2017 Alternate Routes Policy
The state should allow a diversity of alternate route providers. This goal was reorganized in 2017.
Alternate Route Providers: South Dakota authorizes only local universities and colleges to offer Alternate Route to Teacher Certification programs. Teach For America is an approved provider in the state; however, South Dakota requires Teach For America candidates to take coursework at an accredited college or university.
South Dakota Administrative Rule 24:15:04:01; 24:15:05:03; 24:53:02:03 South Dakota Department of Education, Alternative Certification: http://www.doe.sd.gov/oatq/altcert.aspx
Encourage diversity of alternate route providers.
South Dakota should specifically authorize alternate route programs run by local school districts and nonprofits, as well as institutions of higher education. In addition, South Dakota should remove requirements that Teach for America candidates, or candidates in any other alternate route program not housed in an institution of higher education, take coursework at an accredited college or university. Such a requirement limits providers, and a robust diversity of providers has the potential to help all programs, both university- and non-university-based, to improve.
South Dakota 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."