The California Teacher Corps is an important next step in the sweeping change that is needed in how we develop new teachers for our schools.
- Elliot Washor, the Met School and Big Picture Company
Since 1954, California has been pursuing alternative routes into the teaching profession to attain three basic goals – help districts meet their needs; provide an avenue for those who are better suited for non-traditional routes into teaching; and offer an alternative to a student teaching based program
But it wasn't until the 1960s, when a need arose to recruit and train teachers for hard-to-staff schools, that alternative preparation programs began in earnest with the National Teacher Corps and Trainer of Teacher Trainers.
By the 1980s, teacher supply had once again diminished. At the same time, public schools were being heavily criticized for having sub-par teachers. Alternative teacher certification was seen as the answer; a realistic way to bring more qualified and minority candidates into the teaching profession.
Thus, California created the Teacher Trainee Certificate Program, an alternative certification program for single-subject teacher candidates. This was established as part of Senate Bill 813, the Hughes-Hart Education Reform Act of 1983. The Los Angeles Unified School District began their program the following year. In 1987, the name was changed to District Intern Program and was expanded to include the preparation of elementary and bilingual teachers.
Eventually legislation was added to open up district internships in special education as well. Additionally, university-based alternative route programs produced about 1,000 teachers a year throughout the 1980s.
Today, we have both district and university based programs that provide alternative routes to teacher certification in all 58 counties, with close to 900 employing school districts. In past years, half of all math teachers credentialed came from these programs. Additionally, nearly 55,000 exceptionally qualified and committed teachers have been placed into classrooms statewide over the past seven years. Still, countless talented professionals with a desire to serve our children don't even realize this method exists. We would like to change that.
In 2009, the California Teachers Corps was established to provide a unified voice for alternative certification programs throughout the state. By 2020, we have set the goal to place 100,000 highly-qualified teachers in California communities. We know there's an extraordinary teacher out there for every classroom and we won't stop until they're all right where they need to be.