* Rep. Sue Scherer (D-Decatur) was a public school teacher for almost 35 years. She’s not a fan of teacher testing and believes it’s contributing to the current teacher shortage…
“So when I went to school, if you go to the early ’70s, my brother and several of my friends that are older — their college was paid for, because there was a severe teacher shortage. So they got free tuition all four years, if they promised to teach for, I don’t know, five or 10 years.
“So then by the time I came along, you know, in the later ’70s, then there was a stack a foot high of applications for one job. So almost everyone came out when I did had to either be an aide or a substitute for a year to get their foot in the door to try to get a job. So now if you look at the history, in order to try to weed it down, they kept adding one test after another after another,” she says. “And then they just, you know, they didn’t do anything with the salaries, and they messed with their pensions and their evaluations and their tenure and all that ’til we’re now we’re in a severe shortage, right?”
There’s certain qualities that teachers need to have that maybe we don’t have a test for, Scherer says.
“You need to have patience; you can’t test for that. You need to have compassion; you can’t test for that. You need to like kids,” she says. “I mean, some people just don’t really like being around children. You need to have a tolerance for things that little kids do, if you’re teaching little kids. Or if you’re going to teach high school, you’ve got to be able to relate to high school students, because high school teachers can’t always teach grade school and vice versa. It’s you know, it’s just whatever way God made you.
“I’m not saying you don’t have to know your academics and be able to teach the subject matter. But… I just, I’m just not a believer in the test situation.”