Competency test encouraged for Mass. teachers Governor also wants higher standard for certification


BOSTON -- Three days after he said he could do nothing about the falling standards for teacher certification, acting Gov. Paul Cellucci called yesterday for competency testing for teachers and said he would fire those who failed the exam.

Cellucci also said he had asked John Silber, the chairman of the Board of Education, to reconvene the board next week and take a fourth vote to raise the passing standard on certification tests for student teachers.

In addition, Cellucci said he would introduce legislation next week to forgive college loans for bright students who choose to become teachers -- even though he once tried to kill the same "Attracting Excellence to Teaching" program.

In an election year dominated locally and nationally by the subject of education, Cellucci sought yesterday to contain the almost certain political damage after 59 percent of the state's aspiring educators flunked Massachusetts' first teacher test.

The vote earlier this week by the Board of Education to lower the tests' passing grade so fewer teachers would fail intensified criticism that the administration was promoting incompetent teachers.

On Thursday, House Chairman Thomas Finneran railed at the test results and called those who failed the test "ignorant and foolish" for expecting they could still teach.

While calling the majority of public school teachers capable and competent, Cellucci said yesterday he was concerned there are thousands of classroom educators who are not meeting standards.

"We can't allow mediocrity to be the standard for our students or our teachers," Cellucci said.

Silber said yesterday he assured Cellucci that the vote to lower the standards on the tests, which affects only the next two rounds of testing, will be reversed next week.

Pub Date: 6/27/98

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