I began my teaching odyssey back in 1987 in Iowa. In Iowa, I graduated from an NCATE school and was approved for teacher certification. I went back and picked up some science endorsements by taking several courses and applying. It wasn’t until I considered teaching in other states that I became familiar with the testing of teachers. It seemed incredibly odd to me that I had a certificate from a state with an almost 100% literacy rate and among the best in education by any measure used, and it was not good enough to teach in states struggling to make 50% literacy or a 50% graduation rate.
Georgia seems to exhibit the most hubris for a state routinely looking at 49th or 50th place in education. I sometimes wonder how I ended up here, as I had taken the National Teacher’s Exam (NTE) in order to teach in several states. However, this was also not sufficient for Georgia. They had the Teacher Certification Test (TCT) which I took for Agriculture and later for EBD, despite having a master’s degree from one of their own accredited institutions and programs. And then they finally went with the Praxis tests, joining other states in assessing their teachers.
Are you keeping score? NTE (an early version of Praxis), TCT, Praxis, and now?….
Georgia has once again decided to go it alone. Say goodbye to Praxis and hello to the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators or GACE, pronounced GAY-see. Beginning this fall, the GACE will be used and beginning next year, the Praxis will no longer be accepted. For those of us already certified in Georgia, our TCT and Praxis scores will still be good. They claim this new test is aligned to national standards, but they have not even established validity yet! I know other states do their own testing and develop their own standards, and that’s the nature of our educational system. But I think it is a joke. It seems to me with Georgia consistently bringing up the tail end of educational performance, they would accept certificates from just about any teacher that could help improve things. But instead, they become even more exclusionary, requiring teachers coming into the state to take Georgia’s version of a test in order to get their certificate. Which basically means that this is simply revenue machine for the state.
And then they wonder why education does so poorly, here.
We just learned that in order to be considered “highly qualified” to teach any self-contained special education classes at the high school level, teachers will also have to take the the MR test. I already took it, as that is how I moved from EBD to where I am now. But many of those teachers who thought they would get by with that one test (0511) last year, are now learning that they will need ANOTHER test! Egad.
The federal regulations for IDEA 2004 are not completed yet, so there are no state regulations, yet. In other words, we are still working under IDEA 1997. Not that it was that bad, before, but it just goes to show how slow things work.