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Teacher Certification Program Could Fold

Education

Classroom | Image by Shutterstock

The Lone Star State’s biggest teacher preparation and certification company could have its accreditation revoked for failing to improve its services after being placed on probation by the State Board for Educator Certification back in July.

Texas Teachers of Tomorrow (TTT) certifies thousands of aspiring educators. However, according to The Dallas Morning News, that could come to a swift end as early as Friday.

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has recommended to the State Board that it withdraw TTT from its accreditation due to alleged ongoing issues related to deceptive marketing, the number of classroom training its enrollees receive and whether enrollees are matched with qualified mentors.

Alternative certification programs, like those offered by TTT, “typically provide individuals who already have a bachelor’s degree with a pathway to certification that does not require them to obtain another degree. In these programs, candidates can become a ‘teacher of record’—taking responsibility for leading a class and often teaching without direct supervision—before completing all their certification requirements,” according to American Progress.

Lawyers for TEA and TTT will face off before the State Board on Friday to argue whether the company lived up to its end of an agreement with the state to improve its practices.

“Teachers of Tomorrow has worked diligently to completely update our process and procedures to demonstrate compliance with both the letter and the spirit of TEA’s standards,” said TTT CEO Trent Beekman in a statement, per The Dallas Morning News. “We will demonstrate that there were fundamental errors in the analysis of the compliance review data.”

Because TTT’s share of the alternative certification market is so large, any further sanctions or loss of accreditation could exacerbate the ongoing teacher shortage in Texas.

As previously reported in The Dallas Express, as many as 20% of Texas teachers are currently teaching in classrooms as part of an alternative certification program.

For its part, Dallas Independent School District (DISD) operates its own alternative certification program, which provides candidates with about four months of training, including classroom observation and virtual pre-service instruction.

The district has been losing hard-working, lifelong veteran educators at an alarming rate in recent years, with DISD leaders opting to focus on developing new-hire incentives instead of working to keep veteran teachers by supporting them and shoring up retention incentives.

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