Facing vast special-education teacher shortages and the highly qualified requirement set forth by the No Child Left Behind Act, some districts are turning to alternative certification as a way to fill the void.
While proponents of alternative-route programs argue that they attract many candidates who may not have chosen the traditional track, critics are concerned that non-traditional routes, especially fast-track certification programs, aren’t up to par. Certifying inadequately prepared teachers, the critics warn, will be equally, if not more, detrimental to student achievement in the long run.
What do you think? Is alternative certification a poorly chosen last resort for meeting the special education teacher quota? Has the No Child Left Behind Act created an impossible situation for school districts? How effective are alternative programs in preparing teachers to deal with the unique issues that arise in a special education classroom? How best can schools address teacher shortages in special education?
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Talkback blog.