Austin – The Texas State Board of Education is set to decide this month whether or not to implement a new testing requirement for new instructors.
Teacher advocates have spoken out against the new edTPA test, claiming that it will simply make it more difficult to close current gaps.
In the midst of a nationwide teacher crisis, the Texas American Federation of Teachers issued a new research showing that 66% of the 3,800 members polled in November stated they had recently contemplated leaving their employment.
“I believe it’s going to limit the students who are entering the teaching field,” said Amber Wagnon, an associate professor of education studies at Stephen F. Austin State University.
“Due to COVID and public responses right now to public education, the morale is low in education. And here we are trying to fill those gaps and get these students ready to come in and take spots and veteran teachers. But what I’ve seen from my students who have completed edTPA is just a cycle of frustration,” Wagnon explained.
The program’s pilot version began in 2019, and Wagnon said the SBOE’s vote this week will determine if Texas continues with it permanently.
According to edTPA, the testing is now required in 18 states. Other states have abolished it.
“Georgia just ended edTPA last year, I was hoping that our State Board of Ed was seeing that and was seeing that other states are stepping away from it,” Wagnon added.
She stated that the existing requirements are sufficient.
“They take a content test, and then they take the PPR. So there’s two tests before edTPA that they were required to pass,” she explained, adding that the state should have faith in teacher educators like herself.
“We know who’s ready for the classroom and who’s not ready for the classroom, we’re not going to send students not going to help them graduate if they’re not ready,” Wagnon said.
She claims that the edPTA’s expense alone is a sufficient deterrent.
The PPR, the previous test, was only $116.
But the Texas Education Agency said in a statement, “The edTPA focuses on improving educator preparation in Texas to ensure that beginning teachers have demonstrated their proficiency and readiness to positively affect student learning.”
Despite this, more than 200 teacher advocates, including the Texas State Teachers Association, Texas AFT, and Association of Texas Professional Educators, have signed a petition to the SBOE urging the state to examine local evaluations in addition to the PPR.