Study: Some ‘alternate’ teachers do well

Florida’s alternatively certified teachers have better qualifications but vary in classroom effectiveness, concludes a study in Education Research reported by Ed Week‘s Teacher Beat.

Georgia State researcher Tim R.Sass compared the growth in test scores by students taught by teachers certified by community colleges’ Education Preparation Institute (EPI) option, by district-run alt-cert and by the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE).  Then he added traditionally certified teachers.

Compared to graduates of Florida’s teacher colleges, alt-cert teachers “graduated on average from more competitive colleges, tended to pass the licensing tests on the first time, and had higher SAT scores.” They also had taken two additional science courses in college.

. . . The EPI completers tended to do worse than traditionally prepared teachers, or about 3 to 4 percent of a standard deviation lower. By contrast, the ABCTE teachers boosted math achievement on average by 6 to 11 percent of a standard deviation more than traditionally prepared teachers. They were only slightly better in reading, however.

District-certified teachers did about the same as traditionally trained teachers.

in a a 2009 study, ABCTE teachers performed worse in math, notes Teacher Beat, who adds that the sample sizes are small.

Fast track to teaching

Mature professionals are using alternative certification to get into teaching, reports the New York Times.  Twenty percent of new teachers now come through alternative routes.

The story looks at Wylie and Katie Schwieder, 50something parents of four children, who’d worked as a consultant and a corporate trainer and business writing coach.  They signed up with Career Switchers, which “requires applicants to pass an Educational Testing Service exam in the subject matter they want to teach, take an online course and attend a series of meetings to learn classroom teaching skills.”

Armed with a provisional one-year license, the new teacher spends a year of monitored classroom instruction before earning a renewable five-year state teaching license.

Wylie Schwieder is now a math teacher; his wife teaches English.

While the placement rate has fallen from 80 percent to 42 percent, math and science specialists are finding jobs. Many see teaching as secure ” because of its relative security and good benefits.” An awful lot of teachers will be retiring in the next few years.

The story also features the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence, which offers a $975 online program accepted by nine states.

Among them is Ron Halverson, 52, who worked for two decades at Hewlett-Packard in engineering and finance. After taking early retirement two years ago, he became certified and is in his second year of teaching special education at Borah High School in Boise, Idaho.

Pursuing a traditional teaching degree would have been too long and costly, he said.

In Missouri, Bill DeLoach, 59, had a career in business sales and management. He left an executive position in a regional mutual fund company and completed the American Board program in science. He is now teaching physics at a high school in suburban St. Louis.

One fifth of ABCTE participants are 50 and older.


Home Spun Juggling is hosting this week’s Carnival of Homeschooling.

The second Carnival of Education Innovation is up at ABCTE.

If you want to see a revival of the Carnival of Education, e-mail EdWonk at owlshome (at) earthlink (dot) net and volunteer to be a host. I may do that myself.

Carnival of Education

Welcome to the Carnival of Education. The theme is: We don’t need no stinking theme! It’s too much work to impose a spurious commonality among very diverse posts.

Cultural differences make it hard to compare U.S. schools to European and Asian schools, writes Michael Mazenko on A Teacher’s View. He quotes Dr. David Ho, the researcher who invented the “AIDS cocktail.” Ho went to elementary and middle school in Taiwan, high school and college in the U.S.

He has noted that if he’d stayed in Taiwan his whole life, he never would have made the discovery. Likewise, he explains if he had been born in the US and always educated here, he never would have made the discovery. It was the rigid style of the early years in a Confucian system that gave him the discipline he needed, as well as the more “open” and diverse style in the US that encouraged questioning and creativity (yes, through electives) that allowed him the solid foundation and insight necessary to make one of the 20th century’s most significant medical breakthroughs.

Is homework just busywork? Mathew Needleman looks at the question on Creating Lifelong Learners.

Practice like you play urges Mister Teacher at Learn Me Good.

Education shouldn’t be an assembly line, writes Loony Hiker on Successful Teaching. But there are things educators could learn from Boeing’s manufacturing process, LH adds.

At The English Teacher, Scott Walker thinks raising expectations isn’t enough. Students need to be taught phonics, grammar and the classics.

Having raised a daughter who loves to read, Why Homeschool’s Henry Cate is surprised by British complaints that literacy lessons have created students who “lack the stamina” to read books.

“Troubled and troubling” Stephane is Failing the Poem at Classroom as Microcosm — and Siobhan Curious is nervous about his ambitions to be a commercial airline pilot.

SchoolGate’s Sarah Ebner, who writes for the Times of London, explains why  students should learn about kings and queens, not just about Florence Nightingale. Her seven-year-old daughter thought history was boring till Mum told her “about the Tudors, from Henry VII to Elizabeth I and added in James I for good measure.”

