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Read This: Alternative Programs Grow – and Vary Widely

Alexander Russo | May 30, 2013

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internThe Hechinger Report‘s Jackie Mader has a fascinating new piece on the rise of alternative routes to certification for teachers in California and nationwide, focused in part on teacher residency program model that’s being operated by LAUSD and four local universities.

Some key takeaways related to cost, growth, effectiveness, and variations among programs and requirements for what are officially called “intern” teachers are highlighted below.  Or, you can read the entire piece here:  Alternative routes to teaching become more popular despite lack of evidence.

“The number of alternative programs nationwide has skyrocketed, rising from 70 programs in the 2000-2001 school year to 658 in 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Education, and these programs now make up 31 percent of all teacher preparation programs in the nation.”

“In California, alternative programs are called “intern programs” by the state, and refer to programs where participants teach in classrooms during the program, usually as the teacher of record. And most so-called alternative routes are actually run by traditional university programs, although that may be changing.”

Some California schools such as Loyola Marymount University require as many as 1,600 hours of student teaching, while others like Chapman University and Fresno Pacific University, require less than 500 hours.

“Alternative routes may also be more convenient—and less expensive—than a university.”

“During the 2009-10 school year, teachers prepared through an alternate route accounted for 10 percent of those attempting to pass a performance assessment in California, a requirement before earning a credential. These teachers also had the lowest pass rate on their first attempt to take the exam of all candidates.”

“You can’t talk about it, you can’t have conversations about it, you can’t see videos about it,” said one of the teacher resident trainees about the importance of realistic experience in the classroom. “You actually have to see it and you have to be in it.”

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