Easing Requirements For Teachers Set Back State Proposal Too Uncertain, County Says

December 09, 1990|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff writer

The Carroll Board of Education has ranked an initiative to ease requirements to become a teacher as a "low priority," saying there were too many uncertainties in a state proposal.

The Maryland Board of Education plan, part of a package of 15 proposals to improve state schools, is one of two the Carroll board has decided to rank as a "low priority" when it meets with the county's General Assembly delegation next month to develop a legislative package.

The other proposal, extending the school calendar from 180 to 200 days, was given a low ranking after a board discussion in November.

The board met again last week to discuss the remaining proposals, all of which received a "high priority," except an initiative aimed at improving literacy. That proposal will be discussed at the board's meeting Wednesday.

Two initiatives, compulsory school attendance to age 18 or high school graduation and computer-assisted instruction, were given high-priority ranking but with some strings attached.

The "quality teaching and school-based administration" proposal, which would allow a "resident teacher certificate" to be given to applicants with a college degree in liberal arts after taking 90 hours of course work in teaching techniques, raised concerns among administrators and teachers and was given "low priority."

Maureen A. Dincher, president of the Carroll County Education Association, which represents about 1,300 Carroll teachers, said the resident teacher certificate would lower standards for teachers.

Administrators, however, were concerned about a component to develop performance-based models for assessing teaching and administrative competence as the basis for granting professional certification.

Because making students attend high school until age 18 would affect class sizes and require more teachers, board members said the proposal should be given high ranking only if state dollars are made available.

The computer-assisted instruction initiative calls for one computer for every 10 students. To properly equip Carroll schools, which currently contain one computer for every 23 students, would cost about $1.2 million, said Gary E. Dunkleberger, director of curriculum/staff development.

Although the state would pick up half the cost, school officials said more money would be needed for computer software and for teacher training.

That money should come from the capital budget, they said.

"We have no choice but to do this," said Board Member Carolyn L. Scott.

Given high priority were:

* Revised high school graduation requirements that would eliminate the general course study and require students to either prepare for college or the work force, or both.

* Flexible school organization that would allow schools to provide a variety of programs, ranging from part-time, evening and Saturday classes, to meet the needs of students who choose to drop out of the traditional plan.

* Equitable state funding for all schools, a drug-free program, increased parental involvement, student literacy in math, science and technology, and the Maryland School Performance Program, in which Carroll ranked second in the state in overall academic scores.

The board last month gave high priority to mandatory kindergarten, pre-kindergarten education for all eligible disadvantaged children and early intervention services for at-risk children and families.

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