Teacher Column

November 07, 1984 2 min read

In California, the number of people applying for a teaching credential has declined “considerably” since February 1983, when the state instituted a requirement that all prospective teachers pass a minimum-competency test before they are considered for certification.

Approximately 30 percent of those who take the California Basic Education Skills Test fail the first time, and about 70 percent of those who retake the test fail, said Richard Watkins, a consultant for the state’s commission on teacher credentialing.

During fiscal year 1981-82, prior to the cbest requirement, 103,566 prospective teachers applied for a credential; during fiscal 1983-84, 78,102 applications were received.

According to recent projections from the California education department, the need for teachers is going to increase dramatically during the next decade as the children of the “baby boom” have children.

Greater respect for teachers and teaching is essential for improving the quality of education in Wisconsin, a University of Wisconsin task force reported last month.

“Perhaps the most fundamental need is a recognition of the contributions teachers at all levels make to the quality of life in our society and their role in the development of every individual throughout the life span,” the group of university administrators and professors noted in “Benchmarks of Excellence.”

The report is based on a survey of university educators and students, comments from citizens, and data from recent national and state studies on the quality of education.

The University of Oregon has received a grant of $143,000 from the National Science Foundation to administer an “Oregon Science and Mathematics Institute for Teaching Excellence.”

The institute will provide 60 exemplary high-school science and mathematics teachers from Oregon and neighboring states with an opportunity to update their knowledge and to develop new teaching strategies and materials, said David R. Sokoloff, director of the institute and a physics professor at the university.

“The reports of two national commissions on education have warned of serious problems in science and mathematics education in the United States,” he said. “This program is one way in which we have responded to the call for retaining, retraining, and renewing these teachers.”

The two-week summer institute, to be operated jointly by the University of Oregon’s College of Arts and Sciences and its College of Education, will pay all of the participants’ expenses. In addition, the teachers will receive a $1,300 stipend.

Institute officials will select teachers for participation in the program based on nominations from school administrators, school-board members, officials of teachers’ organizations, and individual teachers.

For further information about the program, write or call Mr. Sokoloff at the University of Oregon, Department of Physics, smite, Eugene, Ore. 97403; (503) 686-4751.--cc

A version of this article appeared in the November 07, 1984 edition of Education Week as Teacher Column