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New Area Teachers May Not Be Tested for Licensing Soon

The area is experiencing a need for teachers, but there have been requirements which may deter prospective educators from stepping into the classroom. That may be changing.

The Iowa House has unanimously voted to get rid of the exit exam college graduates must pass in order to get a teaching license in Iowa. Representative Tom Moore, from Griswold, was a teacher for 33 years. He’s been trying to get rid of this test for new teachers since 2015.

A decade ago, Governor Terry Branstad asked legislators to require both an entrance exam for college students entering Iowa teacher preparation programs and an exit exam before graduates could be licensed to teach in Iowa. The bill gets rid of both requirements.

In the past decade, lawmakers made entrance exams for college teaching courses optional and lowered the passing grade for the test required for a teaching license. College graduates who fail that test also have been able to teach for up to a year, as they re-take the test to try for a passing score. Representative Sue Cahill is a teacher in Marshalltown. At the start of this school year, Cahill unexpectedly was assigned to be substitute teacher in a second-grade classroom for nine weeks after a rookie teacher learned she hadn’t passed her proficiency test.

Cahill says students aren’t judged on one piece of data and teachers shouldn’t be either. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

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