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The Policy Context for the Evolution of Teacher Education Reform in New Jersey


by Gary Natriello - 2017

This article examines the genesis of the New Jersey Provisional Teacher Program, also known as the New Jersey Alternate Route Program, in three stages. First, the motivation to consider alternative ways of recruiting and preparing teachers for New Jersey schools began with general concern about the quality of education in the state and soon moved to consideration of means of strengthening teachers and teacher education. Second, the interest in improving the preparation of teachers led directly to changes in the regulations governing college-based teacher education programs. Third, the principles that were first applied to the reform of college-based programs were then adopted to structure and regulate an alternative route to teaching and the Provisional Teacher Program.

New Jersey led the nation in the development of an alternative format for the preparation of teachers. The New Jersey Provisional Teacher Program, sometimes referred to as the New Jersey Alternate Route Program, was the first statewide program to provide for the preparation and certification of beginning teachers by means other than the traditional college-based teacher education programs. To some, this new program represented a radical departure from previous practices; to others, the program was merely a change in the format of the experiences that constituted the preparation of new teachers.


My goal in this article is to develop an understanding of the forces that led to what is arguably one of the most dramatic changes in the preparation of teachers in the late 20th century. The New Jersey case is of particular interest because it was the first program to remove exclusive control of the formal preparation of teachers from faculties of teacher education. But it is also of interest because many states followed New Jersey’s lead and adopted alternative forms of teacher preparation.


What is less well known about the changes in policies regarding teacher education in New Jersey in the last quarter of the 20th century is that there were major alterations in the regulations governing college-based teacher education as well. In many respects, the forces that led to these changes in college-based teacher education were the same as those that led to the implementation of the alternate route program.


Both the changes in the college-based programs and the alternate route grew out of a more general concern for the quality of public education in the state. I begin by describing the forces that developed in the 1980s that eventually led to major changes in the regulations governing the education and licensing of teachers. I describe the major currents of thought about teachers and teacher education that produced two distinct kinds of changes: those pertaining to the existing college-based programs, and those enabling the establishment of the alternate route into teaching. I next describe the evolving regulations governing college-based teacher education and the responses of New Jersey colleges and universities to those changes. Finally, I provide a similar treatment for the alternative route program.


THE POLICY ENVIRONMENT


The development of interest and support for changes in the regulations governing the certification of teachers in New Jersey took place over a 10- to 15-year period beginning in the early 1970s. Notably, observers and policy makers did not begin with an interest in reforming teacher education; they began with a concern over the quality of the education offered in the schools of the state. In 1975, the New Jersey State Legislature enacted Chapter 212 of the Public School Education Act in response to the requirement from the education section of the New Jersey constitution that every child in the state be provided with a public school education that is “thorough and efficient.” As part of a broader attempt to understand how such a “thorough and efficient” system of education might be achieved, the legislature also conducted a series of inquiries into various aspects of public education. The Assembly Education Committee’s Study of Tenure in the Public Schools (New Jersey Assembly Education Committee, 1977) was one of these efforts. It addressed not only the subject of tenure but also the general issues of the quality of teaching and teachers. The final report of the study, which was submitted to the General Assembly on April 28, 1977, included two recommendations concerning teacher preparation:


Recommendation 8: There should be a comprehensive revision of our teacher certification requirements; and

Recommendation 9: There should be a commission established to

study teacher preparation at the state colleges.

(Reported in Hollander, 1981, p. 1)


Thus, the same general concern about the quality of education that led to, among other things, the establishment of a statewide testing program in the 1970s eventually led also to the reforms in teacher certification in the 1980s. It is important to understand the events and perceptions that created a climate for reforming teacher education and certification. In this section, we consider the major distal factors that eventually led to the reform of college-based teacher education and to the establishment of the alternate route into teaching.


THE GROWING PERCEPTION OF A PROBLEM IN THE PREPARATION OF TEACHERS


In the 1970s, the major theme among New Jersey policy makers focused on the preparation of teachers was concern about the quality of the individuals entering teaching and the preparation they received. These issues flowed quite naturally from a broader concern about the quality of education available in public schools in the state.


Amid this general concern for the quality of education and of the teaching force, three other factors influenced the course of the debate about teachers and education. The first was the unionization of the New Jersey Education Association. The movement of this dominant teacher organization in the state toward union tactics led some in the state legislature to question whether the unionized teachers should enjoy the benefits of tenure. Despite some discussion on both sides of the issue, there was general agreement that teacher tenure should be left intact. The discussion shifted from certification and tenure to the quality of teacher preparation and teaching. But it was the discussion of teacher tenure that opened the door to later discussions of teacher preparation and competence.


The second factor influencing the discussion about the preparation of teachers in the state’s institutions of higher education was the creation of a state board and department of higher education in the 1960s. Before this time, the state colleges functioned as teachers colleges and were governed by the public school sector. For example, the presidents of these colleges were frequently drawn from superintendencies around the state. Even as late as the 1970s, an examination by the state Department of Higher Education found that large numbers of faculty at the state colleges had only master’s degrees, typically from the institution at which they were teaching. Moreover, the typical career ladder for these faculty members had taken them from being a student at the institution, to a position as a teacher in the public schools, to a position as a cooperating teacher sponsoring student teachers, to a position as a demonstration teacher at the college, to a position as an adjunct faculty member at the college, and, finally, to a position as a full-time faculty member at the college. These facts led some at the Department of Higher Education to the realization that the state colleges were at the time not higher education institutions in the typical sense. Changing the state colleges from teacher training institutions to institutions of higher education would require a revamping of the curriculum and a reallocation of resources on campuses to diminish the dominance of teacher education faculty. The Department of Higher Education under two chancellors fostered this transition throughout the 1970s. Thus, any changes in teacher education would take place against a backdrop of broader changes to transform the state college system. The chief mission of the State Board of Higher Education and the chancellor of higher education during this period was to encourage the transition of the state colleges from teacher training institutions into multipurpose institutions of higher education. In many cases, this involved developing a general education and liberal arts component on campuses where none had existed.


A third factor influencing the thinking and discussion about teacher education and certification was the growing perception that teacher education programs were finding it increasingly difficult to attract talented students. Students in teacher education programs ranked 22nd out of 24 fields in terms of SAT scores (Kean, 1983). Women and minority group members who had traditionally entered teaching were finding other more prestigious and financially rewarding careers in fields newly opened to them. Moreover, there was the perception that colleges and departments of education were lowering standards to admit even the smaller numbers of students entering their programs.


