This letter is in response to Emma Epperly’s article “Bill Signed by Governor Targets Teacher Shortage” published in April.
I believe that the decision to end the requirement to pass the BSA (Basic Skills Assessment) to be accepted into teacher prep programs is an exciting and progressive move. Rep. Alex Ybarra really has the best interest of future teachers in mind, and as a future teacher, I am glad to have him on our side. The article written by Epperly addresses many important reasonings to cease a required passing grade, as discussed by Ybarra and other representatives.
Many students suffer from extreme test anxiety, which can result in poor test scores. For some potential teachers, who may possess all other favorable teacher qualities, this could be the end of their lifelong goals (and potentially calling) of becoming a teacher. Unfortunately the BSA cannot measure for patience, nurturing demeanor, genuine passion for child development and communication skills. While I of course want future educators to be educated, and qualified to teach the future of our country, I also would like to give them a chance to be accepted into teacher prep programs based on more than a pass or fail on the BSA.
Another major issue in the schooling system is the lack of teachers. The lack of teachers is resulting in unfavorable working conditions for current teachers, and large classrooms. Classroom sizes greatly affect the production and learning outcomes of students. Epperly’s article includes this quote from Ybarra, “We’ve got a teacher shortage and we just need more teachers; you know. That’s all there is to it, so I think it’s going to be exciting for everyone,”.
After I looked up and read the final Substitution House Bill, the bill passed in the house March 6, 2019, with a vote of 96-0. The bill then passed the Senate April 12, with a vote of 42-2. It is clear that both the House and the Senate were also strongly in favor of this bill.
I am very excited to start a teacher prep program at Washington State University, and I am delighted that I will not have to worry about passing the BSA along with many other requirements that I still have to do in order to be accepted. While WSU still requires that I take the test, it will only be for further evaluation of my worthiness of the program and not a make or break.
Thank you Reflector for sharing this article.