National Center for Education Information
ALTERNATE ROUTES ARE ATTRACTING TALENTED INDIVIDUALS FROM OTHER CAREERS WHO OTHERWISE WOULD NOT BECOME TEACHER
The National Center for Education Information released the results of a recent survey of teachers entering teaching through alternative routes to teacher certification on June 2, 2005 in a 72-page report, Profile of Alternate Route Teachers.
Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia now offer 538 different alternate route programs. These programs offer individuals, regardless of whether they have a background in education or not, the opportunity to become certified as teachers by meeting requirements prescribed by the state. Generally, teachers who become certified through an alternate route are able to teach while they are obtaining certification.
The survey, Profile of Alternate Route Teachers, was conducted by the National Center for Education Information, which has been documenting what is going on in this field since 1983. Last year about 35,000 individuals entered teaching through alternate routes. About half of the survey respondents (47 percent) say they would not have become teachers if an alternate route had not been available. Only about 20 percent say they would have gone back to college to get a teaching certificate.
In the past decade, alternative teacher certification has spawned many new pathways that provide excellent transitions for a career in teaching. The most dramatic change in the past few years has been a shift toward people beginning their preparation to teach later in life and later in their careers. “The data show for the first time the advantages of having individuals entering from alternate routes,” said Dr. C. Emily Feistritzer, president of the National Center for Education Information, publisher of Teacher Education Reports and the author of the report. “They are more mature, more satisfied with several aspects of teaching, feel competent as teachers and are more likely to remain in teaching than recent college graduates entering teaching.”
Alternate routes to certification began in the 1980s as an effort to ward off projected shortages of teachers. “This once was a controversial movement that some critics called ‘sub-standard’,” said Dr. Feistritzer. “Now the movement has become a respectable, prime source for recruiting highly qualified individuals who wouldn’t have entered teaching otherwise.”
The rapidly growing number of persons entering teaching through alternate routes is helping states and localities meet not only the demand for more teachers, but also the federal No Child Left Behind mandate for highly qualified teachers by bringing thousands of individuals with careers, knowledge and experience from outside teaching into the profession as well as upgrading the credentials of existing teachers.
Among the highlights of the survey:
As more states have instituted legislation for alternative routes to teacher certification, an increasing number of institutions of higher education have initiated non-traditional alternative programs that include on-the-job training for the preparation of post-baccalaureate candidates for teaching.
Most teachers entering the profession through alternate routes are recruited for areas where the demand for teachers is greatest in large cities and rural areas and in subject areas in greatest demand special education, mathematics and science.
Alternate route programs are created and designed specifically to meet the needs in those areas, as well as the specific needs of prospective teachers who come from other careers and with considerable life experiences. These programs get prospective teachers into the classroom early, usually as a full-time teacher, earning a salary, while working with experienced teachers.
Profile of Alternate Route Teachers is the most recent of more than 35 data-based reports conducted by the National Center for Education Information (www.ncei.com). Founded in 1979, NCEI is a private, non-partisan research organization in Washington, D.C. specializing in survey research and data analysis. NCEI is the authoritative source of information about alternative preparation and certification of teachers and school administrators.
The National Center for Alternative Certification is a one-stop, comprehensive clearinghouse for information about alternative routes to certification in the United States. The Center was established by NCEI in September 2003 with a discretionary grant from the U.S. Department of Education, has a toll-free Call Center, 866-778-2784, and a major interactive Web site, www.teach-now.org, that provides immediate answers to questions and guidance for individuals interested in becoming teachers, as well as for policymakers, legislators, educators, researchers and members of the public.
Copies of the full 72-page-report can be obtained for $29 by contacting NCEI at (202) 362-3444, or by writing the National Center for Education Information at 4401A Connecticut Avenue, NW, #212, Washington, DC 20008 or by ordering it on this website.
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