State News Roundup

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A survey of public-school teachers in New York State, conducted by the The New York Times, has provided more evidence of what seem to be a serious morale problem among many of the nation's teachers.

Although many of the teachers who responded to the survey, which was conducted by mail last spring and released last week, said they felt good about their profession and confident about their performance, nearly half said they would not become teachers again if they were given the choice.

Similar signs of apparent low morale were found in a national survey of 1,326 public-school teachers released by the National Education Association last March.

More than one in three of the elementary- and secondary-school teachers contacted in that survey said that they would choose another profession if they had it to do over again.

Fewer than one in five of the teachers sampled in a similar nea survey in 1976 took the same position.

The teachers in the newspaper's survey also complained about excessive paperwork and inadequate support from administrators. In addition, more than a third of the teachers--who were randomly selected from mailing lists provided by the nea and the United Federation of Teachers--said that violence, or the fear of it, was a daily concern.

The Arkansas Board of Education this month voted to require candidates for teaching certificates to meet minimum scores on the National Teacher Examination subject-matter tests.

The cut-off scores are relatively low by national standards. Those seeking a teaching certificate in basic mathematics, for example, have to score at or above the 11th percentile nationally on the mathematics test.

There is concern among Arkansas educators that the introduction of the cut-off scores may reduce the number of blacks who enter teaching in the state.

In preparation for the new standards, the department administered the nte to all candidates for teaching certification during the last two years.

Nearly 50 percent of the black students who took the nte in those two years who went into elementary education would have failed the test under the new cut-off scores, according to Sherman Peterson, associate director for instructional services in the state's department of education.

The Arkansas Education Association, the major teachers' organization in the state, has called for legislation that would require education schools to provide free remedial help for their graduates who fail to achieve the certification cut-off scores.

"Education schools bear the responsibility for preparing their graduates to pass the test," said Ermalee Boice, the association's assistant executive secretary.

Vol. 02, Issue 04

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