Research and Rhetoric on Teacher Certification: A Response to "Teacher Certification Reconsidered"

Linda Darling-Hammond
Education Policy Analysis Archives, Vol. 10, No. 36
Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University
September 6, 2002

In response to Kate Walsh’s acclaimed study on teacher certification, Linda Darling-Hammond attempts to combat Walsh’s findings against certification with her own findings in favor of certification. Darling-Hammond claims that Walsh’s paper "is littered with inaccuracies, misstatements, and misrepresentations," and as such, "sheds little light on the research or its implications for teacher education and certification." In this paper, Darling-Hammond makes five assertions about Walsh’s research, suggesting that it includes "evidence ignored," "unfounded claims," "misrepresentations of research," "methodological issues and double standards in using research," and "illogical policy conclusions."

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In light of the NCLB legislation, this article describes the effectiveness of alternative forms of teacher certification. Alternative certification has grown in popularity in recent years, but as the article notes, the results have been mixed. Some studies demonstrate that alternative certification is fast and also effective in producing well educated children,...

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Based on his extensive research on alternative teacher certification through the years, Mitch Pearlstein compiles a brief look at several key tidbits which show that alternative teacher certification is just as effective, if not more effective, than traditional certification. Pearlstein encourages alternative certification because he believes it directly improves...

In this article, Katherine Kersten seeks to reveal the University of Minnesota’s future aims in regards to the education of teachers. According to Kersten, U of M seems to be seeking to completely revamp the ideologies of its teaching students by practically forcing them to accept progressive philosophies that the university approves of. This article goes on to...

This short piece points out that solid teaching credentials do not necessarily make a good teacher. Unfortunately for America’s schools, certification standards are keeping potentially good teachers out of the market while at the same time keeping demonstrably bad ones in. Hess recommends that the solution to this problem is to "Overhaul state licensure systems."...

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In commenting on the 2008 presidential election, Marcus Winters notes the little exposure given to education matters. While debate on this topic was minimal, Winters does approve of one of the candidates’ idea to promote alternative teacher certification. This article briefly traces some of the pros and cons of alternative teacher certification and suggests that an...

TIME weighs the pros and cons of alternative teacher certification in light of the growing teacher shortage in New York. Although alternative certification programs are met with enthusiasm on the part of non-teacher professionals, many in the education arena skeptically condemn the idea that anyone besides a properly trained teacher can effectively handle...

Contrary to popular opinion, Sol Stern believes that the shortage of certified teachers in New York is not a major problem. Stern suggests that many of the so-called unqualified and uncertified teachers are actually talented individuals who have the potential to greatly advance quality education in the schools. This article discusses the success that New Jersey...

Chart or Graph

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Number of public high school-level teachers who reported a particular main assignment and the percentage with a major and certification in that main assignment, by subject of main assignment: 2007–08

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This chart indicates the level of teacher proficiency that each state tests for. Ten states do not have a teacher academic proficiency test.

As the title suggests, this chart describes the differences in requirements for true alternative teacher certification and traditional teacher certification.

Analysis Report White Paper

"The year 2011 was no ordinary year for teacher policy. In fact, it was a year like no other chronicled by the National Council on Teacher Quality's (NCTQ) State Teacher Policy Yearbook. This fifth annual edition of the Yearbook documents more changes in state teacher policy than NCTQ has seen in any of its previous top-to-bottom reviews of the laws and regulations governing the teaching...

This report explores the original aims and ideals of alternative teacher certification and the gradual shift away from this ideal that has occurred over the years. Walsh and Jacobs surveyed a variety of "alternative" education programs and found that many operate no differently than traditional undergraduate education programs. Indeed, many current "alternative"...

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This report compiles a variety of education research in the attempt to determine whether or not official teacher certification is more effective than alternative certification. Much of the report comes to the conclusion that there is not enough evidence for either category to influence public policy decisions; however, the compilers do seem to believe that there is...

This paper provides an overview of the materials discussed in the book, "A Qualified Teacher in Every Classroom?" Hess, Rotherham, and Walsh recognize that there is a deficit of highly qualified teachers, and claim it is the direct result of poor teacher training programs. The authors also present some of the relevant ideas on alternative teacher certification and discuss whether or not the...

