State may try alternate route to teaching

Originally published in The Daily Iowan 6/17/2009

Next year, those who wish to teach won’t have to go through the College of Education. And they won’t need to endure unpaid student teaching.

Pending approval from the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners, a new program will allow people to get a teaching certificate within two years.

The state Board of Regents approved the Iowa Teacher Intern License at their meeting last week in Ames. The program will be implemented through all three regent universities, allowing hopeful teachers to circumvent the process usually required to teach seventh grade through high school.

Applicants must meet specifc criteria to get into the program. For instance, they must want to teach a subject related to their own current career.

“If I have a degree in sociology, but I want to teach math, this program isn’t for me,” regents policy and operations officer Diana Gonzalez said.

According to the report, the Iowa Department of Education found an increase in requests for alternative teacher-license programs.

The Education Department found the projected number of college graduates in 2008-09 to be substantially fewer than the number of retiring teachers in 2007-08.

In one instance, the study projected only 38 chemistry students will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in 2007-08, with 116 chemestry teachers retiring in the same year.

“We looked at the numbers in terms of gaps in supply and demand in high-need areas as part of our research,” Gonzalez said.

The program involves a total of 24 credit hours, 18 of which are earned in the first year of coursework.

Six credits are earned in the second year, which consists of full-time, paid teaching internship in an Iowa school.
These courses will be taught at the University of Northern Iowa, which is expected to pay $97,000 for a program coordinatior in the first year, according to the report given to the regents.

UI spokesman Tom Moore said Susan Lavenz, a UI School of Education associate dean, would be able to comment on the UI’s financial involvement with the project, but she could not be reached.

During the internship, Gonzalez said, the intern will go through many “processes that will be monitored by the school district.”

“It’s not just a matter of ‘here’s the job,’ ” she said.

The report said the program is expected to garner eight interns in its first year and expand to 25 by the seventh.
This is an early estimation, Gonzalez said, and the marketing of the the program hasn’t started yet.

“When that starts, the number may increase,” she said.

The report said the UI must “oversee registrations and the distance delivery of the proposed program, including technology support.”

This consists of collecting applications from across state and forwarding them to Iowa State for consideration, Moore said.
Gonzalez said the program will start next fall, pending approval from the Board of Educational Examiners.

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