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Both non-traditional programs and too many traditional programs fail to adequately provide initial preparation, then we do not give enough attention to supporting beginning teachers during their early years of teaching. In order to produce a stronger teaching force we need to increase pre-service preparation (not short-cut it) and provide better induction programs.
Non-traditional certification tracks allow talented individuals to work in schools without forcing them to undergo standard education curricula of dubious value. Instead, they study academic disciplines, work in various sectors, etc. - then bring that experience and knowledge to the classroom. As recent GRE scores have shown, those pursuing graduate degrees in education-related fields are on the left side of the bell curve. We need all the talent we can get.
Non-traditional tracks have faults just like every other program. The Village Voice's recent article that purportedly eviscerates the Fellows program points out weaknesses that will, hopefully, be addressed. It should emerge stronger.
The NY Teaching Fellows program is quite new. Education curricula in our colleges/universities, however, are not, yet the NYC Public School System is rife with problems despite being staffed by practitioners from these tried and true programs.
I wouldn't place too much blame on NYTF just yet. There is a fair amount of work yet to be done, and programs like NYTF are most certainly part of the solution.
Matthew K. Tabor