CBS Atlanta - Teachers Union Wants Educators To Be Better Tested Before Teaching

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One of the nation's largest teachers unions wants to take the profession up a notch.

The American Federation of Teachers wants educators to take a tough written exam before they step into the classroom at schools across the country.

"We want to see our profession respected and if that's what it takes to earn the respect to attract highly qualified applicants then by all means that's what we need to do," said Ron Fowler of the Georgia Federation of Teachers (GFT).

The whole idea is to raise the bar to ensure kids get the best education possible.

Teachers in Georgia do test in the subjects they teach before they take over the reins of a classroom, but there is no standardized test that all educators take.

"A simple paper and pen test, it's an easy solution but it's sort of a bumper sticker approach," said Tim Callahan, a spokesman for the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE).  "Here I think you almost have a solution looking for a problem." 

Both GFT and PAGE said testing is just one piece of the puzzle. They said teachers also need good pay, support in the classroom and programs to improve their skills.

Fowler said he would also like to see educators have a hand in developing any test for teachers.

"I do think we need to raise the bar but again, just raising the bar is not the answer," said Fowler. "The testing piece, I think educators have to be part of that process."

Next week, educators and policy makers in Georgia will launch a task force to change the educational system.

It will be at least a year before any recommendations are on the table.