States that have a “genuine” alternative route to teacher certification attract more minority teachers, says a study scheduled to be published this month in the journal Education Next.
Looking across the 47 states that offer an alternative route, the report compares data on the workforce in 21 states with genuine alternative routes with those data in the 26 states that offer “symbolic” alternative routes. It defines a genuine alternative route as one that permits teachers to teach after passing a test or completing fewer than 30 hours of coursework, and a symbolic route as one that adheres to most of the coursework requirements of traditional education school programs.
It found that states with genuine alternative routes, on average, had teaching forces that more closely resembled their ethnic composition than did states without such a route.
Additionally, in 14 of 16 states that report the ethnic background of alternatively certified teachers to the U.S. Department of Education, the percentage of minority teachers in alternative-certification programs exceeded the proportion of the state’s teaching force made up of minority teachers.
A version of this article appeared in the November 19, 2008 edition of Education Week