Maine considers work experience as an alternative to teacher education courses
- The Maine Department of Education is considering a plan that would allow years of work experience to stand in for traditional teacher education coursework in order to fill empty positions, according to Maine Public.
- Applicants would only need a bachelor’s degree and on-the-job experience that is related to the teaching profession, and to complete a few courses in classroom management and pedagogy.
- The president of the state’s teachers union is opposed to the plan and says it weakens the profession and potentially hurts students and schools. But administrators say the proposal provides more flexibility and would allow students to benefit from those with industry expertise.
Researchers continue to debate whether there really is a shortage of teachers or whether states just aren’t doing enough to get teachers in the areas where they are needed the most, such as math, science and special education. Either way, the past few years have seen a growing variety of innovative efforts to recruit and retain teachers, from focusing on creating a future pipeline of educators with high school teaching academies to building affordable housing units for teachers in high-priced areas.
Some experts suggest that allowing teachers to transfer their licenses across state lines with greater ease — reciprocity — would help states meet the demand for teachers. But even under existing reciprocity agreements, teachers often are still faced with additional requirements before they can teach in a different state.
Experts also note that administrators play a significant role in retaining the teachers they have by, for example, prioritizing time for teacher collaboration and encouraging teachers' voices in the decision-making process.
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