Alternate Routes Policy
The state should allow a diversity of alternate route providers. This goal was reorganized in 2017.
Alternate Route Providers: Illinois does not limit the providers of its alternate routes. However, the state requires regional accreditation for all coursework used as part of a preparation program, which may limit the types of entities applying to be alternate license providers because most are not regionally accredited.
105 ILCS 5/21B-50 Directory of Approved Programs: https://www.isbe.net/Documents/approved-alt-lic-programs1116.pdf
Further expand the diversity of alternate route providers.
Illinois should continue to consider policies that encourage additional providers beyond what the state currently offers, including alternate route programs offered by school districts and other nonprofit organizations. A robust diversity of providers has the potential to help all programs, both university- and non-university-based, to improve.
Further, Illinois should refrain from articulating requirements unrelated to program quality of teacher effectiveness, such as its current requirement regarding regional accreditation for all coursework, as this effectively precludes providers that are not institutions of higher education from offering alternate route programs.
Illinois provided NCTQ with the facts necessary for this analysis.
The state also added that it is exploring alternative options that would require statute and rule changes to allow entities that are not regionally accredited to offer alternate route programs.
Alternate routes should be structured to do more than just address shortages; they should provide an alternative pipeline for talented individuals to enter the profession. Many states have structured their alternate routes as a streamlined means to certify teachers in shortage subjects, grades, or geographic areas. A true alternate route creates a new pipeline of potential teachers by certifying those with valuable knowledge and skills who did not prepare to teach as undergraduates and are disinclined to fulfill the requirements of a new degree.
Some states claim that the limitations they place on the use of their alternate routes impose quality control. However, states control the criteria for who is admitted and who is licensed. With appropriate standards for admission and program accountability, quality can be safeguarded without casting alternate routes as routes of last resort or branding alternate route teachers "second-class citizens."