Find your next job fast at the Jan. 28 Virtual Career Fair. Register now.
Education

Texas Model: Go Directly to Class Without Teacher Training

By Michelle Galley — March 10, 2004 3 min read

A new alternative-certification plan for teachers will likely go into effect this spring in Texas, even though it was rejected by the state legislature, barely passed the state Board of Educator Certification, and was voted down by a majority of state school board members.

If the educator-certification board approves it again next month, anyone with a bachelor’s degree who passes both a subject-matter and a pedagogy exam would receive a two-year teaching certificate.

While proponents argue that the proposed rule—which applies only to teachers of grades 8-12—would help relieve the state’s teacher shortage, critics claim it would staff classrooms with unqualified teachers.

“If the medical profession tried to license doctors this way, or the legal profession tried to license lawyers this way, they would be run out of town,” said Donna New Hashke, the president of the Texas State Teachers Association, an affiliate of the National Education Association.

The legislature defeated the measure last year, but at the urging of Gov. Rick Perry and key lawmakers, the State Board of Educator Certification passed it by a 5-4 vote. (“Texas Ponders Easing Route to Secondary Teaching,” Dec. 3, 2003.)

The plan “will allow Texans with vast academic and real-world knowledge to share that knowledge and expertise with Texas schoolchildren,” said Robert Black, a spokesman for Mr. Perry, a Republican.

Under Texas law, the 15-member state board of education, has three choices when presented with a rule from the certification board: let the rule stand, reject it, or vote not to reject the rule.

To defeat a certification-board rule, two- thirds, or 10 members, of the state school board must vote against it. Even though eight members, or more than half, including one Republican, voted late last month to reject the plan, the outcome did not meet the supermajority test. Now, this latest alternative route goes back to the certification board, which is appointed by the governor, for one last vote, scheduled for April 2.

If approved there—as both opponents and advocates predict it will be—the rule would immediately go into effect. Aspirants who took that route could begin teaching as early as the fall, according to Debbie Graves Ratcliffe, a spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency.

‘Slap in the Face’

Some members of the state school board were particularly outspoken in their opposition to the new rule.

Mary Helen Berlanga, a Democrat who voted against the measure, called it a “slap in the face” to Texas teachers.

Others were convinced that the proposed route would greatly benefit schools having difficulties filling teaching slots.

Administrators “can hire a retired petrochemical engineer to teach chemistry,” said David Bradley, a Republican member of the school board who supports the certification plan. “We’re trying to give the districts the opportunity to hire the best-qualified teacher,” he added.

Those teachers would fit the definition of “highly qualified” under the No Child Left Behind Act because they will be certified, Mr. Bradley said.

He also noted that the plan resembles existing alternative-certification programs that have not attracted much criticism.

Under those programs, universities, community colleges, and regional education centers provide preservice training and ongoing support to the new teachers.

In contrast, the new program would be administered by school districts that chose to participate. The districts would be responsible for providing the fledgling teachers with any training, mentoring, or support services the district wants to offer.

When the two- year certification expired, local administrators would be required to evaluate the teacher’s performance and determine if he or she could apply for a long- term license.

Still, it would be up to the districts to determine just how much training and preparation such teachers should receive, a condition that worries many teacher advocates.

“The pedagogy piece is totally missing,” said Ms. Hashke. The candidates could start teaching without training in classroom management, understanding of how children learn, and knowledge of special education requirements, she said.

“These people are going to walk into the classroom,” Ms. Hashke predicted, “and have a rude awakening.”

Related Tags:

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
School & District Management Webinar
Branding Matters. Learn From the Pros Why and How
Learn directly from the pros why K-12 branding and marketing matters, and how to do it effectively.
Content provided by EdWeek Top School Jobs
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
School & District Management Webinar
How to Make Learning More Interactive From Anywhere
Join experts from Samsung and Boxlight to learn how to make learning more interactive from anywhere.
Content provided by Samsung
Teaching Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: How Educators Can Respond to a Post-Truth Era
How do educators break through the noise of disinformation to teach lessons grounded in objective truth? Join to find out.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

BASE Program Site Director
Thornton, CO, US
Adams 12 Five Star Schools
Director of Information Technology
Montpelier, Vermont
Washington Central UUSD
Great Oaks AmeriCorps Fellow August 2021 - June 2022
New York City, New York (US)
Great Oaks Charter Schools
Director of Athletics
Farmington, Connecticut
Farmington Public Schools

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: January 13, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read