I wrote here that Rep. Ward’s bill went too far in eliminating the basic skills test for teacher licensure. In that post, I highlighted the difference between SF547 and HF171. Rep. Ward’s bill eliminates testing for reading, writing and math skills. Sen. Bonoff’s bill keeps that requirement.
This morning, this PiPress editorial has a simple message:
[M]inimum standards for all teachers are a common-sense expectation for our schools. Lawmakers should insist on them.
The PiPress editorial notes that the minimum standards test isn’t perfect. They note, however, that lawmakers are insisting on accountability:
Rep. Andrea Kieffer, a Woodbury Republican who sponsored the 2012 teacher-testing bill, said she has added her name to a House bill to address some of the issues, but as far as repeal is concerned, “I have to ask, ‘Why?’ ” she told us.
“Teacher effectiveness is the No. 1 factor in academic success,” Kieffer said. If a teacher has trouble with basic grammar, spelling or math, “should they be teaching our kids in the classroom?”
Based on Rep. Ward’s legislation, it’s apparent that Tom Dooher, the president of Education Minnesota, thinks passing the test isn’t important. Rep. Kieffer isn’t the only legislator who’s pushing for teacher accountability:
The public “expects accountability,” said Sen. Dave Thompson, a Republican from Lakeville, who said he would be very disturbed “if this ends up being repealed and all of a sudden the whole concept of a basic skills test goes away.”
Rep. Ward’s legislation would repeal the basic skills test. That isn’t the right direction. That’s taking Minnesota students, parents and other taxpayers in the wrong direction.
If Rep. Ward is going to be Tom Dooher’s puppet, then his constituents in Brainerd need to send him the message that he isn’t representing their views.