Board of Education approves teacher certification program - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Board of Education approves teacher certification program

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Hearing held in Hartford on Wednesday (WFSB) Hearing held in Hartford on Wednesday (WFSB)

An alternative approach to teaching has received the ‘green light’ by the state Board of Education.

The board voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to allow "Relay," a non-profit group to certify teachers, but the approach has its critics.

Some may call the approach unorthodox, as it is new, but it is being done in nine other states.

Connecticut educators have a major problem with it, saying this is a crash course in teaching.

On Wednesday, the state Board of Education heard hours of testimony from both sides.

Katherine Arroyo is part of Relay. She's a substitute who works at an alternative school in Waterbury. 

"We do practice with other aspiring teachers who act as students. We do record ourselves,” Arroyo said.

The “Yes” vote by the Board of Education allows Arroyo to become a full time teacher, which some educators are very much against.

"What this program is intended to do is put less prepared teachers to work in more challenging districts - it’s an inequitable dynamic,” said Michael Alfano, of the American Association of Colleges for Teaching Education.

Critics say alternative teachers don't get the same training, leaving them unprepared.

Relay is currently in a number of Connecticut schools, including Waterbury, New Haven and Norwalk where they provide professional development for teachers. Now they can apply, and actually be certified teachers.

Parents like Gwen Samuels support change, but with checks and balances.

"It’s bringing non-traditional innovative ideas to the table for our children,” Samuels said.

Board member Terry Jones said we have to be willing to try new ways.

Relay is nationally accredited and they’ve had some success in high needs schools with low income students.

The Board of Education says they will be collecting data and monitoring student progress.

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