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Education Reporter

Stolen Test Used to Rally Teachers 
George Archibald
George Archibald
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WASHINGTON, DC - Washington Times education reporter George Archibald recently exposed a scheme by the teacher training establishment to undermine one of the promising educational innovations of the Bush administration: the idea of certifying knowledgeable and experienced college graduates to be teachers even though they are not graduates of America's schools of education.

Last year, the Department of Education awarded a two-year grant to the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE) to produce an alternate process for credentialing college graduates without education degrees as teachers. The process would award a "Passport to Teaching."

According to its website, www.abcte. org, ABCTE was created in September 2001 by the National Council on Teacher Quality, in partnership with Education Leaders Council (ELC), and is funded by the Department of Education. It was recognized in the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 as an approved provider of teacher certification. Its mission is threefold: 1) To offer a rigorous, reliable new approach to teacher certification focusing on the skills and experience that are critical to student learning; 2) To provide states with a consistent supply of high quality teachers to meet their needs; and 3) To recognize experienced teachers of high merit and encourage a diverse community of American Board teachers who are dedicated to classroom excellence and student academic achievement.

Naturally, the education establishment is incensed, and David G. Imig, president and chief executive of the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE), has led the campaign against the American Board and its conviction (based on research findings) that children from disadvantaged backgrounds learn best under traditional methods.

George Archibald reported that at a March 17 meeting hosted by the Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching, attended by education certification professionals, Imig circulated a copy of a confidential teacher certification examination which was being field-tested by ABCTE. His apparent purpose was to demonstrate to the education insiders attending the conference that the new test, in the words of Professor Suzanne M. Wilson, who attended the meeting, "had running through its bones the ideology of traditionalists . . . the framework of direct instruction." (That traditional-education approach is anathema to the academicians.)

Imig refused to tell the Times how he obtained the exam or reveal the names of those attending the meeting. His release of the test forced ABCTE to scuttle its initial field test, and to sever relations with the test's developer, ACT Inc. of Iowa City, IA, whose security measures were breached. Had the test been used after the copies had been circulated, some applicants would have had an unfair advantage. American Board president Kathleen Madigan said Imig's action made the test questions useless and wiped out six months of work.

ACT's media director says that an internal investigation did not identify how the test was stolen. However, Imig told the Washington Post he "received the test questions from someone working on the test development project and did no harm because he shared them only with other professionals who understand the material's sensitivity." It appears that the highest priority of the Teachers College Association's leader is to protect its monopoly on teacher certification. Susan Aspey, spokesman for the Department of Education, said officials remain confident in the American Board.

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