Alternate Routes Policy
The state should allow a diversity of alternate route providers. This goal was reorganized in 2017.
Alternate Route Providers: Although Missouri previously allowed only institutions of higher education having state-approved conventional professional education programs to offer alternate route programs, Missouri's State Board of Education has approved the non-profit organization Kansas City Teacher Residency (KCTR) to offer educator certification. The KCTR is run in conjunction with Park University.
Further, Missouri coursework requirements are set out only in credit hours, which may result in precluding providers that are not institutions of higher education from offering alternate route programs.
5 CSR 20-400.320(1)(A) Missouri Department of Education, Alternative Teacher Certification Programs: https://dese.mo.gov/educator-quality/educator-preparation/alternative-teacher-cert-programs
Further expand the diversity of alternate route providers.
Missouri 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, Missouri should refrain from articulating specific preparation requirements in terms of credit hours, as this effectively precludes providers that are not institutions of higher education from offering alternate route programs.
Missouri was helpful in providing NCTQ with the facts necessary for this analysis.
The state added that the Missouri State Board of Education has approved the non-profit Kansas City Partnership for Leadership in Urban Schools (KCPLUS).
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."