Update: Where All The "Alt Certs" Are
There are now an estimated 500 different alternative certification programs in the US, and an estimated half a million alt cert teachers in classrooms. However, Teach For America -- the organization most commonly associated with alt cert -- makes up just 10 percent of these teachers, and there's no reliable information about where all the other alt cert teachers are distributed (or how they perform compared to traditional or veteran teachers).
Some of that's about to change, thanks to a somewhat surprising but welcome provision in the latest budget deal that would require a report on alt cert numbers and distribution. I saw it on Title I Derland first (“TFA Regulation” Extended, Report Mandated), and here it also is on Politics K-12 (Stopgap Spending Measure Deals With Highly Qualified Teacher Issue).
Output measures are great, but until that wondrous day when we can reliably measure teachers based on classroom effectiveness, we still need to know what kind of programs and certifications they have under their belts. One thing is already clear: Most alt cert programs aren't TFA. (Also: TFA is not all-powerful.)
PS: My next article/book chapter via AEI retells the story of how TFA got "left out" of the highly qualified teachers definition in NCLB in the first place, and subsequently ramped up its Washington lobbying efforts in order to win federal funding and prevent any repeat of NCLB in the future.