Teaching Profession

Big Changes Found in Teachers’ Paths to N.Y.C. Schools

By Vaishali Honawar — January 03, 2006 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The number of teachers entering New York City schools through alternative routes to licensure has risen dramatically, even as the number holding temporary certificates has dropped, a study released last week says.

The study was prepared by the Teacher Pathways Project, a partnership between researchers at the State University of New York at Albany and Stanford University in Stanford, Calif., that assesses what routes teachers take into teaching and the impact of those paths on student achievement.

New York City adopted alternative routes to teaching, in addition to university-based degree programs, after a state policy ended temporary certification in 2003, leading to a sharp rise in the demand for teachers.

“One of our findings that is very striking is how the composition of the workforce and interim teachers has changed over the last four to five years,” said Hamilton Lankford, a professor of economics at SUNY-Albany and a co-author of the study.

The research paper looks at programs like the New York City Teaching Fellows program, launched in 2001, and Teach for America, which recruits recent graduates of selective colleges and universities to teach in high-poverty schools. The teaching-fellows program targets midcareer professionals and recent college graduates. Participants receive transitional licenses that are good for three years, and they are expected to enroll in teacher education programs at partner colleges to fulfill certification requirements.

Since the teaching-fellows program began, the number of first-time teachers with temporary licenses has dropped from 4,017 to 607 in 2004, the study found, or a decrease of nearly 85 percent. Over the same period, the number of first-time teaching fellows increased more than sixfold, from 383 to 2,441, and the number of Teach for America teachers tripled, from 118 to 360.

The number of first-time teachers who came via traditional, university-based teaching programs dropped from 2,375 in 2001 to 2,192 three years later.

Student Achievement

In examining achievement, the study found that the students of alternative-route teachers performed as well as—and in some cases, better than—those of teachers with temporary certification. But students with alternative-route teachers made smaller initial gains in mathematics and English compared with their peers whose teachers came through the traditional route.

Researchers looked at scores on statewide assessments in math and English in the 4th and 8th grades, as well as scores on tests in the same subjects given by the city’s Department of Education in the 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 7th grades.

“These differences are not large in magnitude, but are modest differences. They would matter if it was a horse race, but not here,” Mr. Lankford said.

The study also considered pathways to teaching such as individual evaluation, in which teachers fulfill the requirements of a traditional program but at different institutions and even through distance learning.

The analysis used, among other data, student test scores and demographic data, as well as data on teachers’ initial pathways into the profession. Researchers created links between students and teachers by tracking the courses taken by each student and the courses taught by each teacher.

Students of teachers in the teaching-fellows program with just one year experience performed at lower levels in 4th and 5th grade math than did students whose teachers graduated from university-based teaching programs. However, they caught up after two years.


School Climate & Safety K-12 Essentials Forum Strengthen Students’ Connections to School
Join this free event to learn how schools are creating the space for students to form strong bonds with each other and trusted adults.
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.
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Creating Confident Readers: Why Differentiated Instruction is Equitable Instruction
Join us as we break down how differentiated instruction can advance your school’s literacy and equity goals.
Content provided by Lexia Learning
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.
IT Infrastructure & Management Webinar
Future-Proofing Your School's Tech Ecosystem: Strategies for Asset Tracking, Sustainability, and Budget Optimization
Gain actionable insights into effective asset management, budget optimization, and sustainable IT practices.
Content provided by Follett Learning

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

Teaching Profession Teachers’ Careers Go Through Phases. They Need Support in Each
Teachers experience a dip in job satisfaction a few years into their careers.
5 min read
Vector illustration of a female teacher at her desk with her head in her hands. There are papers, stacked notebooks, and a pen on the desk and a very light photo of a blurred school hallway with bustling students walking by in the background.
Teaching Profession Download Downloadable: 5 Ways Principals Can Help With Teacher Burnout
This downloadable gives school leaders and teachers various ways to spot and treat teacher burnout.
1 min read
Silhouette of a woman with an icon of battery with low charge and icons such as a scribble line, dollar sign and lightning bolt floating around the blue background.
Teaching Profession Massages, Mammograms, and Dental Care: How One School Saves Teachers' Time
This Atlanta school offers unique onsite benefits to teachers to help them reduce stress.
3 min read
Employees learn more about health and wellness options during a mini benefits fair put on by The Lovett School in Atlanta on May 8, 2024.
Employees at the Lovett School in Atlanta meet with health benefits representatives during a mini benefits fair on May 8, 2024.
Erin Sintos for Education Week
Teaching Profession Opinion How Two Teachers Helped Me Weave a Dream
A journalist and debut book author dedicates her novel to two of her high school English teachers.
Anne Shaw Heinrich
3 min read
0524 heinrich opinion keller fs
N. Kurbatova / iStock / Getty Images Plus