Three years ago, prospective teachers looking for a fast track to the classroom in CPS could choose from among 14 alternative certification programs. Now there are only seven.
* Golden Apple Teacher Education. This well-regarded pioneer certification program was run by the Golden Apple Foundation from 1998 until 2007. But it was losing money and its funders believed CPS, as the chief beneficiary, should pick up the full cost of the program, says Foundation President and CEO Dominic Belmonte. Now Golden Apple serves as a consultant to the Chicago Fellows Program and provides support for fellows during the summer. “We couldn’t get the funding to do what we think needed to be done,” says Belmonte. “We still have our hand in it, but in a different way.”
* University of Illinois Middle Math and Science Alternative Certification. This program was created to address the shortage of teachers in these subjects. But, says Celina Sima, associate dean for academic affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago, “We found we are addressing the math and science teacher shortage quite well through our traditional teacher education program.”
* Elementary teacher certification at Governors State University. The program no longer meshed with CPS, says Kathy Gillespie, recruitment coordinator at Governors State. The district wanted programs to offer a master’s degree; at the time, the school did not. And the university had no economic incentive—CPS paid tuition for students, but that already was covered by a grant, she says. “It was an amicable and mutual dissolution,” Gillespie says.
* Chicago State University’s alternative program for physical education teachers. This program fell by the wayside when the person who oversaw it retired. A university administrator says Chicago State is contemplating whether to revive the program and try again to work with CPS.
* The First Class Special Education Teacher Preparation Program, known as FACE. FACE operated six alternative certification programs to train special education teachers through six different universities, including Roosevelt and UIC. But the graduates worked as CPS cadres at a lower salary without benefits because the Illinois State Board of Education had not approved an alternative certification program for special education teachers, says Cleo Aquino, manager of CPS’ teacher pipeline programs. Since then, FACE has been folded into Chicago Teaching Fellows. Graduates get the salary and benefits of a first-year teacher.
Added in the last year are:
* Chicago Teaching Fellows. Created by CPS, this program, which turned out 100 of the 350 new alternative certification teachers last year, is a partnership with National Louis University and the well-regarded New Teacher Project based in Santa Cruz, Calif.
* Bilingual Transitions to Teaching. This program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education and administered through the Illinois State Board of Education.
In addition, four programs survived the cuts: The Academy for Urban School Leadership, Urban Impact through Education, the Associated Colleges of Illinois program and Teach for America.