professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Alt cert

Here is another examination of the subject of alternative paths to teacher certification from Diane Ravitch: The last paragraph poses questions that are key:
"What I would like to know is this: Where is the outrage from education reformers when states continually lower the bar for what it takes to be a teacher? If good teachers are so important, why is there no hue and cry about this most obvious lowering of standards? If education of the poor is the “civil rights issue of our time”, why are reformers comfortable with having poor kids exposed to unqualified temp workers? Why isn’t Campbell Brown tweeting about states allowing people off the street to teach?"

A quick search for alternative certification programs yielded: You can become a teacher in 9 months in this online program. Click on the links to see interesting facts (like their instructors possess the following credentials themselves:
At least three years of exemplary teaching experience
 Demonstrated proof of student achievement gains
 Formal recognition of expertise via an award or distinction in teaching by a school or district
 Proficiency integrating multiple technologies as part of the learning process is a clearing house of alt cert programs. Click on your state to see what is available. Here is an interesting quote from the landing page: "In theory, these programs get you into the classroom faster than a traditional Bachelors in Education program, and they focus more on practical knowledge than the education theory courses you’d be required to take in a more traditional program." Gotta love that teacher education programs, the traditional ones, are just too theoretical and not really practical. Would love to see that comparison chart! Click on your state and see the myriad of programs offered. The ones for Texas span several pages of text.

I would not trade my traditional preparation program for anything in the world. I learned much, and I had the chance to use my knowledge with mentors and supervisors who could help me become a better teacher. As for practical knowledge, so much of that cannot be taught except in general terms. Districts and even individual schools vary in their routines and their policies. That is learned on-the-job. But knowing the pedagogy is and was and will be essential to becoming a teacher.

I am not a fan of one-size-fits-all you know, but I do think there are some core elements that need to be present in teacher preparation. Hence, I am more than a little skeptical of online programs for certification. I think there needs to be some FTF and definitely some actual interactions with students under the supervision of an educator who meets more than "taught 3 years" requirements. And 9 months seems to me to be too quick a turn around as well. Of course, since I cannot see content, I am at a loss to know what is present and what might be missing. Part of me is tempted to sign up and check one out for myself.

I think becoming a teacher is just that: a becoming.
Tags: alt cert, education
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