Report: Alternate route programs not alternative enough

From: Education Daily
Many alternative teacher certification programs do not differ substantially from traditional education school programs, according to a new report. Alternative Certification Isn’t Alternative, released this week by the National Council on Teacher Quality and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, is based on surveys of 49 alternative certification programs in the 11 states that certify 80 percent of alternate route teachers. Officials from organizations representing alternate route providers and schools of education argued that alternative certification programs have responded to market needs. “It appears simply putting a new program inside a school of education contaminates it and makes it worthy of this critique — when others outside of the schools of education can put together a venture trying to serve a similar market, and that is seen is a great virtue,” said Sharon Robinson, president of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. Emily Feistritzer, president of the National Center for Alternative Certification, defended programs that require more coursework. She said many candidates enter the programs with the intent of eventually earning a master’s degree in education. Robinson, however, agreed with the report’s major recommendation: state legislatures, education departments and accreditation bodies should set stricter parameters around alternate-route programs. Those bodies should help define a uniform standard of quality for all alternative certification, regardless of whether they are located inside or outside the academy. “That is something the public should expect,” she said.

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