No Child Left Behind encourages the development and expansion of alternative routes to teacher certification through initiatives such as the Transition to Teaching grant program that help states and school districts bring qualified individuals to high-need schools. The following are excerpts from a recent article in The Kentucky Post demonstrating how alternative routes to certification are helping Kentucky schools meet their needs:
"A growing number of Kentucky teachers are taking alternative routes to their certification -- getting into the classroom while earning their credentials. In the past six years, more than 1,400 people have taken one of Kentucky's six alternative paths to teaching. Nearly half earned their alternative certification last year, according to the latest state data available.
"This has helped school districts in Northern Kentucky and in Ohio fill voids for content areas like math, science, foreign language. Those are areas where we have had shortages of teachers, said Joyce Fortney-Hamburg, who helped start the alternative teacher education program at Northern Kentucky University. She called the NKU program one of the stellar ones in terms of success. It drew more than 50 students in 2001, its first year. The university-based route allows aspiring teachers to teach during the day and take courses at night or on weekends. That route had 631 people enrolled last year, five times as many as the previous year.
"Kentucky officials in charge of the alternative routes say they are vital to easing the state's teacher shortage, increasing diversity and helping school districts meet federal rules that require a skilled teacher in every classroom by the end of the 2005-06 school year. This just gives folks, particularly the mid-career folks, an option to get certified without having to go back and start their college career over again, said Susan Lieb, executive director of the state's Education Professional Standards Board, which oversees teacher and school administrator credentialing.
"Northern Kentucky offers alternative certification, especially for people who want to be special education teachers or teach in high school. For several years Covington Superintendent Jack Moreland has hired people who have alternative certifications in special education, science and mathematics. This year he has at least 17 people working who went through an alternative certification program."
"Last month, the Kentucky Department of Education started using a $1.3 million federal grant to recruit mid-career professionals and college graduates without teaching degrees into alternative programs so they can teach in high-poverty school districts around the state."
"Betty Lindsay, dean of Spalding University's College of Education, says candidates often bring a commitment to teaching; it's a decision they've made after considering it very carefully and trying other things in their lives."
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