The nation's largest teachers union abandoned its resistance to allowing engineers, scientists and other midcareer professionals into the classroom while they study to become teachers.
The 2 million-member National Education Association had opposed so-called alternative certification programs because it said recruiting non-teachers to combat faculty shortages undercut traditional licensing programs.The policy adopted Thursday during the first day of the union's four-day convention won passage because it established standards like mandatory bachelor's degrees, supervision by certified teachers and enrollment in teacher accreditation courses, officials said.
"I'm not in favor of blanket alternative certification," said Rosanne Bacon, president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, a former opponent of such teacher recruitment efforts.
"This proposal sets up clear, high standards for teachers coming in on a non-traditional route. It carefully opens access to the teaching profession," she said.
The policy statement said alternative-route certification can attract sorely needed minorities and experts in math, science, foreign languages and special education.