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Combining the Best of Both Worlds: Discerning and Ensuring Quality in an Alternative Certification Program
Unformatted Document Text:  Combining the Best of Both Worlds: Discerning and Ensuring Quality in an Alternative Certification Program Section 1: Content A. Statement of the Issue Background An increasing urgency exists for states and school districts to get a skilled teacher into every classroom. The federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 stipulates that by the end of the 2005-2006 school year, all public school teachers of core academic subjects must be “highly qualified.” In addition, the National Center for Education Statistics forecasts that if the pupil-teacher ratio remains steady, at least two million new public school teachers will be needed by 2008 (Hussar, 1999). Meanwhile, the teaching profession is often a revolving door in which teachers are constantly leaving for reasons largely related to job dissatisfaction (Ingersoll, 2001). How do we gather enough qualified teachers to meet the needs of our schools? Once we have the interested candidates from populations such as college students, mid-career professionals, and others, how do we educate them in a way that they develop an understanding of and disposition for continuous learning? How do we not lose the integrity of our NCATE approved program? What is the relationship of the university or college once their education is complete? How do we work hand in hand with the school districts to retain these certified and experienced teachers? Combining the best components of alternative programs with those of regular certification programs may be the solution. Using committed full time faculty coupled with mentors provided by the college, the Fellows program attempts to ensure a continuous network of support both inside the classroom and in a graduate-school environment. This partnership continues long after the degree has been completed. B. Literature Review The nationwide shortage of teachers is well documented, and nowhere is the shortage more dire than in urban school districts (Recruiting New Teachers, 2000), which struggle both to recruit and retain new teachers. These shortages are accentuated by the need to recruit and retain qualified personnel of different cultures, values and languages (National Center for Education Statistics, 1996). Similarly, few higher education preparation programs are culturally responsive to ethnic and language diversity (Isenberg, 2000; Gay, 2002; Kushner & Ortiz, 2000). “If the needs of children and families are to be authentically addressed our

Authors: Mercurio, Mia.
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Combining the Best of Both Worlds: Discerning and Ensuring Quality in an Alternative
Certification Program
Section 1: Content
A. Statement of the Issue
Background
An increasing urgency exists for states and school districts to get a skilled teacher
into every classroom. The federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 stipulates
that by the end of the 2005-2006 school year, all public school teachers of core
academic subjects must be “highly qualified.” In addition, the National Center for
Education Statistics forecasts that if the pupil-teacher ratio remains steady, at least
two million new public school teachers will be needed by 2008 (Hussar, 1999).
Meanwhile, the teaching profession is often a revolving door in which teachers
are constantly leaving for reasons largely related to job dissatisfaction (Ingersoll,
2001).
How do we gather enough qualified teachers to meet the needs of our schools?
Once we have the interested candidates from populations such as college students,
mid-career professionals, and others, how do we educate them in a way that they
develop an understanding of and disposition for continuous learning? How do we
not lose the integrity of our NCATE approved program? What is the relationship
of the university or college once their education is complete? How do we work
hand in hand with the school districts to retain these certified and experienced
teachers?
Combining the best components of alternative programs with those of regular
certification programs may be the solution. Using committed full time faculty
coupled with mentors provided by the college, the Fellows program attempts to
ensure a continuous network of support both inside the classroom and in a
graduate-school environment. This partnership continues long after the degree
has been completed.
B. Literature Review
The nationwide shortage of teachers is well documented, and nowhere is the
shortage more dire than in urban school districts (Recruiting New Teachers,
2000), which struggle both to recruit and retain new teachers. These shortages are
accentuated by the need to recruit and retain qualified personnel of different
cultures, values and languages (National Center for Education Statistics, 1996).
Similarly, few higher education preparation programs are culturally responsive to
ethnic and language diversity (Isenberg, 2000; Gay, 2002; Kushner & Ortiz,
2000). “If the needs of children and families are to be authentically addressed our


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