The Fox Is Running the Hen House in New Jersey

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In the August 29, 2003 TQB, we reported on an effort by the New Jersey department of education to significantly change the regulations for its successful alternative certification route launched 25 years ago. Today, an update.

On September 3, New Jersey's State Board voted 8-4 to adopt the new regulations, subject to a final vote in early December. Former New Jersey commissioners Saul Cooperman and Leo Klagholz managed to get one of the worst provisions of the bill stripped-the requirement to have alt cert teachers take 36 credits of pedagogy.

However, several other damaging provisions remain. The state adopted standards from INTASC, standards that are high on vague, feel-good terminology but are useless in raising student achievement. The fabrication of dual-subject positions (e.g., "Social Studies/Literacy) in the middle grades is particularly worrisome because it gives an advantage to teachers from traditional teachers colleges who can get certified in both subjects over teachers from alternate routes who generally have a single major.

In an instance of what must be bad faith (because it can't possibly be ignorance), the new standards give control of alternative certification to colleges of education. This is the fox running the hen house. With traditional schools of education in charge of the state's alternative route system, we may see a return to the conditions of 25 years ago: proliferation of certification requirements and courses and diluted academic education for traditional candidates. Worst of all, the students of New Jersey lose.