AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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AFT Resolutions


WHEREAS, alternate routes for licensing non-traditional teaching candidates have been in place since 1983 and have certified more than 200,000 teachers since that time; and

WHEREAS, 46 states and the District of Columbia have at least one alternate route program for licensing elementary and secondary school teachers; and

WHEREAS, alternative route programs are designed to alleviate the scarcity of qualified teachers in specific subjects; and

WHEREAS, high-quality alternate route programs provide an avenue for career switchers, liberal arts graduates, military and other retirees to join the teaching force; and

WHEREAS, alternate route programs may attract under-represented groups, such as minorities and men, to the teaching profession; and

WHEREAS, the AFT supports the recruitment efforts of Teach for America and Troops to Teachers but recognizes that their candidates need to participate in high-quality alternative preparation programs; and

WHEREAS, alternate route programs vary widely in their quality and program requirements making it important to identify programs with high standards; and

WHEREAS, the AFT does not support inadequate or shortcut alternative route programs; and

WHEREAS, the National Center for Education Information (NCEI) has identified alternate route programs to be of high quality if they:

  • have been specifically designed to recruit, prepare and license talented individuals who already have at least a bachelor’s degree for the teaching profession;
  • require candidates to pass a rigorous screening process, such as passing tests, interviews, and demonstrated mastery of content;
  • are field-based;
  • include coursework or equivalent experiences in professional education studies before and while teaching;
  • require candidates to work closely with mentor teachers; and
  • require candidates to meet high performance standards for completion of the program; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT call on state departments of education and licensing bodies to only certify individuals who complete alternate route programs that meet the NCEI standards of high quality; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT call on school districts to only allow individuals to assume the role of classroom teacher if they have passed appropriate state teacher-testing exams in appropriate content areas; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT call on state departments of education and licensing bodies to only grant full certification to individuals who have:

  • demonstrated pedagogical and academic knowledge sufficient to ensure that they know how to teach their subjects to students;
  • received high-quality mentoring from experienced teachers who support candidates’ development of effective teaching skills and strategies;
  • participated in an on-going mentoring program for the entire period prior to receiving full state certification; and
  • achieved full certification as prescribed by the state within three years of entering the classroom; and

RESOLVED, that the union assist with the planning, development and implementation of the mentoring component; and, that the mentoring component be included in the bargaining agreement; and

RESOLVED, that the mentoring component of the alternate route program ensure that clinical supervisors and mentors are:

  • selected based on specific criteria that ensure only qualified practitioners assume this role;
  • matched, where possible, for both grade level and subject area to the individuals they are assigned to mentor;
  • trained on how to assist new teachers;
  • given reduced teaching loads and assigned a reasonable number of new teachers to supervise; and

RESOLVED, that individuals who supervise and mentor pre-service and beginning teachers are adequately compensated for their work; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT work to identify and promote high-quality alternate route programs across the country.

[AFT Executive Council, February 2004]