The New Teachers

More and more new teacher are coming from alternative programs. About 40 percent of new teachers hired by school districts come from outside of teacher education programs. That’s up from a mere 22 percent between 2002 and 2004.

According to a new study released by the National Center for Education Information:

K-12 public school teachers in the United States are amazingly similar over time. They constitute a unique profession that has self-propagated itself for at least the last half century. But, due to an influx of individuals from non-traditional backgrounds entering teaching through non-traditional preparation programs, the teaching force may be changing.

The findings throughout this survey illustrate striking differences between this non-traditional population of new teachers and teachers who enter teaching through undergraduate and graduate college campus-based teacher education programs, especially in attitudes concerning current proposed school reform measures and ways to strengthen teaching as a profession.

Unsurprisingly, teachers who attended teachers colleges have different views about tenure, performance-based pay, and evaluating teacher effectiveness using “student achievement” measures than those who became teachers through alternative programs.

It’s not clear from the survey, however, why it is that schools are hiring more teachers who don’t come from traditional teachers colleges. Are there budget reasons for this? Is it logistically easier to hire alternatively certified teachers? Or is it that school districts understand that people trained in teacher colleges aren’t necessarily very good teachers?

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer