Let’s suppose you have spent your career as a professor at an American education school, training future teachers. Then suppose that your state decided that teachers could get certified without attending an education school at all.
That’s called “alternative certification,” and most of my school of education colleagues are outraged by it.
I take a different view. These new routes into teaching could transform the profession, by attracting the type of student that has eluded education schools for far too long. We should extend an olive branch to our competitors, instead of circling the wagons against them.
The biggest challenger at the moment is Teach for America (TFA), which recruits graduating seniors, mostly from elite colleges, and places them as teachers in public schools following a five-week training course. Last year, a whopping 11% of all Ivy League seniors applied to TFA. It was the No. 1 employer at several other top colleges, including Georgetown and the University of Chicago.