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One of the country's largest teachers' unions is proposing rigorous new credentials for teachers, similar to the bar exam for lawyers. The American Federation of Teachers, or AFT, also supports the National Common Core State Standards, educational standards in English and math adopted by 46 states so far. We explore how organized labor is approaching education reform issues.
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, discussed the group's proposal to require incoming teachers to pass a rigorous bar-like certification exam. The training program would include a classroom practicum as well as a paper-and-pencil subject test. States could choose to adopt the national standards and offer reciprocity to out-of-state teachers, similar to the law profession. "We are trying to do the work you have to do to make a real profession so that there are high standards, that people are really prepared to meet those standards, and they get the tools and conditions they need," Weingarten said.