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State proposes teacher testing, pencil manufacturers rejoice

By Matt Wood in News on Jan 18, 2006 3:07PM

2006_01_scantron.jpgDeeming it unfair that the students get to have all the fun during Standardized Testing Season, the Illinois State Board of Education's Rules Committee will consider new guidelines today that would require some teachers to pass up to 10 exams to keep their jobs. The rules have been proposed to meet requirements of No Child Left Behind law demand that all teachers be "highly qualified" by the end of the year. The rest of the board is expected to approve the rules Thursday.

The rules will mostly affect middle school teachers, special education instructors, and high school teachers who teach more than one subject. To pass muster, they must have either a bachelor's or graduate degree in each subject they teach, advanced certification in each subject, or pass a state test for each. Otherwise they have to sharpen up those #2 pencils and prove their worth by filling in ovals on up to 10 standard exams.

Sounds pretty fair. Chicagoist always assumed that our teachers had college degrees or had passed some sort of test proving their worth. We usually call those tests "interviews". See, we also trusted that the school administrators knew what they were doing and only hired people they deemed worthy, instead of going by their skill in completing Scantron sheets. With an already chronic shortage of teachers, the rules could potentially shut out 25,000 Illinois teachers and subs and dissuade others from entering the field. For a profession that notoriously pays dick, increasing the number of flaming hoops recruits must jump through isn't a smart way to entice fresh talent.

No worries though kids, if you don't have any teachers, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn wants to make sure you at least have your own laptop. Yesterday he urged the state legislature to dip into sales tax revenues to buy a laptop for every 7th grade public school student. He estimates that all the gear, tech support, and training would cost $300 per student. That should buy a nice Dell cinder block running Windows 98 that needs to be reformatted every two weeks after those kids finish downloading spyware games and Black Eyed Peas MP3s.