And there's bad news from North Carolina this week. On January 8, the North Carolina State Board of Education decided to drop requirements for new teachers to take subject matter tests for new middle school and high school teachers. Ironically, North Carolina had just been named one of the top 10 states for teacher quality by Education Week's Quality Counts 2004 report in part because of its high passing scores established on the subject-area testing requirement. State Board of Education chairman Howard Lee claimed "We don't expect that this will compromise teaching quality." The state made the move after getting too many complaints from districts that they were having difficulty finding teachers who could pass the test.
It is hard to believe that a state could turn its back on its only objective--and not even particularly rigorous--measure that teachers know their stuff. Incredibly, it seems that defending the importance of teacher knowledge has lost out to a lot of whining that should have been ignored