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How Teachers Can Fail Chemistry But Still Teach It In Schools

Eileen Pace
TPR News

San Antonio Representative Mike Villarreal has filed a bill to bring transparency to licensing procedures for school teachers.

Right now teachers take a composite exam with several different parts – including all the core subjects – but as long as their overall score is passing, the teachers don’t have to pass all of those subjects to be certified to teach them.

"For example, we have this science teaching composite exam, where a teacher who is interested in teaching science can be tested on chemistry, biology, physics -- a number of different science subjects," Villarreal said, "and (they can) fail the chemistry but pass enough of the other questions and then get hired to teach chemistry."

The school districts' hands are tied. Principals know only that an applicant passed the overall test, and Villarreal said they are not allowed to discover that a teacher actually failed the chemistry section.

Villarreal’s bill would amend the education code to require each teacher to perform satisfactorily on each section of an exam and to establish a rigorous minimum score indicating satisfactory performance.

Villarreal’s goal is to increase transparency to employers and ensure that students have an algebra teacher who knows how to do algebra.

*The original post of this story included the reporter's note to the editor. It has since been removed.