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Editor’s NotebookEditor’s Notebook: ‘Competency exams’? That’s just crazy talk!

Editor’s Notebook: ‘Competency exams’? That’s just crazy talk!

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Read enough past editions of local newspapers and you will reach in inescapable conclusion that there’s really nothing new under the sun. Names change, but the issues do not.

Consider the Oct. 7, 1978, edition of the Northern Virginia Sun, which reported that – wait for it – new Virginia public-school teachers might be required to pass a state competency exam before getting their licenses.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Expecting teachers to be proficient before turning them loose on young minds?

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(Note that state officials weren’t proposing actually testing already-employed teachers to measure their competence. That might have been a bridge too far.)

Before everyone gets all pissy at me, most of my Virginia public-school teachers were pretty darn good, at least based on what my young mind absorbed at the time. So no complaints there.

But really, you have to pass an exam to get a driver’s license. You have to pass an exam to practice law or sell real estate. Might it not be good for all concerned that the same be true for aspiring teachers?

It’s a rhetorical question, of course.

MORE FROM THE ‘NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN’ FILE: The Oct. 8, 1936, edition of the Northern Virginia Sun gave the opinion of the editor about the proposal circulating around to incorporate Arlington as a city.

Here we are 86 years later (yipes!), and the same discussion is being held in some quarters.

It’s the lather-rinse-repeat cycle of local governance!

– Scott McCaffrey

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