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Education Board Adopts Teacher Skills Tests

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RALEIGH — When you send your children to school youassume they're being taught by teachers who know basic skills. The stateboard of education met Thursday and decided that teachers at lowperforming schools should take basic skills tests.

Those teachers at will soon have toprovethey knowtheir stuff. The board of education met to consider making teachers takebasic skills tests in reading, writing and math.

Under that proposal, teachers at the 15 worst schools will have to takethe test next spring.

There was little fanfare when the proposal was adopted Wednesdaymorning, despite the fact that many educators are unhappy with the testingplan. Joyce Elliott is president of the North Carolina Association ofTeachers. She says teachers are qualified by their own education.They shouldn't have to be tested again.

The North Carolina General Assembly called for the testing plan. Theboard of education is mandated to carry it out. Board DeputySuperintendent Richard Thompson saysteachers will have three chances to pass the test.

Some educators say they're insulted at the possibility of having totake the test.

Kathy Brown has been teaching for more than twenty years.She works atYoungsville Elementary School one of the best in the state in terms ofacademic growth.

Under the new law, Brown would not have to be tested, but she says she thinks basic skills tesing is a good idea for all educators.

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The board is adopting a test that has been used successfully inCalifornia.

Most educators agree that one of the keys to good schools is parentalinvolvement. Now, parents of Wake County public school children willget their chance to tell administrators what they think of the schoolsystem.

Next week, the schools will start sending questionnaires home withstudents. The school system conducts these parent surveys every otheryear. The results help guide decisions about policy and the direction theschools should take in the future.

The surveys need to be returned by November 25. Results are expected in January.

Photographer:Lori Foushee

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