It's especially disturbing to see prospective black and Latino teachers score so poorly, since minority teachers are so scarce in the classroom. The racial gap is just one more sign of the disparity in school spending in Illinois. African- American and Latino students typically attend inferior, underfunded high schools and are still "catching up" once they get to college. They simply have not been prepared to pass an 1 lth-grade test.Even so, the state board was right to raise the passing scores last year. Good test scores are not a direct indicator of future success as a teacher. But there is an indirect correlation, one pointed out by Deputy Editor Sarah Karp. "Don't we want teachers to be role models?" asks Karp, whose three sons attend Chicago Public Schools.There are two dangers in focusing too much on recruiting smart students as teachers: One is the possibility of bypassing candidates who have the skill to connect with children and communities but less-than- stellar academic credentials. It's harder to teach the former than the latter, and the ability to relate to students and parents is particularly critical for teachers in low-income urban schools. This issue of Catalyst In Depth reports on efforts by Illinois schools of education to teach this "cultural competence."
From the Editor Teaching: not just academics
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