Why isn't there one cert for teachers?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by MrD, May 22, 2020.

  1. MrD

    MrD Rookie

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    May 22, 2020

    Does anyone know why there is not one national test and certification for all teachers? IE in Nursing, The National Council Licensure Examination is a nationwide examination for the licensing of nurses in the United States which grants them access to be an (RN or PRN, depending on the NCLEX) anywhere in all fifty states. Why don't teachers get this?

    One National Professional Educator Certification Examination for all 50 US States & Territories.
     
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  3. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Because standards vary by state. There is much opposition to federalizing education any more than it already is.
     
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  4. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    May 22, 2020

    Because education is a state's right, and each state has the authority to set its own standards. Those standards are so very different. For example, If you want to go from VA to NC, it is easy-peasy. If you want to go from NC to VA, it isn't so easy. VA has much higher standards -- you take the same tests, but you have to have a much higher score on those tests to pass in VA than in NC.

    Another example is that states that are unionized tend to have much higher standards for teacher certifications. Teachers make more money, and therefore you can make the bar higher when it comes to requirements. A state like NC (no unions, low pay, low passing test scores) already has hard time finding teachers even with their lower testing standards. If they were to raise them to say the level of NY, they'd never be able to fill the positions.

    Our founding fathers firmly believed in states-rights. Each state has its own curriculum and graduation requirements. Those may be hugely different in an agricultural state, in a factory state, and in a technology state. They firmly believed that the power to decide must rest with each state. The qualifications of teachers went right along with that.

    Don't even get me started on per-pupil spending by state. How is it fair that one state pays more than double another for per pupil?
     
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  5. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    May 23, 2020

    Fun fact: a teacher is EITHER licensed OR certified, and which one it is depends on what the issuing state chooses to call it.* In contrast, a nurse - I'm referring here to registered nurses, not LPNs - or a doctor can be BOTH licensed AND certified: licensed by a given state to practice as a nurse or doctor within the borders of that state AND certified to practice in a specialty area (say, gerontology or anesthesia) by the national board that governs that specialty. I know that a doctor must renew the state license every five years, retaking the final eight or twelve hours of the national licensing exam each time, and that a doctor with a specialty (and, trust me, Family Practice, with capital F and capital P, IS a specialty) must also renew that certification every five years, retaking the requisite board certification exam, which is also national but by no means the same thing as the licensing exam.

    A national examination program succeeds because enough of the stakeholders agree to accept it and to keep accepting it. NCLEX for nurses works nationwide because it's acceptable to the board of medical examiners (or whatever it's called locally) in each US state and territory; because it's acceptable to the groups that run nursing education programs and that accredit those programs; because it's acceptable to nurses' organizations at the national and state levels; and because it's acceptable to other groups that work with or hire or at some point pay nurses, including a staggering number of programs in the federal government, a less staggering but more vocal number of doctors' organizations, and of course health maintenance organizations and the health insurance industry.

    As RainStorm has hinted above, however, there's nothing like that kind of consensus in education. ETS's National Teacher Examination series was in place, I think, in the 1980s but was already losing ground as of the late 1990s, by which time ETS was going strong with its Praxis brand. Praxis was clearly intended to be national, though it was left to each to decide for each test what the "cut score" - the minimum score required to pass - might be, and California was far from the only state for which one or more state-specific Praxis tests were developed. Seeing this demand, National Evaluation Systems started pitching its ability to design a test series aligned to a state's own content standards - this is the origin of CSET for California and the punny TExES series for Texas, though later Praxis recaptured TExES and Georgia's GACE series. NES exams were likelier to include constructed-response components; I'm probably alone in believing that the extent to which the questions required test takers to reason rather than regurgitate was an advantage. After NES was acquired by Pearson and turned into the Evaluation Systems subgroup, Pearson introduced the computer-based NESTest series as yet another attempt at a national series; parts of NESTest have been picked up by a handful of states, though several still also retain their own tests (Oregon's ORELA on student and civil rights in the classroom, Arizona's AEPA exam on the Arizona and US constitutions) where NES has no helpful duplicate.