PROPOSALS TO REFORM TEACHER EDUCATION


A number of proposals for the reform of teacher certification regulations arose in this climate during the 1970s. Such proposals illustrate the broad directions being discussed at the time. A good example is found in a statement by then chancellor of higher education Ralph A. Dungan to the Assembly Education Committee (Dungan, 1976). In that statement, prepared in response to a request from the committee to consider whether prospective public school teachers are adequately prepared and whether it is appropriate to grant lifelong tenure, Dungan outlined a series of recommendations. To bolster his recommendations, Dungan included the results of a survey of the presidents of the 19 New Jersey colleges involved in the preparation of teachers.


First, in the area of teacher certification, Dungan reported that the college presidents, with only one exception, opposed the current practice of granting permanent certification on completion of the baccalaureate degree and favored a provisional certificate renewable after a period of successful full-time teaching and graduate-level study. Dungan went on to state his own view that certification should never be permanent.


Second, turning to the topic of teacher education, Dungan argued that current state certification procedures guaranteed neither teacher competency nor teacher flexibility. He went on to explain that the majority of certificates and endorsements were awarded on the basis of individual transcript evaluation, as opposed to completion of a teacher education program approved by the Department of Higher Education, and noted more specifically that under the course-counting procedures of the transcript evaluation process, no evaluation was made of a person’s competency to teach. Further, he maintained that even those graduating from approved college programs of teacher education could not be assumed competent. Dungan argued that “Right now there is no sure way of knowing what kind of teacher we are graduating from our state colleges” (Dungan, 1976, p. 6). Noting that the process used by the Department of Education for the review of teacher education programs relied primarily on in-state educators not always selected because they were recognized experts in their fields, Dungan maintained that “the make-up of evaluating teams themselves raises the problem of conflict of interest and the possibility of less than really critical or rigorous examination” (Dungan, 1976, p. 7). Thus, even those graduating from state-approved programs of teacher education could not be assumed to be competent to teach, according to the state chancellor of higher education.


The chancellor made a host of recommendations to improve the situation. To reform teacher certification, he recommended a system in which provisional certification would be granted for a period of five years after the completion of an approved baccalaureate program. The first renewal would be granted after five years of demonstrated teacher competence and completion of an approved course of professional development. The chancellor noted specifically that the “approved course of professional development” would not have to be an M.A. degree, as recommended by many of the college presidents, but could include other systematic approaches to self-development. The first renewal evaluation would be conducted by rotating regional review boards composed of teachers, administrators, teacher educators, and representatives of the public. Subsequent renewal evaluations would be conducted by superintendents, principals, and at least one other person chosen by the school board of the district. Teachers failing to meet the standards applied by the review boards would have one year to correct any deficiencies. Failure to do so would result in decertification. Finally, teachers with 15 or more years of service would be exempt from these recertification procedures.


To reform the process of evaluating teacher education programs at colleges in the state, the chancellor suggested three kinds of program reviews to be conducted by the Department of Higher Education in addition to the reviews then being conducted by the Department of Education following the procedures set forth by the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education (NASDTEC). First, teacher education programs could be required to conduct an annual self-review and to submit a set of data based on a list of indicators of program quality. Second, problems or weaknesses noted in the self-review data could lead to a follow-up joint review in which the Department of Higher Education would send a delegation to take a closer look. Finally, the Department of Higher Education could conduct a periodic in-depth review in which a panel of out-of-state experts would evaluate all college teacher education programs in a certain discipline.


Chancellor Dungan took advantage of the opportunity afforded by the state legislature’s committee on teacher tenure to criticize teacher education at the state colleges. This was done both because of a serious concern over the quality of the curricula and faculty in teacher education programs at the colleges and as part of a broader strategy to encourage the planned transformation of the state teachers colleges into liberal arts institutions. Even at this early date, the prospect of alternatives to college-based teacher education was presented in the form of what the chancellor described as an “approved course of professional development.” Serious consideration of such a possibility grew out of the simultaneous attempt to strengthen teacher education while curtailing the role of teacher education in the state colleges.


The hearings of the Assembly Education Committee on Teacher Tenure led to the introduction of two bills. One of these bills was designed to revise teacher certification requirements; the other provided for the establishment of a legislative commission to study the issue of teacher preparation. The former was never enacted; the latter was approved. However, the certification bill (Assembly No. 428) introduced during the 1978 session of the legislature captures much of the thinking that emerged from the tenure hearings. The explanatory statement attached to the bill concisely summarizes such thinking about teacher certification:


In the course of its review of tenure in the public schools, the Assembly Education Committee became concerned about teacher certification requirements. New Jersey is one of three states that gives immediate, lifetime certification on the completion of a baccalaureate degree. There are no provisions for teaching experience, no provisions for professional development and no requirement for continued study. This bill is designed to make the teacher certification process more rigorous. This revision, which would apply to all individuals not presently certified, provides for the following:   

1. A limited instructional certificate would be awarded on completion of a bachelor’s degree in an approved teacher education program. This certificate would be valid for 5 years and could not be renewed.

2. The Department of Education could award a nontenurable, temporary certificate for 1 year, provided that the holder completes the requirements for the limited certificate that year.

3. Professional instruction certificates would be awarded only on completion of a Master’s degree in a subject area other than education and 3 years teaching experience. The professional certificate would remain valid permanently unless an individual did not teach a subject for 5 consecutive years. In that event, the certificate would have to be renewed upon successful completion of an academic or in-service training program as prescribed by the State Department of Education.

4. Only classroom teachers holding a professional instructional certificate would be eligible for tenure. (New Jersey Assembly Bill, No. 428, 1978, pp. 2–3)


Even as early as 1978, when this bill was introduced, there was sentiment favoring completion of a degree in a field other than education as one basis for certification. This is clear in the preceding excerpt in the case of the master’s degree required for professional instructional certificates, but it is also clear in the actual language of the bill, which describes the requirements for the limited instructional certificate as completion of an approved teacher education program and the completion of “a baccalaureate degree in a subject area other than professional education.” Although this bill to change teacher certification regulations did not become law, the basic ideas developed in the bill found their way into the discussions of the legislative commission to study teacher education and ultimately into its final report.


