Alternative Teacher Certification Works

UW-Madison professors Peter Hewson and Eric Knuth took up a valid cause in their May 15 guest column when they voiced concerns about having under-prepared teachers in Wisconsin classrooms.
But they’re off base in implying that alternative certification programs such as the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence, proposed in SB 175, will mean more students won’t have effective teachers.
Research has shown otherwise.
A recent study in “Education Next” showed states with genuine alternative certification programs see higher test scores and more minority teachers. A Brookings Institute study from 2006 showed that teachers who have come through colleges of education are no more effective than teachers who come through an alternative certification program or no certification program at all.
In addition, ABCTE’s rigorous teacher preparation program includes nearly 200 hours of workshops on topics such as pedagogy and classroom assessment. Our exams are difficult, with only 40 percent of candidates passing on the first try. As a result, our teacher retention rate is 85 percent after three years, compared to less than 65 percent for traditional certification routes.
I understand Hewson and Knuth’s motivation for suggesting that an alternative to traditional certification may not produce great teachers. That philosophy is good for their employer, but not — as research has shown — any better for students.
/– David Saba, president, ABCTE, Washington, D.C./

One thought on “Alternative Teacher Certification Works”

  1. It occurs to me that School of Education training and certification does not guarantee great teachers — a reality that gets lost in the narrative. The fact is that today’s students do a LOT of group work, formal presentations, peer review, and formal and informal teaching because that is what happens in 21st century college and university classrooms. To presume that none of that would translate into middle or high school classrooms is questionable at best.
    Speaking as a university employee, not a board member…

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