2011 Expanding the Pool of Teachers Policy
The state should provide an alternate route that is free from regulatory obstacles that limit its usage and providers.
Kansas limits the usage and providers of its alternate route.
Alternative licensure in Kansas is also only for secondary content teachers and for a limited number of K-12 subject area teachers.
Kansas universities are the only institutions authorized to provide alternate route programs.
KAR 91-1-203 http://www.ksde.org/Default.aspx?tabid=320
Broaden alternate route usage.
Kansas should reconsider grade-level restrictions on its alternate route. The state should provide a true alternative path to certification and eliminate requirements that alternate route teachers can only be hired if traditionally certified teachers cannot be found. Alternate routes should not be programs of last resort for hard-to-staff subjects, grade levels or geographic areas but rather a way to expand the teacher pipeline throughout the state. The state is commended, however, for taking out exclusionary language that required districts to "exhaust attempts to hire a traditionally licensed teacher" in its most recent legislation.
Encourage diversity of alternate route providers.
Kansas should specifically authorize alternate route programs run by local school districts and nonprofits, as well as institutions of higher education. A good diversity of providers helps all programs, both university- and non-university-based, to improve.
Kansas was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis. The state also contended that the program was designed to fill high-need content areas, and since elementary is not a high-need area there is no need for alternate route certification in this subject. The state further asserted that "all alternative providers are welcome to operate in Kansas once the organization has received state accreditation. Western Governor's is seeking state accreditation and thus is in the process."
Unfortunately, the state's response illustrates the belief that alternate routes are a lesser certification option, acceptable only when there is not an adequate supply of traditionally prepared teachers. This perspective prevents these routes from being a true alternative that creates another pipeline for talented, nontraditional candidates to enter the classroom.