I agree that the good teachers will welcome and exceed the expectations
of this "hurdle."  Provided that the process is managed effectively,
this step will help to further advance the profession.  Thanks for the
update, Cayata.

Cayata Dixon wrote:
> 
> http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-0110170078oct17.story?coll=chi%
> 2Dnewslocal%2Dhed
> 
> >From the Chicago Tribune
> 
> State may ask for proof on teacher skills
> 
> By Stephanie Banchero
> Tribune staff reporter
> 
> October 17, 2001
> 
> The Illinois State Board of Education will consider a proposal Wednesday
> that would require novice teachers to actually prove they can teach before
> being awarded full teaching credentials.
> 
> Under the plan, already drawing fire from the state's teachers unions, new
> teachers would create portfolios, including lesson plans, student work and
> videotaped classroom teaching. They would then analyze their classroom
> performance and assess whether students learned anything.
> 
> A committee would decide whether the packet met specific standards. If it
> did not, the committee could stop the teacher from exchanging the temporary
> teaching license for the more permanent one.
> 
> The proposal is a dramatic departure from Illinois' current system of
> awarding licenses, in which prospective teachers need only pass two
> relatively simple paper-and-pencil tests. And it would come with a price tag
> that would reach into the millions.
> 
> If the state board approves the plan, Illinois would become one of only six
> states that bases teacher-licensing decisions on classroom performance.
> 
> "Getting a teaching license is a serious moment, and people should do
> something to demonstrate they have earned it," said Carolyn Nordstrom, who
> heads a Chicago business group, and also served on a statewide teacher
> licensing task force.
> 
> But officials with the teachers unions object to such a high-stakes
> assessment, in part, because it could mean the revocation of a teacher's
> right to work in an Illinois classroom.
> 
> "The scary part of the whole thing is that we will have people's careers
> hanging in the balance and this proposal is so light on specifics," said
> Gail Purkey, spokeswoman for the Illinois Federation of Teachers.
> 
> The IFT and the Illinois Education Association, the state's largest teachers
> union, will present their own plan, whereby novice teachers would have to
> earn 60 credit hours by attending workshops, enrolling in college courses or
> developing portfolios. Local committees dominated by union appointees would
> decide whether teachers met the requirements to move to the more permanent
> license.
> 
> "There's more than one way to prove you can teach," said IEA President Anne
> Davis. "The portfolio can play a part, but shouldn't be the only measure.
> Acquiring additional knowledge through professional development is just as
> important."
> 
> Creating a new licensing system is part of the state's five-year effort to
> ratchet up the demands on classroom teachers.
> 
> Until recently, Illinois had one of the most lax teacher certification
> systems in the nation. Prospective teachers had to graduate from an
> accredited teaching program and pass relatively simple basic skills and
> subject matter tests to get a license. They could renew it simply by paying
> an annual $4 fee.
> 
> In the last four years, however, state lawmakers and the state Board of
> Education have cranked up the requirements.
> 
> Most significantly, lawmakers developed a two-tiered system, where young
> teachers receive a non-renewable four-year license. But under the law, which
> goes into effect in 2003, teachers must pass another hurdle to get the
> standard five-year license.
> 
> The state board is supposed to decide what that hurdle should be. Board
> members already gave temporary approval to the portfolio plan, but are now
> revisiting the issue after union officials complained.
> The portfolio system under consideration is modeled after a highly regarded
> one in Connecticut.
> 
> Under the proposal, every first-year teacher would be assigned a mentor
> teacher who would help with lesson plans and classroom management. Working
> with the mentor, the beginning teacher would create and follow a career
> development strategy.
> 
> By the end of the third year, the novice educator must develop the
> portfolio, which would be submitted to a group of accomplished teachers who
> would evaluate it and assign a pass or fail mark. Failing teachers would get
> a second chance.
> 
> Tom Murphy, Connecticut State Department of Education spokesman, said the
> program in his state has been a success.
> 
> "By setting this high standard, we were able to bring in the best people and
> it, undeniably, has contributed to better student performance," Murphy said.
> "We've found that when you set a high bar, teachers appreciate it and, if
> you give them the support, will almost always exceed it.
> 
> Copyright  2001, Chicago Tribune
> 
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