When I told my daughter that the next story we would cover was about a king who got his head chopped off, she was desperate to hear about it NOW. She didn’t say that about Florence Nightingale.

As a history buff — with a special love for the Plantagenets — I agree. And I would have welcomed a little Florence Nightingale in my day instead of memorizing the three principal products of every country in Latin America and every province of Canada.

Denise’s daughter dislikes math, but Buddy Math — taking turns with Mom — works for her. Let’s Play Math hints:

When it’s my turn, I work slo-o-owly. I pause frequently, hoping to give her mind time to skip ahead of me and predict my next move. Sometimes, she will even jump in and finish a problem for me.

Brain teasers can improve your concentration, according to Sharp Brains.

As a former music teacher, Nancy Flanagan was enchanted by a video of 200 people at Antwerp train station dancing to Julie Andrews’ “Do Re Mi.”  According to Nancy, who blogs at Teacher in a Strange Land, Nietzsche said, “Without music, life would be a mistake.” Who knew the old guy had it in him?

At A Ten O’Clock Scholar, Kerry offers Art Links for Homeschoolers.

On the technology front, Larry Ferlazzo offers tips on the best places where students can create online learning/teaching objects for an “authentic audience.”

I blog on two Utah fifth graders who created an all-too educational experience for their audience: They figured out how to bypass their classroom computer’s filter to show porn to their classmates. Police are threatening to file felony charges against the 11-year-olds.

TweenTeacher is teaching her students to Twitter.

The rules for joining the Literacy Club have changed in the digital age, writes Angela Maiers.

Using a computer program to evaluate students’ writing is wacky, writes Kristian Bland at Coquetting Tarradiddles.

For those teaching science, Dead Birds Do Tell Tales, writes GrrlScientist on Living the Scientific Life.

Wild About Nature reviews a book called What Seeds Are These?

How do teachers build the fortitude to keep reaching for “unreachable” students, asks Angela Powell on The Cornerstone Blog.

Self-esteem isn’t bad if it’s based on academic achievement or good behavior, writes Old Andrew on Scenes from the Battleground. However, teachers are lead astray when they attribute bad behavior to insecurity:

Most of the time when a teacher concludes that a badly behaved boy must secretly hate himself what the teacher actually feels that he should hate himself if he has any sense.

Teachers, are you too busy grading papers to go to the faculty room? On Stories from School, Travis Wittwer urges new teachers to hang out with colleagues, even if it means listening to a recap of Dancing with the Stars.

Fear the Tsunami of teacher retirements, writes Dave Saba of ABCTE.

The British government is trying to “fast-track” laid-off workers into teaching jobs. Robert Reid is dubious that ex-bankers will make good teachers.

In deciding whether to fund D.C. vouchers, congressional Democrats must decide between helping the poor or helping the teachers’ unions, writes Matthew Ladner on Jay P. Greene’s Blog.

Federal programs rarely die — except for D.C. vouchers, writes William Schimmel on No Cynics Allowed.

Weak on reform, Milwaukee may be unable to compete for education stimulus dollars writes Liam Goldrick of The Education Optimists.

Ed Week’s Mary Ann Zehr wonders on Learning the Language why the administration hasn’t discussed its English Language Learners policy.

John Wills Lloyd of Teach Effectively! analyzes a study showing Experience Corps tutors boosted reading scores significantly.

Japan’s gender gap looks a lot like ours, notes Curriculum Matters: Japanese girls are much better in reading; boys are somewhat better in math.

In “That’s Racist,” posted at Right on the Left Coast, Darren wonders why normally super-sensitive students didn’t protest a student newspaper cartoon about North Korean missiles that made fun of Korean accents. The cartoonist was Korean-American — and Asians aren’t “an aggrieved class” in schools.

On Bellringers, Carol writes about taking her journalism students to Journalism Day at the Dallas Morning News.

Martha, the Test Grader is having a very bad day, writes Jim McGuire at The Reading Workshop. Do you want her reading your test?

Student Jason Oller of Jason’s Perspective wants a much longer school day.

LeaderTalk examines What I Think I Say vs. What I Think Others Hear.

R.J. O’Hara of The Collegiate Way wonders if the charter model could be used to create small, independent, residential colleges within large, impersonal universities.

At Teaching All Students, Patrick has a crazy idea that disabled students can learn about desert biomes.

That’s all for this week. Have a Happy Tax Day. Carol at Bellringers is next week’s host.  Submit here to join the carnival or email her at [email protected] The deadline is 7 pm (Central) on Tuesday.