Education budget problems and lack of applicants may hamper an alternative teacher certification program adopted by the state Board of Education, a Kansas University professor says.
Jerry Bailey, associate dean of KU's School of Education, applauds the effort to transform non-traditionally trained people into certified teachers but remains unconvinced the state board's "higher education" program can work.
However, he said, the board's new "visiting scholar" program shows promise. It's for people who don't want to become professional teachers.
The Board of Education has the authority to implement both programs without legislative approval, said Connie Hubbell, a member of the board. They were adopted this month by the board, she said.
"KANSAS SCHOOLS now have the opportunity to make staffing decisions on all qualified candidates, not just those who have completed a traditional teacher education program," Hubbell told the House Education Committee.
Bailey said in an interview: "My hunch is that the state's fiscal situation and the university's fiscal position will make it extremely difficult to divert funds from existing programs . . . to staff a program like the higher education model."
"I don't mean to say it won't happen," he said. "I mean there won't be additional money. Further, I'm not sure there are enough people, a critical mass, who would be interested in that program to justify a program on each campus."
Bailey said the six universities in the Kansas Board of Regents system may form a consortium to manage their part of the program.
THE HIGHER education model provides a path for professional certification, Hubbell said, through a combination of college work and direct teaching experience under direction of a school administrator, college supervisor and a mentor.
Under the program, participants can receive two, one-year provisional certifications to teach in a middle or secondary school until they complete alternative certification requirements. After completing the requirements, participants can recieve a standard three-year teaching certificate.
Bailey said the Board of Education worked hard to come up with a program that protects the integrity of the teaching profession.
"However, no one should delude themselves," he said. "This program can't replace what is offered at traditional schools of education."
The Board of Education's visiting scholar program is designed to allow schools to utilize the expertise of people who don't want to become professional teachers, Hubbell said.
"I THINK it can work," Bailey said. "Every once in a while you can find someone with a natural gift who should be afforded the opportunity to work with young people. I hasten to add that not everyone who perceives themselves as a visiting scholar is."
Bailey said one group of people who might be able to make use of the visiting scholar program are Kansas college and university faculty.