Limited Taxation & Government


"For the Children"
Education Project

Report #5

The Boston Herald
Friday, May 15, 1998

1 in 3 teacher prospects may flunk state test

After reviewing answers from potential teachers on a new state certification test, the state's education leader yesterday said at least 35 percent of the would-be educators may have failing scores.

Frank Haydu III, the interim state education commissioner, warned that the test's failure rates could be much higher than the 5 percent or 10 percent he initially expected.

"That percentage is going to be higher.  It could be 25 percent.  It might be 35 percent and it may be higher," he said yesterday to a State House gathering of members of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees.

Haydu said his findings were preliminary because the tests hadn't been fully graded yet.

The Board of Education will discuss the certification test at its meeting today.

The tests, which measure both teachers' literacy and their knowledge of their subject, marked the first time new teachers in Massachusetts have had to take a test to become certified.

Peter London, chairman of the art education department of the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, said the test was made without the advice of education school professors who prepare teachers.

"I think it was a stinking way to administer the test," he said.

On another education front, a teacher pension plan was announced yesterday to allow older teachers to retire sooner and save schools money by allowing school systems to hire starting teachers at lower salaries.

"In our opinion this is the most significant education reform measure to date," said Sen. Robert Havern (D-Arlington) of the Committee on Public Service.

Herald staffers and wire contributed to this report.

(Sen. Robert Havern has a 75% rating with the MTA;  a 32% rating with CLT&G)

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