THE COMMISSION TO STUDY TEACHER PREPARATION (NEWMAN COMMISSION)


The Assembly Education Committee’s Study of Teacher Tenure recommended the establishment of a commission to study teacher preparation at the state colleges in its report of April 28, 1977. After additional hearings and the endorsement of both the chancellor of higher education and the commissioner of education, the legislature unanimously adopted a statute forming such a commission and expanding the study to include all collegiate institutions, not only the state colleges (Hollander, 1981). The members of the commission consisted of the chancellor of higher education, the commissioner of education, one dean of education from a New Jersey higher education institution, one faculty member from a teacher education program at a New Jersey institution of higher education, two state senators, and two state assemblymen. The Commission to Study Teacher Preparation Programs in New Jersey Colleges, also known as the “Newman Commission” after the state legislator who authored the statute, was established on May 23, 1978, and filed its final report in June 1981. The Newman Commission really consolidated sentiment regarding teacher education and established a consensus about directions for the reform of the preparation of teachers. The major elements of this consensus found their way into both the regulations for college-based programs and those governing the alternate route.


The hearings of the commission gave the Department of Higher Education another opportunity to present its perspective on teacher education. Richard Breslin, assistant chancellor for academic affairs, made a presentation on behalf of the department (Breslin, 1978). In a departure from the tone set by Ralph Dungan in 1976, Breslin began his presentation in 1978 by noting that there were some “atypical and innovative” teacher education programs in the state that should be examined by the commission. Moreover, Breslin described the teacher education programs leading to degrees and certificates approved by both the Board of Higher Education and the State Board of Education as “sound, teacher education programs.”


However, Breslin went on to present an analysis of the demand for and supply of teachers in New Jersey, which showed that supply exceeded demand by a significant degree, and to argue that this situation presented a unique opportunity to increase the selectivity and the rigor reflected in the standards for teacher education and certification. This opportunity to increase standards was so great, Breslin argued, because New Jersey had the lowest standards in the country for awarding the teaching license. Not only did New Jersey require only the bachelor’s degree for initial licensing, but that license was a permanent lifetime certificate. In addition, New Jersey also certified large numbers of teachers through the “field endorsement” approach that required only a counting of courses on transcripts without any assurance that an individual had participated in a coherent program.


The presentation went on to outline the elements of revised requirements for permanent certification. Among these were mastery of a body of professional knowledge and skills, and completion of a comprehensive and sequential program of preparation endorsed by both the State Board of Education and the Board of Higher Education. Breslin also argued that a permanent teaching certificate should “be granted only to those individuals who have demonstrated their professional competence in a clinical setting under supervision of qualified professional peers” (Breslin, 1978, p. 7).


The Breslin presentation also dealt with reforms necessary to strengthen the process of program review for the college-based teacher education programs in New Jersey. Specifically, it noted that the NASDTEC review process utilized by the state Department of Education tended to focus on specific certification requirements, with little attention to broader issues of program quality, such as faculty scholarship or the extent to which the curriculum represents current thinking in a field. Breslin proposed that the Department of Higher Education articulate its own evolving process for reviewing the quality of all academic programs with the NASDTEC process. The report also cited the composition of the NASDTEC teams as a weakness. Such teams did not include regionally or nationally recognized experts and often did not include enough individuals with sufficient expertise to cover all relevant areas. This problem stemmed from lack of resources to pay review team members. Breslin also criticized the reports of the review teams for not being sufficiently “incisive, insightful, and constructively critical” (Breslin, 1978, p. 22) and noted that the Department of Education had previously admitted that it was very difficult to terminate weak programs.


Thus, while the presentation from the Department of Higher Education acknowledged that there were some high-quality teacher preparation programs in the state, it raised serious major objections to current regulations governing teacher certification and criticized the processes used to review college-based teacher education programs.


In its final report, the commission cited a number of problems in the quality of those entering teaching and of teacher education programs. The focus on the qualifications of individuals, even those in approved programs, to become teachers marked a departure from previous practice that relied solely on completion of an approved program of study. The commission found problems in the selection processes employed by teacher preparation programs in the state and in the assessment processes used to determine who would be recommended for certification. In regard to admissions standards, the commission wrote,


We believe prospective teachers ought to have certain characteristics important for them as teachers, and these should be of a higher order than are required in any other profession. Not everyone should or can become a teacher. Teaching requires exceptional devotion, aptitude, and experience. We recognize too, that unless standards of admission are applied systematically and uniformly, it would be possible for a candidate to be admitted to one program of teacher education but not to another. This is a defect in the present system which we wish to remedy. Our goals therefore are twofold. One is to make the standards for admission to teacher education programs uniform across all the colleges in the state of New Jersey. Secondly, we wish to raise those standards. (Commission to Study Teacher Preparation Programs, 1981, pp. 21–22)


The commission proposed that formal admission to teacher education programs occur at the end of the sophomore year and be granted only to those students who (a) have maintained a cumulative average of at least 2.5, (b) have satisfactorily completed a preadmission field experience, and (c) have demonstrated proficiency on the New Jersey Basic Skills Placement Test. With this recommendation, the commission established the practice of setting admission standards independent of those set by the colleges.


The commission also recommended that students be assessed throughout their programs and at the conclusion of their programs, but it left the specific method of assessment to the individual colleges. Thus, with these recommendations, the commission set the stage for the adoption of the practice of assessing individual candidates, a practice that was to be a major feature of the alternate route program. It is important to keep in mind that this practice was first proposed for students in college-based programs.


In addition to the attention devoted to the quality of individual candidates, the commission also devoted considerable attention to the quality of teacher education programs. The commission found teacher education programs in New Jersey to be lacking in two respects. First, it found that teacher education programs did not provide students with sufficient practical experience in teaching. The final report argued,


The first priority is to increase the quantity and quality of required practice. Substantial amounts of practical experience are surely necessary for the success of any program of teacher education. It has been rightly claimed that graduates of current programs are not offered sufficient practice to master even the first year of teaching. Graduates of these programs commonly complain about this lack. (Commission to Study Teacher Preparation Programs, 1981, pp. 18–19)


The commission recommended that each prospective teacher receive (a) the equivalent of three semester hours in a school before admission to a teacher education program, (b) the equivalent of 12 semester hours of practical experience at the upper division level prior to student teaching, and (c) one full semester of full-time student teaching. In proposing these new requirements for practical experience, the commission established the principle of requiring one year of teaching experience before certification, a principle that later was embodied in the regulations governing college-based teacher education and the alternate route program.


