Education

New Paths to Teaching

March 01, 2004 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

As states struggle to meet new teacher-quality standards and stem teacher shortages, some new streamlined routes into the teaching profession are emerging, according to recent Education Week reports.

Both Texas and Georgia have recently introduced alternative-certification plans that grant two- and five-year teaching licenses based on written exams and subject-matter proficiency. Neither program requires preservice training, thus eliminating a central component of traditional teacher- preparation programs.

Are such streamlined routes into the classroom good for prospective educators? As with many issues in the area of teacher preparation, there are conflicting viewpoints.

Pedagogy Missing?

Opponents say the programs leave teachers unprepared for the realities of the classroom and only add to the instability of the profession.

“What they are doing is creating a revolving door of untrained teachers,” Ron Colarusso, the dean of the college of education at Georgia State University, told Education Week. Teachers without college training in education are more likely to leave the profession in their first years, he added.

“The pedagogy piece is totally missing,” Donna New Hashke, the president of the Texas State Teachers Association, said in reference to the Texas plan. “These people are going to walk into the classroom and have a rude awakening.”

Supporters of the trend dismiss the notion that the new rules would bring in a flood of incompetent teachers. Instead, they see loosening certification restrictions as a way to broaden the pool of prospective teachers and tap into talent that might otherwise be deterred by extensive coursework requirements.

Administrators “can hire a retired petrochemical engineer to teach chemistry,” David Bradley, a Republican member of the Texas school board, told Education Week. “We’re trying to give the districts the opportunity to hire the best-qualified teacher,” he added.

“We feel like we ... opened the door for a lot of qualified individuals,” F.D. Toth, executive secretary of the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, told Education Week.

The Georgia plan was set to go into effect this month. The Texas plan will go into effect in April if approved by the state educator-certification board. Officials in both states say the new certifications will meet the licensure requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

Going Online

Meanwhile, one year after its creation, an Internet-based teachers’ college billed from the outset as a departure from more traditional teacher-training routes has seen its enrollment swell to more than 1,300 students.

"[Enrollment has] exceeded our expectations,” said Robert Mendenhall, president of Western Governors University, which offers a range of online degree programs in education. “We knew there was a demand for this online training. It met a real need.”

U.S. Department of Education officials have touted the university’s ability to help teachers and school districts meet the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act. Teachers in remote areas, and those whose work and family schedules prohibited them from taking traditional courses on college campuses, would be among those most likely to benefit, supporters said.

While the coursework for education degrees at WGU takes place online, candidates are still required to spend between three and six months student-teaching in K-12 classrooms, Mendenall stressed.

Twenty-two states have accepted WGU’s program for licensure, according to Mendenhall, though reciprocity agreements allow teachers in as many as 46 states to use the online program as a route toward certification.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
What’s Next for Teaching and Learning? Key Trends for the New School Year
The past 18 months changed the face of education forever, leaving teachers, students, and families to adapt to unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning. As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Judge's Temporary Order Allows Iowa Schools to Mandate Masks
A federal judge ordered the state to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn.
4 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Education Hurricane Ida Deals New Blow to Louisiana Schools Struggling to Reopen
The opening of the school year offered teachers a chance to fully assess the pandemic's effects, only to have students forced out again.
8 min read
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021. Louisiana students, who were back in class after a year and a half of COVID-19 disruptions kept many of them at home, are now missing school again after Hurricane Ida. A quarter-million public school students statewide have no school to report to, though top educators are promising a return is, at most, weeks away, not months.
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021.
John Locher/AP
Education Massachusetts National Guard to Help With Busing Students to School
250 guard personnel will be available to serve as drivers of school transport vans, as districts nationwide struggle to hire enough drivers.
1 min read
Massachusetts National Guard soldiers help with logistics in this Friday, April 17, 2020 file photo, at a food distribution site outside City Hall, in Chelsea, Mass. Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, activated the state's National Guard to help with busing students to school as districts across the country struggle to hire enough drivers.
Massachusetts National Guard soldiers help with logistics in this Friday, April 17, 2020 file photo, at a food distribution site outside City Hall, in Chelsea, Mass.
Michael Dwyer/AP
Education FDA: ‘Very, Very Hopeful’ COVID Shots Will Be Ready for Younger Kids This Year
Dr. Peter Marks said he is hopeful that COVID-19 vaccinations for 5- to 11-year-olds will be underway by year’s end. Maybe sooner.
4 min read
Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research in the Food and Drug Administration, testifies during a Senate health, education, labor, and pensions hearing to examine an update from federal officials on efforts to combat COVID-19 on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 11, 2021. On Friday, Sept. 10, 2021, Marks urged parents to be patient, saying the agency will rapidly evaluate vaccines for 5- to 11-year-olds as soon as it gets the needed data.
Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research in the Food and Drug Administration, testifies during a Senate health, education, labor, and pensions hearing to examine an update from federal officials on efforts to combat COVID-19 on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 11, 2021.
Jim Lo Scalzo/AP