Promising alternative in the Golden State

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Thanks to some behind-the-scenes work by the Pisces Foundation, the state of California will be gaining a promising new alternative certification program this August. While Alliant International University Graduate School of Education is quite a mouthful, its Intern Early Completion Option (aka ECO) may be just the right fit for wannabe teachers who have already accumulated pedagogical knowledge and are seeking a fast track to the classroom. ECO applicants who can pass a "Teaching Foundations Exam" that covers such topics as human development and learning differences will be exempted from nearly a year's worth of teacher ed classes. This nine-month program costs $6,580, as opposed to the hefty $16,450 price tag of Alliant's standard intern program.

Starting off with two locations--with plans for eventually having six campuses around San Francisco and Los Angeles--Alliant hopes to bring high-achieving candidates to the neediest classrooms. ECO interns will work full-time while completing certification coursework for elementary education, mathematics, or English, attending one weekly seminar and two Saturday workshops a month. That's a much less grueling schedule than the two to three courses a week required of most alt cert teachers. For first-year teachers, that difference is priceless.