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< I don't think that the root cause of this problem comes from the schools themselves, it is a larger societal problem, and one that shows no sign of being resolved. >

As usual, Mark, you are right on the button on this one. The article you cite is indeed scary, and true of more than schools in Illinois, I fear. As more and more teachers are forced to teach outside their areas of expertise, this problem will only get worse. I believe I could pass all of these basic tests, but I also believe that that would in no way qualify me to teach all those subjects. There is a lot more to the art of teaching than having command of a set of facts or concepts. OTOH, if a teacher does not even have command of the basic facts and concepts, he/she has little hope of having a positive influence on the lives of students.

Who allows these people to become certified teachers? Why? Too many kids, not enough qualified teachers? Weak teacher training at the university level? Administrators too busy or too indifferent to make the necessary assessment? All of the above and more, I'd venture.

I work with a well-respected liberal arts college in the Portland area. I supervise teacher interns who are just starting out in the field. I can assure you that these folks have a strong academic background, and some are entering teaching after thirty or more years of successful employment in other professions. They are ready to teach science, but then I see them assigned part-time to science, part-time to math, part-time to English, and part-time to social studies. Nothing irks me more than to see a highly qulaified science instructor with a copy of "American History for Dummies" on her desk because she has been assigned two periods of Social Studies while a qualified social studies teacher is assigned two periods of science. You are absolutely correct. The resolution is not just around the corner.
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