Tuesday December 4, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Schoolteachers should have to pass a stringent exam -- much like the bar exam for lawyers -- before being allowed to enter the profession, one of the nation’s largest teachers unions said Monday.

The American Federation of Teachers called for a tough new written test to be complimented by stricter entrance requirements for teacher training programs, such as a minimum grade point average.

"It’s time to do away with a common rite of passage into the teaching profession, whereby newly minted teachers are tossed the keys to their classrooms, expected to figure things out, and left to see if they and their students sink or swim," said AFT President Randi Weingarten, calling that system unfair to students and teachers alike.

The proposal, released Monday as part of a broader report on elevating the teaching profession, calls for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards to take the lead in developing a new test. The nonprofit group currently administers the National Board Certification program, an advanced, voluntary teaching credential that goes beyond state standards.

There is no single, national standard for teacher certification, although the federal government does ask states to meet certain criteria to be eligible for federal funding.

N.Y. Times looks to cut 30 jobs, offers buyouts to managers

NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Times is looking to cut costs and is offering buyouts to some of its staffers.


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The newspaper reported Monday that the company is looking for 30 managers who aren’t in the union to take the buyouts.

Jill Abramson, executive editor of The Times, said in a letter to staff that the newsroom had grown back to the size it was in 2003 with 1,150 people and had to be cut.

The date to decide whether to take a severance package is Jan. 24.

Editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal told employees in a note that buyouts were not being offered in the editorial department.

Abramson said that layoffs would be necessary if enough savings weren’t reached through voluntary buyouts.