    *A sociolinguistics student could possibly squeeze a term paper out of studying the areal distribution of "licensure" vs. "certification" and what drives it. I hope someone does: I'd love to know why California teachers alone are neither "licensed" nor "certified" but rather "credentialed".
     
  6. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    May 23, 2020

    I’d also love to know where and why being “endorsed” or having “endorsements” fits into that. In one state, I have an overall teaching license with endorsements in individual areas. In another state I am certified in individual areas.
     
  7. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    May 23, 2020

    Have you studied US Government and Civics?
    That should answer your question.

    Once you have an idea, shouldn't the very next thing you understand be how the institution you are fighting against works and what issues you may be up against?
     
  8. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    May 23, 2020

    On a related note, this came in an email from our state NEA legislative director yesterday:

    "TEACHER CERTIFICATION RECIPROCITY

    The legislature approved HB 2046 (Grier) to revise reciprocity provisions for a variety of professions including teacher certification. The bill includes reciprocity for licensed teachers in good standing from other states with at least one year of teaching experience at the same level of professional practice. The bill will not override existing multistate compacts or the authority of any licensing board that is part of a multistate compact. The State Board of Education currently grants reciprocity to most applying teachers from other states. The legislature also passed HB 1511 (Lynch), SB 656 (Cierpiot) and SB 718 (White). All three of these bills grant greater teacher license flexibility for military spouses."
     
  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    May 23, 2020

    I would love a single national teacher license/cert.
     
  10. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I never realized that the CSETs were just another version of the Praxis exams.
    I always wondered if Praxis would be much more difficult, but I'd surmise that it's pretty equivalent?

    You're so smart, @TeacherGroupie
     
  11. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Comrade

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    May 25, 2020

    There were attempts at increasing reciprocity via NCATE, but that was many years ago. Back when my mom got her cert. in the early 70s, graduating from an NCATE accredited school meant automatic reciprocity in 35 states. You might still have a class or two for a permanent credential, but you could automatically go forth and teach.
    Now, NCATE means nothing in regards to reciprocity. Heck, even the test requirements don't make sense. When I transferred my credential to the state I'm in now, I ended up on a temporary out-of-state license because they don't accept one of my home state's tests. The part that made no sense is that the content area exam was fine, even though it's a substantively different test, but the general pedagogy one wasn't, despite being a nearly identical test. Same publisher, same content. My home state is the one with the higher cut score, so it shouldn't have mattered.
     
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  12. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    May 26, 2020

    "Just another version" is a bit inaccurate. Praxis subtests up to at least 2005 tended to contain either all multiple choice questions (the Content Knowledge tests/subtests) or all constructed response questions (Content Area Exercises). So an aspiring elementary teacher showing up on a Saturday for the California-specific Multiple Subjects Assessment for Teachers (MSAT) would take the Content Knowledge subtest in the morning and be tested on all seven domains (reading/language/literature, social science including California history, science, math, human development, PE, and visual/performing arts), and would face the Content Area Exercises subtest after lunch and again be tested on all seven domains. An aspiring history teacher would face the same Praxis II Social Studies Content Area Exercises that were offered back east, constructed responses that spanned the domains but waved only vaguely in the general direction of California issues, and would also sign up on a different Saturday for NES's Single Subject Assessment for Teachers multiple-choice-only social science exam. I should point out that the Praxis lunch break was mandatory and did not come out of testing time, and there's something to be said for ensuring that test takers aren't spending more than three hours on end, on end.

    But I've always thought that, lunch break aside, the format in which CSET paper-based tests first appeared - five-hour testing session for all comers, three (or four, for English) subtests divided up by content rather than by question type, the option to take as many or as few subtests as one chose on a given test day, to go back and forth between the subtests, and to choose for oneself how long to spend per subtest - was generally superior for helping anxious test takers relax and show what they can really do. And the discussions I tracked here on A to Z led me to conclude that CSET questions were likelier than Praxis questions to ask test takers not just to recall but to reason on the basis of what they knew.
     

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