Teaching Profession

Teacher Educators Offer Alternative-Route Standards

By Debra Viadero — October 25, 1989 3 min read

The Association of Teacher Educators has developed a recommended set of minimum standards to guide the establishment and operation of alternative-certification programs.

The association, based in Reston, Va., has a membership made up primarily of some 5,000 college-level professors and administrators involved in teacher training.

Such professionals have largely been bypassed so far by many alternative-certification programs, which seek to enable people from other professions to become teachers without going through a traditional teacher-training program in a college or university.

Although the group’s guidelines condemn the use of “emergency” teaching permits and the hiring of untrained college graduates as teachers, they stress a recognition by the association that, in some urban and remote rural areas, alternative-certification programs may be a necessary antidote to teacher shortages.

“We think all children are entitled to good teachers,” said Martin Haberman, a professor of curriculum and instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Mr. Haberman, whose ideas formed the basis of the National Teachers Corps in the 1960’s, chaired a commission set up by the teacher-educators’ group to develop the standards.

“Alternative certification to us does not just mean throwing these people into classrooms,” Mr. Haberman added. “What we’re trying to do is to provide guidelines to give policymakers in the states some vision of what’s involved here.”

Two Years in the Making

The set of 21 standards, released last week, are the product of two years of research and debate by the group.

As might be expected, they carve out a greater role for schools of education in the development of such programs. But they also suggest that, through collective-bargaining agreements, teacher unions become involved in the process as well.

The guidelines call on schools to provide specially trained mentor teachers to work with alternative-certification candidates in their first year of teaching. The mentors should receive a stipend based on the number of teachers they supervise, the guides suggest, and no more than two beginning teachers should be assigned to each mentor.

“We found some districts where there were over 20 teachers to one mentor,” Mr. Haberman said.

In addition, beginning teachers in the programs should not be required to take more than one three-hour credit course per semester during their first year, the guidelines state.

“Our goal is not for them to get master’s degrees in the beginning,’' Mr. Haberman said. “Our goal is to have them learn to teach.”

Other Recommendations

Among its other recommendations, the group said that:

  • Alternative-certification candidates should be required to pass the same state basic-skills or subject-matter proficiency tests required of those who come into the profession through regular education programs.
  • Highly qualified teachers should be involved in the process of interviewing and selecting candidates for alternative certification.
  • The candidates selected should have recent, direct experience working with children--preferably at the same campus where they will begin teaching.
  • A policy board made up of teachers, teacher educators, administrators, school-board members, and candidates for alternative certification should oversee alternative-certification programs.
  • School districts should plan on hiring at least 10 percent more candidates than they expect to need.
  • Schools of education should be consulted on the content of the training courses provided to alternative-certification candidates.
  • A panel of master teachers using openly stated criteria should recommend permanent certification for teachers who come into the profession by alternative routes.

A version of this article appeared in the October 25, 1989 edition of Education Week as Teacher Educators Offer Alternative-Route Standards


School & District Management Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: What Did We Learn About Schooling Models This Year?
After a year of living with the pandemic, what schooling models might we turn to as we look ahead to improve the student learning experience? Could year-round schooling be one of them? What about online
School & District Management Webinar What's Ahead for Hybrid Learning: Putting Best Practices in Motion
It’s safe to say hybrid learning—a mix of in-person and remote instruction that evolved quickly during the pandemic—is probably here to stay in K-12 education to some extent. That is the case even though increasing
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.
Mathematics Webinar
Building Equitable Systems: Moving Math From Gatekeeper to Opportunity Gateway
The importance of disrupting traditional American math practices and adopting high-quality math curriculum continues to be essential for changing the trajectory of historically under-resourced schools. Building systems around high-quality math curriculum also is necessary to
Content provided by Partnership for L.A. Schools

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 Nearly 9 in 10 Teachers Willing to Work in Schools Once Vaccinated, Survey Finds
Nearly half of educators who belong to the National Education Association have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
4 min read
Nurse Sara Muela, left, administers the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to educator Rebecca Titus at a vaccination site setup for teachers and school staff at the Berks County Intermediate Unit in Reading, Pa., on March 15, 2021.
Nurse Sara Muela, left, administers the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to educator Rebecca Titus at a vaccination site set up for teachers and school staff in Reading, Pa., on March 15.
Matt Rourke/AP
Teaching Profession Q&A Nation's Top Teachers Discuss the Post-Pandemic Future of the Profession
Despite the difficulties this school year brought, the four finalists for the National Teacher of the Year award say they're hopeful.
11 min read
National Teacher of the Year Finalists (clockwise from top left): Alejandro Diasgranados, Juliana Urtubey, John Arthur, Maureen Stover
National Teacher of the Year Finalists (clockwise from top left): Alejandro Diasgranados, Juliana Urtubey, John Arthur, Maureen Stover
Courtesy of CCSSO
Teaching Profession Teachers Are Stressed Out, and It's Causing Some to Quit
Stress, more so than low pay, is the main reason public school teachers quit. And COVID-19 has increased the pressure.
7 min read
Image of exit doors.
Teaching Profession Opinion Should Teachers Be Prioritized for the COVID-19 Vaccine?
Not all states are moving teachers to the front of the vaccination line. Researchers discuss the implications for in-person learning.
6 min read
Teacher Lizbeth Osuna from Cooper Elementary receives the Moderna vaccine at a CPS vaccination site at Roberto Clemente High School in Chicago, Ill., Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021.
Chicago public school teacher Lizbeth Osuna receives the COVID-19 vaccine at a school vaccination site last week.
Anthony Vazquez/Chicago Sun-Times via AP