president. Over the years, however, the legal profession saw the need to include formal training and establish a high standard for entry into its ranks, as did the medical profession.
Every profession worth its salt goes through such periods of self-examination. That time has come for the teaching profession.

We must do away with the common rite of passage whereby new teachers are thrown into classrooms, expected to figure things out, and left to see if they (and their students) sink or swim. Such a haphazard approach to the complex and crucial enterprise of educating children is wholly inadequate. It's unfair to both students and teachers, who want and need to be well-prepared to teach from their first day on the job.
Success in today's economy requires ingenuity and the ability to apply knowledge. Yet America's testing fixation stifles creativity and critical thinking, something that the rich, rigorous Common Core State Standards (which most states have adopted) can change. Raising the bar for students raises it for their teachers as well. To help teachers meet this challenge, the American Federation of Teachers has developed a proposal for an unprecedented leap in elevating the quality of the teaching profession.

Instead of the current hodgepodge approach to teacher certification and licensing, we propose that all prospective teachers in the United States take a rigorous bar exam that gauges mastery of subject-matter knowledge and demonstrates competency in how to teach it. The process could be modeled after the bar exam for lawyers or the board certification of medical doctors.
Teacher preparation is a high national priority in the countries that consistently top international academic rankings. It is past time for the U.S. to follow a similar path. Practicing teachers in K-12 and higher education should own responsibility for setting and enforcing the teaching profession's standards.

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards could lead in establishing common professional standards, aligning teacher-preparation with those standards, and assuring that candidates meet them. The way to do that is through a teachers' bar process.
I have worked as both a teacher and a lawyer. I was utterly petrified the first day I taught my own high-school students, whereas I was quite confident the first time I represented a client in a courtroom. My legal training included three years of formal study, clinical experience with established lawyers on real-world cases, and passing a grueling bar exam that the legal profession had deemed demonstrated the knowledge and ability to serve successfully as a new lawyer.

As an alternatively certified teacher, my preparation consisted of condensed coursework and valuable but limited student teaching—far less than I needed. Surveys of teachers show that many who go through traditional teacher-preparation programs feel they aren't adequately prepared to manage and teach students early in their career. Alternatively certified teachers feel even less prepared. Yet teachers assume an enormous responsibility from day one. And when they struggle, the response is too often the threat of termination, not an offer of assistance.

Setting a bar for entry into the teaching profession requires strengthening and aligning many components. Standards for admission to and completion of teacher-preparation programs should be appropriately high. Curricula should address the specific knowledge and skills that competent beginning teachers need. Preparation must include extensive experience in actual classrooms working with accomplished teachers. Mastery should be demonstrated not just through a written exam but also through demonstrations of a candidate's ability to teach. High standards for entry into the profession should apply to all prospective teachers, whether they pursue traditional or alternative certification.
The teaching profession is full of dedicated, talented teachers, but much of their expertise is developed only once they're on the job. Better preparing teachers for entry into the profession will dramatically reduce the loss of new teachers—nearly half of whom leave after fewer than five years—and the loss of knowledge that goes with it. As widespread teacher retirements sweep across the nation's schools (1.6 million in the next decade alone), our proposal will help create a constant supply of well-prepared educators ready from day one to help children achieve at high levels.
Ms. Weingarten is president of the American Federation of Teachers.

AFT recommends an entry 'bar' exam for teachers


by Donna Krache, CNN
(CNN) The American Federation of Teachers has issued a report advocating an entry exam for all teacher candidates, like the bar exam taken by aspiring lawyers.
The test, which would be required of all future teachers nationwide, would be given to candidates regardless of whether they are entering the profession through traditional means or “an alternative route.”
The AFT report titled “Raising the Bar: Aligning and Elevating Teacher Preparation and the Teaching Profession”  included a statement by AFT president Randi Weingarten: “We must do away with a common rite of passage, whereby newly minted teachers are tossed the keys to their classrooms, expected to figure things out, and left to see if they (and their students) sink or swim. Such a haphazard approach to the complex and crucial enterprise of educating children is wholly inadequate. It’s unfair to both students and teachers, who want and need to be well-prepared to teach from their first day on the job. At a time when we are raising the standards for students through the Common Core State Standards, we must do the same for teachers.”
The report suggests that the exam be multidimensional and include subject knowledge as well as pedagogical knowledge. In other words, in addition to having to know the subject they teach, teachers would have to demonstrate that they had the qualities to be “caring, competent and confident.”
The report also states the responsibility for setting professional standards and establishing quality teacher preparation programs should reside with K-12 educators and teacher-educators.
Currently, teacher certification is determined by the individual states in which the teacher will hold a license; requirements vary widely.  Many states have different types of certification that require exams, practice teaching, and college courses. All 50 states require at least a Bachelor’s Degree and some clinical experience as minimum requirements for licensure.
The American Federation of Teachers is an affiliate of the AFL-CIO that represents more than 1.5 million members, according to the union’s website.
You can read the AFT report here.
We want to know what you think: Should teachers be required to take a standardized professional exam before being licensed to teach?  You can post your comments below.