The Commission to Study Teacher Preparation Programs also found the college-based programs lacking in another area: general education. The commission noted,


A sound program of general education is necessary to develop teachers who can think, are well-informed, maintain wide-ranging intellectual and cultural interests, and have refined instructional skills as well as enhanced motivation for continuous learning. Each candidate for the teaching profession must therefore have a broad background in the humanities, arts, and sciences. (Commission to Study Teacher Preparation, 1981, p. 4)


The commission recommended that all prospective teachers be required to complete 50 semester credits in general education and a minimum of one year of study in a major noneducation discipline. Thus, the commission established the importance of a strong background in the arts and sciences, another major feature of the regulations governing college-based teacher education and the alternate route program.


The recommendations of the Newman Commission are notable not only for what they included but also for what they did not include. The commission did argue for requiring one semester of “theoretical studies” in the behavioral or social sciences that would provide a basis for teaching. Indeed, the commission viewed the social and behavioral sciences as the foundation for the profession. Included in this category were courses in child and adolescent development, group processes and behavior management, the sociology of communities, and anthropological studies of cultural differences. However, what the combined recommendations of the commission did not leave any room for were courses in the methods of teaching that were not attached to practical field experiences. Such methods courses were routinely offered in programs of teacher preparation throughout the state. The commission never addressed the issue directly, but its combined recommendations left no room in the undergraduate program for such courses. The commission thus established the principle that methods of instruction are best taught in the context of practical experience in the schools.   


In sum, the Newman Commission viewed the preferred undergraduate teacher education programs as consisting of (a) the equivalent of 50 semester hours of general education, (b) a minimum of one year of study in a major noneducation discipline, (c) a minimum of one semester of study in the social and behavioral sciences, and (d) a minimum of one full year of practical field experience.


Finally, the Newman Commission struggled with the appropriate format for the preparation of teachers. As the final report noted,


We seriously considered how to increase the requirements for obtaining a credential without reducing at all what is now required. It became clear that there was no room in a four-year program to accomplish all that was needed to be accomplished if a teacher candidate were to graduate and become an effective teacher. We considered two major changes to cope with the problem of improving the quality of preparation. One of these changes was to require an internship. After careful consideration such a change did not seem feasible at the present time though we recognize the merit of such an approach to improving the quality of preparation. We also considered assigning the first year teacher to an experienced teacher for a period of at least one year. This experienced teacher would be responsible for supervising the beginning teacher, providing guidance and support during the first year. We were not able to work out the practicality and details of such arrangements, though it also is obviously a desirable change in the preparation of effective teachers. (Commission to Study Teacher Preparation, 1981, pp. 37–38)


Thus, the commission considered alternate formats for the preparation of beginning teachers, formats that would expand teacher preparation beyond the four-year undergraduate program and involve experienced teachers in supervising beginning teachers in their first year of teaching. Once again, these were ideas considered in the context of the reform of college-based teacher education that found their way into the alternate route program. Although the report of the commission never envisioned the Provisional Teacher Program, it did argue for providing equivalent routes to certification. The Newman Commission recommended that, in addition to honoring existing reciprocal agreements under which individuals who have completed an approved program in another state are awarded a New Jersey certificate, the state provide an equivalency process for candidates who hold a baccalaureate degree and for those who completed a teacher preparation program in a nonreciprocating state or an undergraduate degree in a field other than teacher education and have acquired competence in education through nontraditional means (Commission to Study Teacher Education Programs, 1981).    


With the delivery of the final report of the Newman Commission in June 1981, several principles that would later come to characterize the changes in teacher education programs were beginning to take root in New Jersey. These included (a) an emphasis on the assessment of the competence of individual candidates, (b) the importance of practical experience for those learning to teach, including instruction in pedagogy linked to practical experience, (c) the need for all new teachers to be firmly grounded in the arts and sciences, and (d) the possibility of new formats for preparing teachers that moved beyond the four-year undergraduate program. These principles found their expression first, not in the alternate route program but in revisions to the standards for teacher certification that occurred in 1982. These standards included a minimum grade point standard for admission to teacher preparation programs and a terminal assessment procedure, the requirement of practical experience beginning in the sophomore year and continuing throughout the program, and increased liberal education requirements and the requirement of a coherent academic sequence in an academic discipline (New Jersey Administrative Code, 1982). These standards are treated in greater detail in the discussion of the specific regulatory changes governing teacher education.


THE BLUE RIBBON PANEL (BERG PANEL)


In the aftermath of the final report of the Newman Commission, the chancellor of higher education took the lead in convening a panel of nationally recognized scholars to examine the recommendations of the Newman Commission regarding undergraduate programs. As the chancellor noted in a memorandum to the Board of Higher Education, “In particular, the Panel was charged with studying the Commission’s suggestions regarding liberal education and the notion of requiring an academic major and behavioral science minor, since these imply the most significant changes for undergraduate curricula” (Hollander, 1981, p. 4).


The panel report included a series of recommendations regarding general education. First, the panel endorsed the recommendation of the Newman Commission that about one half of the undergraduate program be devoted to general education in “Arts and Humanities,” “Mathematics and the Sciences,” and the “Social Sciences.” Second, the panel offered guidelines for the development of general education curriculum for teacher education programs. The panel made it clear that the purpose of the general education curriculum was to develop the prospective teacher as an “educated person” rather than to provide professional preparation. Their guidelines argued that the general education curriculum should provide students with experiences that develop intellectual capacities and not merely transmit information and that general education courses should convey a sense of the methods of inquiry of the disciplines as well as the content. In addition, the panel’s guidelines suggested that general education should emphasize the consequential effects of ideas on society and that they should provide students with historical, comparative, and multicultural perspectives. Moreover, general education courses should juxtapose significant value issues. The panel offered one guideline regarding the development of the general education curriculum for teacher education, urging education and liberal arts faculties to work cooperatively to design the general education curriculum. Following the statement of these guidelines, the panel encouraged institutions to supplement the guidelines through discourse among schools and departments and through study of the growing literature on general education (Berg, 1981).  


Endorsing the key role of general education in the preparation of teachers, the Blue Ribbon Panel specified the dimensions of general education that would be important for the intellectual development of all students. Although there were occasional references to prospective teachers, the elements of general education noted in the recommendations of the panel were viewed as important for the development of any “educated person.” This emphasis on general education for undergraduates in the liberal arts context was in keeping with the Department of Higher Education’s efforts toward the transformation of the state teachers colleges into liberal arts institutions. It is also what one might expect from a panel assembled by the chancellor of higher education leading such efforts.


The panel report also endorsed the position of the Newman Commission on the academic major and added that the term major referred to a coherent grouping of related courses and not just an administrative department or school. Further, the panel discouraged the creation of “contrived or ‘novel’ majors” for education students, arguing that the institutions should rely on established courses and curriculum clusters. To further ensure the integrity of the academic major, the panel urged adoption of a system of internal and external peer reviews of major offerings (Berg, 1981).


