The Oklahoma legislature just OK'd (sorry, I couldn't resist) the certification of teachers through the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence, a national alternative-route program.
Nine states now support the credential, which is granted after candidates pass content-area and pedagogy tests. (The candidates get help and coaching from a pool of experienced teachers prior to taking the tests.) The states are Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Utah.
The bill, in fact, passed the Oklahoma House unanimously, 99-0. I'm told that's the first time legislation to approve the program has ever passed without some objection. Quite a far cry from 2004, when the California State Commission on Teacher Credentials voted not to move forward with ABCTE after teachers' unions and representatives of education schools protested.
David Saba, ABCTE's president, referenced a recent report by the National Commission on Teaching and America's future that found about half of Oklahoma's teaching force is composed of teachers older than 50.
"As they approach retirement age, it will be critical to have enough new teachers in the pipeline from all certification routes. We’re excited to work with school districts throughout Oklahoma to fill teaching vacancies with talented career-changers who can bring their real-world knowledge to the classroom," he said.