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Guam educators back proposal to drop Praxis Math from certification test

By Pacific Island Times News Staff

Guam educators have endorsed Sen. Dwayne T.D. San Nicolas's proposal to streamline the requirements for Guam Educator Certification by eliminating the Praxis CORE Mathematics test.

“Removing one requirement like mathematics through this bill will make it a more solid process to become a certified educator,” said Kin Fernandez, assistant principal for Southern High School.

“I’m in support of the requirements of the teacher certification process, especially for those who have experience, a bachelor's degree, and have a sense of knowledge on the subject they want to teach,” Fernandez said at a public hearing on Bill 282-37 held May 22.

Arceli Quilla, a math teacher who has been an employee with the Guam Department of Education since 2006, said the bill would be able to accommodate longtime teachers who have yet to receive their certification

“I want to suggest combining scores in reading, writing and math, and if you’re qualified for the subject you want to teach, they can get certified," Quilla said. "This bill will help teachers who’ve been on the job for years that don’t have their certification yet.”

San Nicolas clarified that the bill was not intended to lower the certification standards.

“I was a school counselor, and I worked with a lot of teachers who lack certification, working for the Guam Department of Education for many years who still have not been able to get their certification, which is such a tragedy because for decades these are the same teachers that taught our students, who are now productive members of our society," the senator said.

Due to the absence of alternative methods to obtain their certification, San Nicolas said uncertified teachers who have been teaching for many years are unable to avail of the full benefits, rights and protections accorded to fully certified teachers.

Currently, applicants are required to pass five costly tests just to obtain an initial educator certificate. Some might not be able to afford the costs, according to the Guam Commission for Educator Certification.

“Failing any of these tests means the applicant will need to reapply to take the test again and pay for it out of pocket,” San Nicolas said. “To ease the burden of those applying to become an educator in our island and prevent them from becoming discouraged, it is necessary to remove the redundant and costly requirement of the Praxis CORE Mathematics test.”

Many states in the U.S. mainland have removed the Praxis CORE Mathematics requirement or are in the process of doing so from the certification process.

Those states are Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa and Kansas, among other states, where applicants only take the Praxis CORE Reading and Writing and specific subject Praxis test, according to the Praxis website.

“Other states clearly see that the Praxis CORE Mathematics test is unnecessary for their educator certification requirement,” San Nicolas said. “So we should recognize this as well and ease the requirements of our educator certification.”

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