The U.S. Department of Education is preparing to collect information from states on teachers participating in alternative-route programs—and whether they disproportionately teach students with disabilities, English-language learners, and other traditionally underserved groups.
The data collection will fulfill a little-noticed provision in a spending bill that passed a year ago.
A legal ruling found that the Education Department improperly expanded the scope of the No Child Left Behind Act in permitting alternatively certified teachers to be considered “highly qualified” under the law. (The statute says teachers have to be fully certified, among other things.) Teachers in alternative-certification programs generally earn certification while teaching full time.
The lawsuit was brought by a group of advocates who generally believe that teachers should have to complete their training to be deemed highly qualified.
Advocates for alternative-route programs succeeded in getting Congress to allow the “loophole” to stand in the 2012 spending bill, which directed the Education Department to report on where such teachers are located by this year’s end.
A version of this article appeared in the September 25, 2013 edition of Education Week as Feds to Gather Data On Alternative Routes