Competency Test for Teachers

One of the problems with educators today is that even though they are struggling to upgrade themselves as professionals there has been and still is one issue that stops them short: They do not have a say as to who their clients are going to be.

Every other major professional has some degree of freedom and latitude to dictate who their clients will be. This choice to accept and reject clients gives the professional a solid position with the community in which he or she serves. The doctor, lawyer, certified public accountant, reporter, banker, real estate agent, etc. All can dictate who they will serve. Public educators from kindergarten through high school cannot dictate who their clients will be.

They have to accept whoever walks into the "office"--from the highly motivated and caring student to the apathetic, lost, belligerent and sometimes, dangerous student.

But it is not only the issue of choosing their own clients that have hurt the educators toward true professionalism, but also the fact that the public educator cannot choose his fees for services rendered. A good percentage of the wage is controlled by the state. Most true professionals have a say over how much they will charge for their services--they can become as wealthy or as poor as they wish. Educators continually remain as poor as they do not wish.

The article by Doyle and Hartle says that a national test would "help professionalize the teaching force." A national teachers' test is not going to upgrade the educators job. The reality is that teaching is not a profession, but a job. It is like any other job, except it carries a status that seems to be on a decline at this time.

When public educators can have a true say in who they teach and a more direct say for the fees of their services, then teaching would fall in line with the other professionals in our society.

JIM WISWELL

Covina

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