Fast tracked teacher certification fills openings, but is it best for students?

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ST. LOUIS - There is a teacher shortage in St. Louis.  The Rockwood School District has seventy vacant certified positions open. St. Louis Public Schools has twenty openings. The Parkway School District has nine. One group trying to help certify individuals to be teachers is American Board. But some question whether their approach is good for kids.

American Board says that you can get your teaching certification done in less than a year and for as little as a couple thousand dollars.

“It’s a rigorous program. They teach you what you want to know,” says Hayley Brueck with American Board. “It’s online curriculum. It’s rigorous. It’s not pay your money and get certification. “

Brueck is a teacher, works for American Board, and thinks the program is perfect for certain people. Most of their students had a career but it wasn't their niche, are good with kids, and now have industry experience to teach.

“I wouldn’t be a teacher without this program. I didn’t have time or money to get certification in another method. With twenty plus years teaching, a masters degree, national certification. I would be out of the classroom,” said Brueck.

The Department of Education for Missouri approves Missouri board certification. However, the National Education Association strongly disagrees , saying “American Board for the Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE) as a means for certification should be rejected. The state board of education must use discretion when issuing temporary authorization certificates to individuals seeking certification through alternative routes."

But Beueck says, “I want them to know it’s a legitimate, rigorous program and it works. I went through program myself.”

The NEA cites that American Board students don’t do student teaching. They spend less time in classrooms while getting certification. Students in traditional programs are required to student teach before earning certification.

Brueck says, “If you compare teachers from this program and 4 year degree programs I think it would come down to personality. Quality teaching. They are not where they got their certification.”