The panel’s emphasis on traditional academic majors once again reinforced the Department of Higher Education’s interest in developing institutions of liberal learning. It also set the tone for efforts by state regulators to deny requests for nontraditional majors for some certification candidates


In the area of the behavioral sciences, the Blue Ribbon Panel once again endorsed the basic proposal of the Newman Commission that education students complete the equivalent of a minor in the relevant behavioral sciences. However, the panel dissented from the view that the behavioral sciences alone provide the conceptual basis for the profession, arguing that beliefs about services, systems of ethical imperatives, rhetorical skills, bodies of literature, systems of licensure, selection and examination processes based on public standards, and other characteristics were also at the core of the profession. Finally, the panel identified a long list of areas that should be included in the study of the behavioral sciences by prospective teachers: the study of individual differences, including development, nature/nurture, personality, and psychobiology; learning and memory; abnormal psychology and inhibitions to learning; measurement and measurement techniques; cognition and perception; individuals, roles, groups, and micro-structures; human relationships—race, ethnicity, nationality, social stratification, and complex organizations; comparative macro-structures and cultural differences; social and social-psychological processes relevant to the problems of groups, organizations, and communities; computational sciences; “deviance” and “social control”; demography; and policy problems.


The report of the Blue Ribbon Panel brought to a close a period of investigation, discussion, and debate regarding the shape of undergraduate teacher education in New Jersey. It, along with the report of the Newman Commission, provided the foundation for the reform of regulations governing teacher education and certification. The tone of the report reflected, in no small part, the leadership of the Department of Higher Education and its chancellor, Ted Hollander. The recommendations clearly viewed teacher education as inseparable from liberal education and connected to aspects of the entire undergraduate program.


The climate of thinking about teacher education and teachers in New Jersey, at least among those who had been following the work of the Newman Commission, was filled with the notion that reform was necessary. It is important to note that this climate for the reform of teaching and teacher education predated the broader national movement for educational reform touched off by the report of the National Commission on Excellence in Education (1983). This explains why New Jersey was a leading state in the movement to reform teacher education. Of course, the broader reform movement would add to the momentum for reform within the state.


REGULATION AND RESPONSE:

CHANGES GOVERNING COLLEGE-BASED TEACHER EDUCATION


Beginning with the Assembly Education Committee’s Study of Tenure in the Public Schools and continuing through the work of the Newman Commission and the Blue Ribbon Panel, a consensus had evolved about the need to change the regulations governing undergraduate college-based teacher education programs in New Jersey. This effort, supported at least tacitly, by both the Department of Education and the Department of Higher Education, had been led by chancellor of higher education Ted Hollander. Hollander, who had come to the New Jersey chancellorship from a post in New York where he had headed teacher licensing, had clear ideas about how teacher education should be organized. The commissioner of education at the time, Fred Burke, had been asked by the State Board of Education to develop new certification standards, but Burke had been reluctant to move because of opposition from the New Jersey Education Association. Hollander wanted to develop new comprehensive teacher education curricula and asked the governor for full control over teacher licensing. Such a role would have been particularly useful for the Department of Higher Education’s drive to reduce the role of teacher education at the state colleges as part of an effort to turn them into liberal arts institutions. He almost got such legislation but for the intervention of newly appointed commissioner of education Saul Cooperman, who wanted a more active role for the Department of Education in the matter than his predecessor, Fred Burke.


Nevertheless, in 1981, leadership on matters of teacher education was still exercised by Ted Hollander and the Department of Higher Education. Thus, it came as no surprise to people at the time that the first set of proposed changes in regulations came from the Department of Higher Education in the form of changes in the higher education code.


In November 1981, Chancellor Hollander, in a memo to the members of the Board of Higher Education, proposed for noticing in the New Jersey Register new standards for undergraduate teacher education programs at public colleges and universities (Hollander, 1981). The standards were limited to public institutions because the Board of Higher Education in New Jersey had direct responsibility only for public institutions. The regulations were proposed in three major sections pertaining to (a) admission, retention, and graduation of students; (b) curriculum; and (c) supervision of practicum students. Reviewing the recent history of debate and discussion on teacher education, including the reports of the Assembly Education Committee’s Study of Tenure in the Public Schools, the Newman Commission report, and the report of the Blue Ribbon Panel, Hollander explained the relationship between the various reports and the proposed new standards. He noted first that some of the recommendations were beyond the purview of the Board and Department of Higher Education. Some recommendations, such as instituting a temporary teaching certification at the completion of a bachelor’s degree, could not be implemented by the Board of Higher Education. Others, such as those pertaining to graduate-level teacher education, would be addressed by other initiatives of the Board of Higher Education. The chancellor explained that the proposed standards would focus on undergraduate teacher education.


In this memo to the Board of Higher Education, the chancellor explained that the regulations governing admission, retention, and certification were designed to accomplish five goals:


1) insure that teachers are intellectually competent individuals as evidenced by sustained academic success at a level above that which is minimally required for graduation; 2) insure that teachers are proficient in the basic skills of the English language and mathematics; 3) determine, through evaluation of extensive practical experience, that each candidate for certification has the proper motivation to become a teacher and the potential to succeed; 4) insure through competency testing that all candidates have mastered a body of theoretical knowledge relevant to teaching and that prospective secondary teachers are proficient in the concepts and methods of the disciplines they will teach; and 5) provide each institution of higher education with the opportunity to withhold a recommendation for certification in cases where the student qualifies for a degree but shows little promise for success in teaching. (Hollander, 1981, p. 5)


Hollander elaborated on two aspects of the standards in his memo to the board. First, he noted that the new standards should make it clear to the colleges that they should withhold recommendation for certification where students have met degree requirements but show little promise for success in teaching. He observed that in the past, colleges had not withheld such a recommendation because a student completing degree requirements could become certified through the transcript evaluation process, a process that the Department of Education had agreed to eliminate. Hollander also commented on the grade point average standard, admitting that such an indicator is not reliable for comparing students from different institutions, but arguing that the standard was to some extent symbolic of a broader purpose of ensuring that colleges and universities develop ways to assess the intellectual competence of those they recommend for teaching certificates. He encouraged institutions of higher education to develop other criteria for pursuing this broader purpose (Hollander, 1981).


