Alternative Certification | News

Teach for America, U Minn To Launch Alternative Teacher Preparation Program

Teach for America is turning to University of Minnesota–Twin Cities to create an alternative teacher preparation program for TFA corps members.

Teach for America is a non-profit organization that recruits professionals and recent college graduates to become teachers through an alternative certification process. Those recruited into the program commit to teaching for two years in low-income communities.

Normally, TFA corps members take a five-week program offered through TFA's summer institutes. Under the U Minnesota program, dozens of Teach for America corps members will take an eight-week training regimen at the University of Minnesota in place of the standard five-week preparation. "Training will include rigorous, initial preparation coursework and ongoing credit-based coursework and learning experiences during corps members' two-year commitment to TFA," according to information released by U Minnesota.

The university will handle all aspects of the training program, including "instructional design, content and evaluation of the program, as well as the determination of candidate admission (subsequent to TFA's rigorous recruitment and selection process), degree clearance and recommendation for licensure...."

Program completion will result in a recommendation for licensure, as well as credits that can be applied toward a master's degree in education. The program is expected to begin in the summer of 2014 and will serve a minimum of 40 TFA corps members annually.

"The core mission of the University's teacher preparation programs is to ensure that Minnesota's P-12 students have the best-prepared classroom teachers, regardless of their path to licensure," said Jean Quam, dean of U Minnesota's College of Education and Human Development, in a prepared statement. "This agreement outlines a plan to create our state's first-ever alternative teacher preparation model with high standards for quality and ongoing support for teacher candidates. Given that research is a core mission of the University, we are committed to creating effective teacher preparation programs and engaging in ongoing evaluation of new and existing models."

"We believe that college students who want to be teachers are best prepared for and supported in their development as teachers through CEHD's multiple comprehensive programs," said Deborah Dillon, CEHD associate dean who oversees the college teacher preparation programs, also in a prepared statement. "However, we recognize that individuals with bachelor's degrees who want to work with P-12 learners have the right to alternative options like TFA under state law. So we intend to provide TFA corps members with an effective preparation program that is influenced by research in teacher development, focused on supporting P-12 students' learning, and grounded in principles of equity and cultural responsiveness."

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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