Expert Panel Finds No Edge for Traditional vs. Alternative
By Debra Viadero | Ed Week
May 11, 2010
After six years of study, a national panel of prominent scholars has concluded that there’s not enough evidence to suggest that teachers who take alternative pathways into the classroom are any worse—or any better—than those who finish traditional college-based preparation programs.
The finding comes in a report released late last month by the National Research Council, which is an arm of the National Academies, a scientific body created to advise the federal government on scientific matters.
“Now we can see that we’ve looked at the best available evidence, and the evidence suggests that there are not significant differences,” said Ellen Condliffe Lagemann, the chairwoman of the 17-member panel.
Nationwide, an estimated 20 percent to 30 percent of new teachers enter the classroom through nontraditional, or alternative, routes, such as Teach For America or the New York City Teaching Fellows program. That number has grown exponentially over the past 20 years, and over time, many of those programs have become closely linked to postsecondary education programs.