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Competency tests for teachers have gained wide--although not universal--acceptance among educators, and now a survey in Florida suggests that at least in that state, the public also supports the idea of testing teachers.

A statewide survey that covered many issues, conducted by a consulting firm for the state education department, asked the question: "Teachers in Florida are now required to take a competency test before being certified to teach. Do you think the required competency test will improve the quality of education in Florida?"

The response: 74 percent said yes; 16 percent said no; 6 percent said maybe; and 4 percent didn't know.

An editorial in Science, perhaps the most widely read and highly respected American scientific journal, provides more evidence that the troubled state of precollege science and mathematics education is gaining attention outside education circles.

Frank Press, president of the National Academy of Sciences, outlines some of the steps that educators have taken to reverse the situation. "But salutary as these efforts are," he concludes, "we are in trouble."

In addition to citing familiar statistics on teacher shortages and curriculum deficiencies, Mr. Press adds a new observation: "Science teaching may have become too abstract. It may have become astronomy without stars, botany without the flowers, geology without the mountains and valleys. We may be teaching abstractions to students who do not understand the physical ties. One can understand why half of all high-school graduates have taken no mathematics or science courses beyond the 10th grade."

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