The remainder of the standards dealt with the curriculum of teacher education programs, the supervision of practicum students, and exceptions to the standards. In terms of the curriculum of teacher education programs, the new standards represented substantial changes in each of the four areas: general education, the academic major, the behavioral sciences minor, and professional practice. In general education, the 60-credit-hour requirement called for 15 credit hours beyond the old standard and 10 hours beyond the recommendation of the Newman Commission—the latter to bring the requirement into conformity with earlier policy of the Board of Higher Education, which indicated that “approximately one-half of the student’s time during a baccalaureate program should be devoted to acquiring a solid base of understanding of the accumulated store of knowledge” (NJAC 9:2-36 in Hollander, 1981, p. 6).


In the section pertaining to the academic major, the new regulations actually required not a major but a “coherent sequence” of at least 30 credit hours. This term was used to permit the development of sequences that could be used by teacher certification candidates in those areas where the actual majors were too cumbersome to allow them to be completed along with other teacher education requirements in the course of the typical four-year undergraduate program. In any case, because the old standards required an academic major only for secondary teachers in their teaching field, the new standards represented a major change in the preparation of other teachers.


The behavioral sciences minor was another substantive change in the curriculum for undergraduates attempting to obtain certification. Hollander (1982) observed that both the Newman Commission and the Blue Ribbon Panel had argued that the behavioral sciences provide a substantial portion of the common theoretical knowledge underlying the education profession. Hollander envisioned that the faculties of psychology, sociology, and education departments would jointly develop the behavioral sciences sequence for prospective teachers (Hollander, 1981). This new standard of 18 credit hours moved far beyond the old requirement of a single course in psychology.


In the area of professional practice, the new standards were quite general, certainly more general than the recommendations of the Newman Commission. In his memo to the State Board of Higher Education, the chancellor expressed his belief “that the level of specificity in the Newman recommendations would represent an intrusion on the freedom of education faculties to exercise their professional judgment in designing programs” (Hollander, 1981, p. 8). Moreover, the chancellor also refrained from incorporating the credit hour requirement recommended by the Newman Commission because such requirements are set by the State Board of Examiners, not the Board of Higher Education. The new standards did, however, mandate that student teaching be a “full time experience of one semester’s duration,” and they did specify the qualifications of supervisors and the frequency with which students in practica must be observed.


RESPONSES TO THE PROPOSED HIGHER EDUCATION STANDARDS


A number of individuals and groups wrote to the Department of Higher Education responding to the proposed standards that appeared in the New Jersey Register. These responses provide a sample of thinking in the state about the directions of the reforms. The responses tended to fall into one or more of 10 general categories.


First, a number of respondents expressed support of the new standards and the goal of strengthening teacher education. While many of these statements of support were preludes to criticisms of certain elements of the standards, none were more positive than the comments of the NJEA, the largest organization of teachers in the state, which wrote, “We believe the proposals are offered in the spirit of assuring maximum flexibility and academic freedom for institutions of higher education while ensuring statewide teacher quality” (Armiger, 1992, p. 1).


If the largest organization of K–12 teachers in the state felt that the regulations ensured flexibility and freedom, representatives of the higher education community certainly did not. The president of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in New Jersey argued that the “standards go beyond the realm of standards and invade the curriculum” (Maxwell, 1982, p. 1). The president of Rider College suggested that institutional autonomy might be better served by suggesting “guidelines” than by establishing “requirements.” He also noted that the proposed regulations seemed to contradict the Department of Higher Education’s philosophy of institutional autonomy as stated in the Master Plan for Higher Education (Elliott, 1982, p. 2). The threat posed by the standards to institutional autonomy was also noted in a statement by the New Jersey Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (1982, January) and by faculty representatives from several state colleges (New Jersey Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, 1982).


A third type of comment spoke to a point related to the autonomy issue. Several organizations argued that the new regulations were developed without adequate opportunities for input from scholars and professionals in teacher education in New Jersey. A statement by the New Jersey Association of Colleges for Teacher Education stated the case most completely:


The need to have one coherent and complete set of standards is clearly indicated. The development of such standards should quite reasonably require the thinking and efforts of representative scholars in New Jersey. The Newman Commission Report and the segment of that report which has been modified to form the proposed Minimum Standards Governing Undergraduate Teacher Preparation at Public Colleges and Universities in no way represents such a representative and comprehensive development. The Newman Commission did not engage the thinking or extensive efforts of the teacher educators in New Jersey, and the report cannot be considered to be comprehensive. (New Jersey Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, 1982, p. 2)


Similarly, the New Jersey Teacher Education Round Table urged more involvement of educators and administrators in colleges and public schools (Bartley & Pierpoint, 1982). The New Jersey Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (1982) made a similar point, arguing,


There needs to be consultation with practicing professionals and with professional organizations when standards and criteria are being developed for the many fields of education. This was not done except for one opportunity in the developmental stages of the Newman Commission when organizations could appear at a hearing. The New Jersey Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance did appear and handed in a written critique. From this point in time, several years ago, no further opportunity for input was provided. (p. 1)


A fourth type of concern involved the addition of yet another set of standards in an area of higher education already confronted with multiple sets of standards. For example, the President of Rider College wrote,


I worry that adoption of these regulations will add just one more set of regulations to an already over-regulated field. NCATE, NASDTEC, Middle States and New Jersey Department of Education regulations already exist and have broad professional acceptance. Do we really need additional blanket regulations, which in some instances appear to conflict with rather than compliment those already in place? (Elliott, 1982, p. 1)


Additional regulations are imposed by national professional associations. For instance, the associate dean of Westminster Choir College noted serious conflicts between the proposed standards and those of the National Association of Schools of Music (Wright, 1982). Thus, the new standards would present some with conflicting mandates.


