Teacher Bar Exam? Recommendations Impact Teaching Candidates


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Bar Exam For Techers? Impact on Teacher Candidates

Teacher preparation programs looking at overhaul. Photo by Mconnors

There is a connection between these recommendations and the current National Board Certification process organized by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

The idea here is that the new teacher certification program might look a little bit like the rigorous process that teachers go through for National Board Certification.

Indeed, the task force specifically states that while National Board Certification is highly respected, the teaching profession as a whole is not supported or respected due to the lack of a rigorous entry bar.

Charlie Mann, a teacher’s union representative, told Decoded Science that his impression of the concept of a teacher’s Bar as the AFT has outlined,

“… is that it’s another means for Big Brother to control or indoctrinate a New World Order of teachers.”

His biggest concern is that many people are unable to successfully take exams, preventing them from ever entering the teaching profession, regardless of knowledge or teaching ability.

Teaching Credential Changes: More Work Needed

While much research and collaboration went into the task force that created these recommendations for improvement in the teacher preparation programs, the AFT also addresses the fact that there are gaps in the ability to improve the programs. For instance, they cite gaps in research connecting who will become a successful teacher with the preparation program curriculum, instruction and clinical experiences.

While the task force has made many suggestions, there still needs to be a specific criterion for the entry bar for new teachers and this work must begin with more research and assessment into what teachers need to know and be able to do. Likewise, those involved need to take a hard look at the current state certification process to evaluate where it is lacking and to create a more rigorous test.


Rosales, J. Pay Based on Test Scores? NEA Today. Accessed on December 9, 2012.

Lawrence, F., et. al. Raising the Bar Aligning and Elevating Teacher Preparation and the Teaching Profession. (2012) American Federation of Teachers Report. Accessed on December 9, 2012.

Interview with Charlie Mann, Teachers Union Representative to Port Towns Elementary School in Prince Georges’ County, Maryland. December 6, 2012.

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