Alternative Licensing Prevalent
Although two-thirds of the states have raised standards for teacher training and certification in the past two years, a new 50-state survey has found that half the states permit the hiring of teachers who have bypassed many state certification requirements.
The survey, conducted by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, also noted that more than half of the states have introduced economic incentives to make the teaching profession more attractive to talented prospects.
The report on the survey's findings, "Teacher Education Policy in the States: A 50-State Survey," said "irregular certification routes" vary from "the emergency certificates, which have existed in some states for more than two decades, to provisional certificates issued by some local districts with state approval in order to meet their teacher-shortage crises."
States Toughen Standards
Two out of three states, the report said, have sought to improve teacher training by raising the minimum grade-point-average required for admission to training programs, setting higher minimum scores on entry and exit examinations, or changing the "scope and sequence" of teacher-education curricula.
In addition, the survey found that more than half of the states now require prospective teachers to pass a competency test prior to certification.
And 39 states, the report noted, "are implementing or considering" revised teacher-certification standards.
The survey also found that more than half of the states have implemented statewide salary increases or new minimum salaries, and that 15 states have adopted some form of career-ladder or merit-pay program.
In addition, states have made financial aid to prospective teachers ''increasingly available," the survey found. In delivering this aid, the states have become "more creative," the report said, offering scholarships to outstanding high-school graduates who are planning to teach and student loans that can be "forgiven" if the recipient becomes a teacher.
The survey was conducted by aacte's State Issues Clearinghouse, which monitors and analyzes state activities that have an impact on teacher education.
The 105-page report profiles each state's activities in eight key policy areas relating to teacher education. The information was collected over a five-month period from education-commission reports, news accounts, and telephone interviews with state education officers and education-school deans.
Copies of the report are available for $12 from aacte, One Dupont Circle, N.W., Suite 610, Washington, D.C. 20036.--br