A fifth criticism focused on the generic nature of the standards. In a letter to the chancellor of higher education, the president of Rider College noted,


Lip service is paid to the concept of recognizing exceptions to the requirements at either the institutional or disciplinary level—but no mechanisms are mentioned to accommodate those differences. The comprehensive nature of the regulations is disturbing. There appears to be no real recognition of the fact that a quite different type of training is required to prepare effective teachers to teach in the elementary as opposed to the secondary levels. The present regulations do not appear to be at all geared towards the preparation of good Elementary teachers. Contrary to the prejudices I developed while pursuing a “pure” arts and sciences undergraduate and graduate education, it is essential that prospective elementary teachers get greater exposure to the art and technique of teaching than is provided here or would be necessary for teaching at the secondary level. Further, even at the secondary level and especially in Music, Business Education, Physical Education, Industrial Arts or Chemistry, teachers may require quite different kinds and amounts of pedagogical training and require a different background in the traditional arts and sciences than someone teaching the social sciences, mathematics, English, or languages. In addition, different clinical (field) experiences may be appropriate or desirable depending on a school’s location, its academic calendar or the time circumstances or frequency of its putting prospective teachers in actual classroom settings. (Elliott, 1982, p. 2)


A sixth area in which there were questions and comments concerned the standards regarding the undergraduate major. Indeed, the largest number of comments made fell into this category. Associations, deans, departments, and individual faculty members wrote urging that physical education, health, special education, early childhood education, and business education be recognized as legitimate majors under the new standards. The comments took one of two forms. Some, unaware that previous requirements would be removed, argued that requiring an additional academic major of students in these fields would make it impossible to complete a teacher education program in these areas in four years. Others argued for the academic value of these areas as disciplines in institutions of higher education. Some likened one or more of these fields to the area of “technology” listed as an appropriate major for teachers in technical disciplines such as distributive education or industrial technology and argued that these other areas should be included as well.


Of course, there were some voices on the other side of these issues. The dean of arts and sciences at Glassboro State College wrote, pointing out,


It may seem a small point, but a coherent sequence of 30 semester hour credits is not necessarily a major per se, or at least could be construed by some to be something other than a liberal arts disciplinary major. The following wording is thus suggested as being more precise, given what the intention of the standard seems to be: “Each teacher preparation program shall require its students to complete an academic major of no fewer than 30 semester hour credits. . .” (Donovan, 1982, p. 1)


This would seem to preclude the very sorts of coherent sequences that some in teacher education were advocating.


The requirements in the social and behavioral sciences prompted a seventh category of comments. Several objections were raised. One such objection was that the requirement of a “minor in the behavioral sciences appears to suggest that only that body of knowledge complements the knowledge and practice underlying teaching” (Becker, 1981, p. 1). Other comments requested clarification of this particular standard. The dean of arts and sciences at Glassboro State College suggested that language from the chancellor’s memo to the Board of Higher Education calling for “child and adolescent psychology, learning and memory, testing and measurement, human relationships as jointly developed by faculties of psychology, sociology, and education departments” be incorporated (Donovan, 1982, p. 1). This would specify the key role of arts and sciences departments in providing coursework for this component.


However, comments from others responding to the standards seemed to be asking for an interpretation that would allow traditional courses in the foundations of education to satisfy the requirement. The position paper submitted by the New Jersey Association of Colleges for Teacher Education asked,


Is the “Study of the Behavioral and Social Sciences” defined as it is in the NCATE Standards? (Instruction in these studies may be offered in such courses as history and/or philosophy of education, educational sociology, psychology of education or as an integral part of such courses as history, philosophy, sociology; or as topics in foundations courses, problems in education courses or in professional block programs; or as independent readings.) (New Jersey Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, 1982, p. 3)


The AFT Council of New Jersey State College Locals recommended that the social behavioral sciences requirement read “a demonstrated knowledge of philosophical and social foundations, as well as a grasp of educational psychology” (Haas, 1982, p. 1).


Some commentary focused on the GPA requirements specified in the proposed standards. Objections to this requirement took two forms. Some who commented on this standard argued that it should be required for exit from a program but not for admission. The logic of this position is spelled out in a letter to DHE from the president of Montclair State College. He wrote,


Regarding Section 9:107(a), we believe that this section should be amended to permit the college to admit students whose cumulative grade point average may be below 2.5 to the teacher education program on a provisional basis, and that the specified cumulative average be the minimum required exit criterion for students in the program. Our reasoning for this objection is that many students who enter the college through special programs—including the Educational Opportunity Fund and other programs which focus primarily on minority students—often struggle during the first years at college in establishing themselves. Requiring this grade point average as an entering criterion might, in effect, preclude many minority students who might seek teacher certification from doing so. Therefore, while we do not object to establishing a minimum grade point average and in fact have such a requirement in place at Montclair State College already, we do object to the language of the standard which seems to preclude any provisional admission of students to the program while maintaining the standards as an exit criterion. (Dickson, 1982, p. 1)


A broader critique of the GPA requirement was developed by Peter Wright, associate dean at Westminster Choir College, who wrote,


A strong objection to the minimum 2.5 grade average for admission to a teacher preparation program (Standard XII, p. 34) is hereby registered. Teaching is to a large extent an art, a profession demanding aptitude and motivation as well as accumulation of knowledge. Every institution has experienced among its teacher preparation candidates the brilliant student who demonstrates little or no flair for teaching. Also well known is the type of student who earns minimum grades but who excels as a classroom teacher. Such instances may not represent the majority of cases, but it must be emphasized that the use of a grade average in evaluating fitness for the teaching profession is suggestive of unenlightenment and probably even of bias. (Wright, 1980, p. 5)


A ninth category of comments contained those directed toward the difficulty of completing all the new requirements within a four-year undergraduate program. Some of these came from faculty in health and physical education who noted that students would not be able to complete a major in an academic discipline, a major in health and/or physical education, and all the other requirements within four years. (Of course, the regulations were never intended to encourage such double majors.) In a similar vein, the associate dean of Westminster Choir College calculated that students would have to complete 185 credit hours to satisfy the requirements of all accrediting and certifying agencies. The president of Montclair State College made a similar point and raised a related issue regarding the counting of courses in more than one category.


First, the requirements seem to treat the categories specified—general education, the academic major, the behavioral and social sciences concentration, and the professional preparation program as discrete areas. It is clear to us that a given course could be counted in more than one category. For example, a course in psychology could well be counted in the behavioral and social sciences segment, in the general education segment, and in the professional preparation segment. Unless there is flexibility in applying courses to more than one area the effect in many certification programs, including the sciences and social studies, would be to reduce the number of credits in the academic major in order to complete certification within a four year period. In these comprehensive areas the effects of the standards would be to reduce quality. (Dickson, 1982, p. 2)


Double counting of courses would ease the pressure on the overall credit limit considerably.


A final type of comment concerned the financial implication of the new requirements. Several of those responding to the new regulations supported the requirements of additional field experience and more supervision as long as the state provided additional funds. Respondents argued that the colleges should not be expected to cover these additional costs by internal reallocations.


