According to the results of a study released Tuesday, more than 40 percent of the colleges and universities in Texas that prepare classroom teachers failed to meet the minimum mandated certification exam scores.
The state mandates that at least 70 percent of prospective teachers overall, and in every gender and ethnic subcategory, pass the exam the first time they take it. Any program that did not meet those standards was dropped from "accredited" status to "accredited under review," meaning that the bar would be raised to 80 percent passage to re-gain accreditation.
Most of the 35 schools that were categorized as "accredited under review" failed to meet the performance standards due of minorities, the study said.
That was readily apparent at some schools, like Southern Methodist University and Baylor University. At SMU, 93 percent of students overall passed exams, but two of three African-American students failed, causing the education program to fall under review. And Baylor's program was placed under review because eight of 12 black students failed a test. Overall, the school had an 87 percent passing rate.
Should an entire university's teaching program be penalized because of the failure of a handful of students? The answer is yes. Teachers should be given the most thorough training possible, and leniency from the state isn't the way to ensure quality in the classroom. Apparently, there is a problem educating minority future teachers, and it must be corrected. Adequate training for all teachers is essential to top-quality schools, and the state is doing the right thing by highlighting where problems lie.