Institute Report Highlights Douglas County's Home-Grown Teachers

It’s now official. The latest Issue Paper in the *Innovative Colorado School District Series, written by my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow, has been released: Douglas County’s Home-Grown Teachers: The Learning Center Waiver Program (PDF).

The Independence Institute website explains what the paper is all about better than I can:

Seeking a creative solution to shortages in various teaching positions, Douglas County School District received a waiver from the state of Colorado to license and train its own teachers through the Learning Center. The district currently is able to license teachers in areas such as math, science, and world languages; to provide special education endorsements to teachers in other specialties; and to equip unlicensed professionals with the basic skills to teach more highly specialized courses to high schoolers. The waiver is scheduled to be renewed at the end of 2008, contingent on Douglas County meeting certain performance goals.

If it’s true that this means a way for schools to get more skilled and effective teachers in our classrooms to help kids learn better, then more power to Douglas County. And I hope other school districts pick up on it, too.

Anyway, the paper is kind of long. As usual, the Independence Institute also has created a podcast to give you a flavor of the topic. This time, author Ben DeGrow interviews Learning Center executive director Mike Lynch about the waiver program:

This story first made the Denver news way back in May 2006, as Douglas County made its case for waivers to the State Board of Education. Ben wrote an op-ed back then. The story may reappear in the news next month when the school district is scheduled to go before the State Board to get the waiver renewed. Stay tuned. I’ll do my best to help keep you informed about that.

*The Innovative Colorado School District Series also includes the following papers (note: all links are PDFs):