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A Krisis In Edukation

Learning to be an elementary school teacher in Massachusetts is shaping up to be a high pressure job, reports CBS News Correspondent Elizabeth Kaledin.

Last April when 1,800 prospective teachers here took the state's first certification exam, an alarming 59 percent failed.

Some of the applicants spelled the word "different" as "diferant," and spelled "surveillance" as "servalance." One applicant defined the word "abolish," as a law about something.

This year Massachusetts became the 44th state to require new teachers to pass a standardized test. However, the high failure rate has prompted educators and politicians nationwide to take a harder look at who is teaching America's children.

"There's a crisis in the schools of education," says John Silber, Chairman of the Massachusetts Board of education.

Silber says the blame falls on the colleges that train teachers.

"For most intelligent people, the curriculum of a typical school of education is a wasteland," says Silber. "It's an insult to their intelligence."

But many educators say they never saw the test and could not properly prepare their students.

However, whether it is the test or the teachers, there is a movement in Washington to demand higher standards and accountability.

"We have accepted a level of mediocrity both within the schools of education and professional development courses that have allowed us to look the other way," says Rep. George Miller, a California Democrat.

The debate over how to strengthen our teachers comes at a time when schools everywhere face teacher shortages, which can only make the job of education reform harder.

Reported by Elizabeth Kaledin
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