Saturday, March 18, 2017

Creating Pathways to Teaching (Not Building Walls): Eliminating the Academic Literacy Skills Test Will Produce More and More Effective Teachers | Ed In The Apple

Creating Pathways to Teaching (Not Building Walls): Eliminating the Academic Literacy Skills Test Will Produce More and More Effective Teachers | Ed In The Apple:

Creating Pathways to Teaching (Not Building Walls): Eliminating the Academic Literacy Skills Test Will Produce More and More Effective Teachers


Every year the Alumni Association of the City College of New York hosts a “How to Get a Job” session. A panel: principals and teachers who serve on hiring committees interact with prospective teachers in the teacher preparation program. The overriding question this year: is it true that we no longer have to take the Academic Literacy Skills Test (ALST)? Followed by sighs of relief when the answer was “yes.”
Unfortunately the path to the classroom in New York State has become an obstacle course.
There is a dramatic difference between making teaching candidates jump through meaningless hoops and preparing teachers for the classroom.
A major study, What Matters Most:  Teaching for America’s Future (1996), an influential report of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, made teaching the core of its “three simple premises” in its blueprint for reforming the nation’s schools. They are:
  • What teachers know and can do is the most important influence on what students learn.
  • Recruiting, preparing, and retaining good teachers is the central strategy for improving our schools.
  • School reform cannot succeed unless it focuses on creating the conditions under which teachers can teach and teach well.
For well over 100 years New York City has required prospective teachers to demonstrate competence on a pre-service exam. The Board of Examiners was created in 1898 along with the consolidation of the boroughs into New York City. The first wave of reform began with the passage of the Pendleton Act (1883), the law that created the federal civil service; hiring should be based on merit rather than political connections and hiring practices in the states began to reflect the  national reform movement.


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