What if excellent educators led every classroom in Alabama?
Finding and hiring and supporting that kind of talent should be the goal of every school board member and state legislator.
A new report from the National Council on Teacher Quality indicates Alabama has made a notable leap toward that goal. By earning a B-minus, Alabama was among the top four states for teacher preparation policies in 2012, up from a C in 2011. This places Alabama above the national average of D-plus and one of just 14 states to show improvement from the previous year.
So how did we do it?
The state Board of Education — not the Legislature — adopted several standards that make it tougher to become a teacher.
Middle school teachers in Alabama must pass tests in every core subject in which they are licensed. Elementary teachers must have an in-depth knowledge of the core content in writing, grammar and composition. And full-time education students must spend at least 10 weeks in a school classroom.
The National Council on Teacher Quality also outlined ways the state can attract the best candidates and weed out low performers, including raising the minimum ACT and SAT scores for candidates before they are admitted to education programs and raising salaries for the profession in general.
Public schools in Alabama are improving. If the Legislature would quit interfering with Board of Education efforts, real progress is possible.
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