Davida Gatlin
Center for American Progress
April 2008

This study explores some of the more innovative and promising alternative certification programs and recommends ways to establish more of them. (The author, by the way, is a former Fordham Fellow.) The report operates on the premise that many of today's so-called alternative certification programs--which are supposed to offer promising teaching candidates a way to bypass the traditional, stultifying, ed school route--are just more of the status quo. (That  premise is illustrated and documented by this joint Fordham-NCTQ study Alternative Certification Isn't Alternative.) A handful of alt cert programs, however, challenge traditional molds. Teacher preparation initiatives run by charter management organizations like High Tech High and KIPP are promising; they are designed "to meet the practical needs of new teachers" and give them direct exposure to the organization's instructional philosophies. Gatlin also discusses teacher intern programs, independent organizations such as Teach For America and The New Teacher Project, online offerings, community colleges, and teacher residency programs. Still, these are the exceptions, not the rule, due to archaic laws and regulations that keep such approaches from proliferating. She recommends breaking down such barriers by revising state licensure practices to reflect teaching competencies rather than coursework requirements; changing state law to permit more providers to operate; strengthening accountability standards for teacher prep programs; and providing federal funding to support alt cert options.This is a fine primer for anyone looking to know more about alternative certification. Read it here.

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