There could be a pool of teaching talent among those not formally trained for the profession. A Wallace Foundation initiative worked to recruit and certify teachers from non-traditional backgrounds, such as Peace Corps volunteers.
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TEACHER RECRUITMENT – WALLACE INITIATIVE, 1989 – 2001
For a variety of reasons, potentially excellent teachers choose not to enter the profession.
From 1989 to 1999, The Wallace Foundation invested $50 million to create Pathways to Teaching Careers. The goal was to provide new ways to recruit and certify teachers from non-traditional backgrounds such as paraprofessionals, uncertified teachers, and returned Peace Corps volunteers. Pathways worked with 40 colleges and universities in 23 states to build effective strategies for recruiting, preparing and certifying teachers from non-traditional candidate pools. Grants supplied scholarships and support services to enable potential teachers to complete bachelor’s or master’s degrees, earn teaching certificates or fulfill other teacher requirements. Partnerships between universities and school districts ensured that the universities fully prepared the new teachers for district jobs and that districts would help place the graduates in high-need schools.
Pathways became a nationally recognized model for creating alternative routes into teaching.
- Through 2000, Pathways recruited and served nearly 2,600 participants – exceeding its goal by 18 percent – and the model was put in place at 32 participating universities.
- Urban Institute research published in 2001 found that 75 percent of Pathways participants had completed teacher certification requirements, compared with 60 percent of traditionally educated students. Pathways teachers also rated higher in classroom performance than typical novice teachers, according to the research.
- Some 84 percent of Pathways graduates worked in teaching jobs in high-need districts, and more than 81 percent taught for at least three years.
- In 1998, Congress and the U.S. Department of Education used Pathways as a model for teacher-recruitment legislation in the Higher Education Act, re-authorized that year.
Research That Emerged From This Work
Absence Unexcused: Ending Teacher Shortages in High-Need Areas
Ahead of the Class: A Handbook for Preparing New Teachers from New Sources
Recruiting, Preparing and Retaining Teachers for America's Schools