Earlier this week, the Associated Press reported that South Carolina recently became the seventh state to approve a streamlined fast-track certification program for prospective public school teachers. The program, Passport to Teaching, targets career changers and can certify would-be private school teachers in all 50 states. Although requirements vary among states, teacher candidates using the program in South Carolina can be certified to teach after passing two tests and being mentored for 10 months. Their training requires no in-classroom experience or coursework. "I don't think anybody would want an empty classroom if they can get a certified teacher," said Gayle Sawyer, executive director of the Center for Educator Recruitment Retention and Advancement. "But I do know those teachers are going to need a lot of support from their peers and principals to be successful."
What is your opinion of accelerated fast-track certification programs like this? Are they ultimately good for the teaching profession, or are they reducing the standards of entry? What do you think the requirements should be for career changers who want to become certified?