Are More Teacher Licensure Alternatives on Their Way to Colorado?

Every student in Colorado deserves to have a top-notch teacher in the classroom — especially those kids who are “at-risk” because of poverty and related issues.

We shouldn’t put unnecessary obstacles in the way of getting skilled and caring new teachers licensed and ready to go. Instead, we should be looking for high-quality alternative programs that serve the needs of those college-educated adults who want to change careers without going back to get an education degree. We need more content experts, especially in math and science, who have a firm footing in the basics of pedagogy and classroom management.

This year Colorado passed Senate Bill 160 (PDF). By giving the state board of education greater flexibility to approve alternative licensure programs, this new law may enable the recruitment and preparation of more highly-qualified teachers to help fill needs in Colorado schools.

This week David Saba, president of the American Board for Certification of Teaching Excellence (ABCTE), talked more about these issues on an iVoices podcast, which you can listen to by clicking the play button below:

My Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow, who hosted the podcast, also recently wrote an issue paper about an innovative local teacher training and licensure program. You should check out Douglas County’s Home-Grown Teachers (PDF).

As with school choice for students, it is better to have more available quality options in the area of teacher licensure and preparation. For now, we’ll have to wait and see how the rulemaking process fleshes out the details of SB 160. I’m hopeful that the doors will be opened wide.

David Saba also is a fellow blogger. Yesterday he wrote about his visit to Colorado and gave our state some props:

There are signs that maybe, just maybe, people will continue to focus first on the students in Colorado and put the adults a distant second.

That’s obviously my focus here, and I’m so glad he took the time to point it out. Let’s keep pressing forward in the fight for school choice and other reforms that help kids!