Opinion
Education Letter to the Editor

Alternative Certification: Room for Improvement

January 22, 2008 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

Your recent article “Reports Renew Debate Over Alternative Preparation” (Dec. 19, 2007) underscores what many teacher-educators have said for years: There is a pressing need to delineate the key characteristics of high-quality alternative-certification programs to ensure continuous improvement in the selection, preparation, and support of new teachers.

Increasing numbers of alternative-certification programs are recruiting dedicated, creative, high-achieving individuals and preparing them for success in the nation’s hardest-to-staff classrooms. But we can’t ignore the fact that many new teachers, coming from both alternative and traditional routes, report that they need more support and better training to reach their potential. Clearly, there is room for improvement throughout the teacher-preparation enterprise and a need for guidance on what constitutes an effective, results-oriented, alternative pathway to certification and high-quality teaching.

The National Association for Alternative Certification is a membership organization founded in 1990 that advocates for continuous improvement in the alternative preparation and certification of teachers. We convened a national task force on quality indicators for nontraditional teacher-preparation programs in April 2007. The 23-member task force has begun the process of debating and drafting a model set of quality indicators, based on research and documented best practices, that will provide benchmarks for alternative-certification programs to self-evaluate.

Our operating premise is that, in order for quality indicators to be meaningful, they must:

• Be based on a thorough review of current research;

• Be flexible enough to honor the diversity inherent in alternative routes to certification;

• Recognize the unique strengths of alternative routes to certification as they respond to the need for streamlined pathways that bring diverse, talented new teachers into the classroom;

• Stay focused on teacher and student outcomes, and on an ability to document effective results;

• Promote high expectations, not minimal levels of achievement or entry standards, for alternative certification programs; and

• Be developed and driven by stakeholders in the field.

The NAAC plans to share the results of its national quality-indicators project as a contribution to the ongoing dialogue on the improvement of teacher-preparation programs.

Nell Ingram

President

Judy Corcillo

Executive Secretary

Belinda Gimbert

Co-Chair, National Task Force on Quality

Indicators for Nontraditional Teacher

Preparation Programs

Becky Washington

Co-Chair, National Task Force on Quality

Indicators for Nontraditional Teacher

Preparation Programs

National Association for Alternative

Certification

Washington, D.C.

A version of this article appeared in the January 23, 2008 edition of Education Week as Alternative Certification: Room for Improvement

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
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Whole Child Approach to Supporting Positive Student Behavior 
To improve student behavior, it’s important to look at the root causes. Social-emotional learning may play a preventative role.

A whole child approach can proactively support positive student behaviors.

Join this webinar to learn how.
Content provided by Panorama
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Why Retaining Education Leaders of Color Is Key for Student Success
Today, in the United States roughly 53 percent of our public school students are young people of color, while approximately 80 percent of the educators who lead their classrooms, schools, and districts are white. Racial
Jobs January 2022 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

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 Briefly Stated: January 12, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education School Bus Driver Retires After 48 Years Behind Wheel
Charles City school bus driver Betty Flick sat behind the wheel for the final time last week, wrapping up a 48-year career for the district.
3 min read
Charles City school bus driver Betty Flick poses with one of her farewell signs. Flick has been driving for Charles City School District for 48 years.
Betty Flick quickly fell in love with the job and with the kids, which is what has had her stay in the district for this long.
Courtesy of Abby Koch/Globe Gazette
Education Briefly Stated: December 1, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: November 17, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read