Of the nearly 13,000 uncertified public school teachers in New York City, nearly 1,200 of them, as of April 2002, had failed the state-administered Liberal Arts and Sciences Test required for certification. Out of those nearly 1,200 who failed the test, 217 of them failed it 10 times.
Almost 3,300 uncertified teachers had never taken the exam, and more than 3,000 of those who did take it never passed. There is no limit on the number of times a teacher can take the test.
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The exam requires an essay and tests general knowledge, awareness of important scientific discoveries and noteworthy artistic achievements. Correctly answering 48 of the 80 multiple-choice questions earns a passing grade.
“This is a simple, easy test that any educated person should be able to pass,” Harold O. Levy, New York City Schools Chancellor, told the New York Times in April. “We have the wrong people in the classrooms.”
Levy said that when the board would begin hiring 10,000 new teachers to start teaching in September 2002, it would try to hire only already-certified teachers. The board would also try to identify candidates who had passed the test only after numerous tries and possibly reject their applications. Beginning in September 2003, only certified teachers are able to work in New York City’s public schools, under a rule passed in 1998 by the State Board of Regents.
[As reported in The New York Times, April 29, 2002.]