For the first time in more than two decades, aspiring teachers in Alabama will be required to pass subject-matter tests, possibly as soon as 2006, under a consent decree reached in a long-running case over teacher testing.
On Dec. 14, U.S. District Court Judge Myron H. Thompson, in Montgomery, approved the agreement in Allen v. Alabama State Board of Education (“Petition May Scuttle Teacher Testing in Ala.,” Nov. 3, 2004.)
The 23-year-old case began when Alabama State University and some students at the historically black college filed a class action over a new teacher test, contending that the test discriminated against black teacher-candidates.
Under the agreement, the state education department can prepare to administer the Praxis II tests for initial teacher certification. Current teachers will not be required to pass a test.
Alabama education officials say the agreement will bring the state into compliance with the federal No Child Left Behind Act’s requirements that students be taught by highly qualified teachers.
A version of this article appeared in the January 05, 2005 edition of Education Week