In the words of David Angus, "This study is designed to provide historical background and context for current debates about education policy, indicate how we arrived at our present process of teacher education and certification, identify recurring themes in that history, and demonstrate that the current approach to teacher education was neither inevitable nor...

In response to Kate Walsh’s acclaimed study on teacher certification, Linda Darling-Hammond attempts to combat Walsh’s findings against certification with her own findings in favor of certification. Darling-Hammond claims that Walsh’s paper "is littered with inaccuracies, misstatements,...

Rick Hess takes a look at the current system of teacher education and suggests that, while it served its purpose in the past, the time has come to replace its outdated methods of certification. According to Hess, the education establishment is not keeping up with the vocational and geographic mobility that is prevalent in our culture, and that many schools are...

This paper by Kate Walsh is one of the most widely cited pieces in studies that address certification standards for teachers. Walsh attempts to break down the research commonly used by those who lobby for higher standards in teacher certification. Her findings lead her to believe that much of the information used to promote traditional teacher certification is...

Rather than taking sides with either of the normal liberal or conservative approaches to teacher certification, Hess advocates a third solution to teacher certification that is less complicated and more logically based. In order to present his reformatory ideas, Hess lays out the history of teacher certification and the pros and cons of the current system. In all,...

Although Hess has a conservative, reformative ideology when it comes to teacher certification, this article demonstrates his appeal for a rational, logical look at the entire issue. This piece traces the history and growth of teacher certification, while also explaining the two different viewpoints over this subject. Hess opines that both sides need to take a step...

This manifesto outlines the current course of action in education schools, the reasons why this course of action is ineffective, and multiple ideas which could improve the current situation of teacher quality and quantity in the nation’s high school and elementary academic institutions. The authors also suggest that the education industry would be better served by...

In David Ruenzel’s eyes, the California teacher shortage and the potential for alternative teacher certification seem to be a match made in heaven. Despite this seemingly ideal situation, Ruenzel reveals the extreme difficulty that qualified, but uncertified  individuals have to endure in order to even make it into a classroom. The author opines that many...

According to the authors of this report, extensive scientific research has been done throughout the years, which shows that there are five basic elements to teaching reading. While this research has been thoroughly proved time and time again, many education schools consistently fail to teach these elements to their teachers in training. Walsh, Glaser, and Wilcox...

Video/Podcast/Media

This interview features "C. Emily Feistritzer, PhD, President and CEO of the National Center for Alternative Certification (NCAC). Dr. Feistritzer discusses how alternative certification programs can differ from traditional education programs and offers advice for people interested in becoming teachers."

This video acknowledges that there is a need for change and reform in teacher education, but it subtly implies that this change should revolve around progressive policies and ideas. Several of the speakers infer that "education schools" should be teaching their students to be "relevant to the future," instead of focusing on how to train children through traditional...

Primary Document

"This report examines the postsecondary majors and teaching certifications of public high school-level teachers of departmentalized classes ... in a selection of subject areas by using data from the 2007–08 Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), a sample survey of elementary and secondary schools in the United States. SASS collects data on American public, private, and Bureau of Indian Education...

"I’m here today to share our ideas about how the Legislature should deal with three education issues in the current session.

One involves steps to immediately address the achievement gap.

The second is a plan for performance reviews of teachers that will make our strong teaching profession even stronger.

And the third is a responsible plan to create alternative pathways...

In this "annual state of American education speech," the U.S. Secretary of Education describes his numerous goals for education. The latter part of his speech deals with teacher training, preparation, and certification standards. Riley states that there is a need for an expanded view of alternative certification as well as increased education school standards.

Arthur Wise, the president of NCATE, commends the United Arab Emirates on its successful implementation of a teacher education program comparable to those supported by NCATE in the U.S. In the course of the speech, Wise describes various elements of what NCATE believes are key components of a successful teacher education program.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s speech to Columbia University’s teachers college fully acknowledges the repeated failures of American education schools throughout the twentieth century. Duncan believes that these education schools can and should be reformed, and he lays out a variety of ways in which these plans can be accomplished.

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The Christian school is to be favored for two reasons.

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