It's natural enough to assume that a professional who has received more job training will be more effective than one who has received less.
So when critics of alternative teacher certification casually assert that it would be "bizarre" to expect a "a five-week long TFA training camp" to be as effective as a year of traditional teacher training (as Anthony Cody does) or that traditional certification is required to make sure teachers are "fully prepared" (as Nancy Flanagan does), readers could be forgiven for assuming supporting evidence exists, even if the authors don't present any of it.
In reality, however, there is a considerable body of research on the effectiveness of alternatively-certified teachers, and taken as a whole it suggests that such teachers compare favorably to their traditionally-certified peers.
Indeed, just in the last few months at least two more studies on the subject have come out. One found that alternatively-certified teachers were about as effective - and in some cases more effective - than traditionally-certified teachers in North Carolina.
Another found that some of the most effective teachers studied (in Florida) were produced by alternative certification programs requiring the least pre-service coursework.
One could reasonably argue that any or all of these studies are limited in various ways. Most tend to focus on boosts to students' math or reading test scores, for example, and that may be an excessively narrow view of teacher effectiveness.
But that is not the debate that we are having. In fact, if you were to read mostly critics of alternative certification, you may not know that this research exists at all.
The result is a largely evidence-free debate about teacher preparation, with proponents of traditional certification relying almost exclusively on the intuitive appeal of their position rather than attempting to demonstrate its truth.
It is entirely possible that traditional teacher certification has virtues that are not captured by the existing research literature on teacher effectiveness.
Those virtues, however, should be demonstrated rather than assumed. That's unlikely to happen as long as one side refuses to acknowledge that the research matters - or even exists. - PB (@MrPABruno)(image source)