2017 Alternate Routes Policy
The state should allow a diversity of alternate route providers. This goal was reorganized in 2017.
Alternate Route Providers: Minnesota allows school districts, charter schools, and nonprofit providers to create and implement alternate teacher preparation programs. Notably, however, there is little to no diversity in the providers actually offering alternate route programs in Minnesota. The state's current teacher preparation program providers are overwhelmingly institutions of higher education.
Minnesota Statutes 122A.245 Alternative Preparation Providers Approved Unit Site List: https://mn.gov/board-of-teaching/assets/Unit%20Site%20List_tcm25-254791.pdf
Further expand the diversity of alternate route providers.
While Minnesota allows entities other than institutions of higher education to set up alternate routes, the state should continue to consider policies that encourage additional providers beyond what the state currently offers. A robust diversity of providers has the potential to help all programs, both university- and non-university-based, to improve.
Minnesota declined to respond to NCTQ's analyses.
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."