The reactions to the proposed standards may be viewed as representing four kinds of issues. First, a number of the comments were directed at practical difficulties with the details and implications of the standards. Comments regarding the effect of multiple and potentially conflicting standards fall into this category, as do those regarding additional resources required for the new field experience requirements. Second, the same reactions were the product of political maneuvering and positioning between the state agencies regulating teacher education and the colleges and professional associations affected by the regulations. The college associations quite naturally displayed resistance to the attempt to direct their activities or those of their members. The complaints about the limited opportunities to participate in developing the regulations and curtailing the autonomy of higher educational institutions fall into this category. Third, some comments were reflective of the roles held by the respondents and the individual or collective self-interests associated with those roles. The call for a full academic major requirement by the dean of arts and sciences, and the opposing calls for the recognition of physical education, health, special education, early childhood education, and business education as legitimate majors, are examples of such role-related reactions.


Finally, perhaps the most interesting type of issues concerned those dealing with different and competing conceptions of the knowledge necessary for beginning teachers. The comments of the president of Rider College questioning the value of an arts and sciences undergraduate education at the expense of exposure to the art and technique of teaching, and of the dean at Westminster Choir College challenging the GPA requirement by citing the cases of brilliant students with no flair for teaching and the student with minimum grades and a flair for teaching, clearly represent different concepts of teaching and the knowledge required for imparting them as represented in the standards.


On February 10, 1982, the chancellor transmitted to the Board of Higher Education a version of the proposed standards that had been revised in the wake of the responses to the first set of proposed standards.


Several changes made at that time had substantive import. Original wording requiring students to concentrate in “one of” the arts/humanities, social sciences, or mathematics/science technology disciplines was dropped to permit the development of interdisciplinary sequences for students in home economics, health and physical education, business education, and special education (Hollander, 1982). The section on the general education requirement was modified to permit introductory courses in a discipline to be counted toward both the specialized studies requirement and the general education requirement, provided that the courses met the general education standards of the institution.


The chancellor commented on several other issues raised in reaction to the proposed standards. In response to the charge that the new standards were overly specific, the chancellor pointed out that previous requirements had actually identified specific course titles and course content, something not done in the new standards. The chancellor claimed that the new standards actually provided greater flexibility for teacher education faculty.


The chancellor clarified the meaning of the phrase coherent sequence in relation to the academic major, noting that there were only two instances in which the terms were not synonymous: (a) in those cases in which the credit hour requirements in the academic major in a discipline were so extensive as to prohibit students from completing other certification requirements and (b) in those cases in which the candidate must master a field that is really interdisciplinary (e.g., home economics, physical education). The chancellor also acknowledged that the fees for student teaching might have to be raised and that the comprehensive oral or written exam at the end of the senior year might be part of a broader assessment, and asserted that the new requirements could be satisfied within a four-year undergraduate program (Hollander, 1982). The State Board of Higher Education adopted the standards, and they went into effect for entering freshmen in September 1983.


THE BOARD OF EDUCATION’S 1982 STANDARDS


The standards for programs in teacher education adopted by the Board of Higher Education in February 1982 only governed teacher education programs in public colleges and universities in New Jersey. They had no force in the private institutions of higher education. However, private institutions were bound by the regulations of the Board of Education governing teacher certification. These regulations were changed in July 1982 to bring them into conformity with the Board of Higher Education standards.


These standards of the Board of Education mirrored, for the most part, those of the State Board of Higher Education. There were several additions. The possibility of counting up to 12 credits for both the general education and the coherent academic sequence requirements was clearly specified, as was the possibility of counting some credits in coherent sequences in areas such as sociology or psychology toward the required credits in the social and behavioral sciences. The nature of study in the social and behavioral sciences was explained in greater detail. Finally, a minimum of 30 semester credit hours was specified for the coherent sequence of professional courses. Each of these elements appeared in the State Board of Education standards but not in the State Board of Higher Education standards. Of course, the big difference between the Board of Education standards and those adopted by the Board of Higher Education was that the former applied to all teacher education programs in the state, both those in public higher education institutions and those in private higher education institutions. They went into effect for freshmen entering college in the fall of 1983. Assuming a standard four-year college career, the first class graduating under the new standards would be the class of 1987, those individuals included in our cohort study reported on later in this volume.


ASSESSING COMPLIANCE WITH THE NEW STANDARDS


As noted earlier, the call of the Newman Commission for new standards for teacher education programs was accompanied by a call for changes in the processes for reviewing and approving teacher education programs. With the new standards approved by both the Board of Education and the Board of Higher Education, the Departments of Education and Higher Education issued new guidelines regarding the evaluation of teacher education programs in the state. The new guidelines (Cooperman, 1983, June 9) signaled several significant changes in the process. First, the new guidelines marked the first time that the Departments of Education and Higher Education had worked cooperatively to influence the direction of teacher education in New Jersey. Matters pertaining to the degree would be the province of the Department of Higher Education, while those exclusively related to the teaching certificate would be the province of the Department of Education. In a joint memorandum to the presidents, deans, and directors of teacher education programs at New Jersey colleges and universities, the Commissioner and the Chancellor wrote,


The legal authority for a college or university to offer a program resides with the Department of Higher Education. The legal authority of a college or university to recommend graduates of teacher preparation programs for New Jersey certification resides within the Department of Education. Given that, we would like to draw special attention to one part of our joint Statement of Agreement of June 2, 1983: “A critical aspect of this fundamental agreement is the belief shared by the Commissioner and the Chancellor that, regardless of the assignment of legal authority, teacher education and certification clearly is a responsibility and function of the Boards and Departments of Education and Higher Education.” In consideration of that point of view we note that our joint procedures will be utilized in all teacher education program evaluations, for both public and private colleges and universities whether the evaluations are concerned with implementation of new standards for undergraduate teacher preparation programs, the five-year cyclical review of programs, or new program approval. (Cooperman & Hollander, 1983, September 1, p. 1)


This marked a radical departure from the independent courses previously set by the two departments.


Second, the new guidelines signaled a shift in emphasis from a focus on course requirements for special programs to an emphasis on more general standards regarding administration, curriculum, faculty, and program resources for teacher education. Part of this shift is attributable to the changes in the state standards for teacher education programs, but part is also attributable to the general approach to ensuring program quality adopted by the commissioner of education and the chancellor of higher education and their staffs (Cooperman, 1983, June 9).


Third, the guidelines required a new working relationship between the two state departments and the colleges in which teacher education took place. Specifically, the new guidelines required that the point of contact between the state departments and the colleges be through the president of the college or university rather than through the college’s teacher certification officer. This change was made to ensure that all local college governance processes were observed as teacher education programs were proposed or revised. Of course, this was quite consistent with the movement to require greater integration of teacher education with the broader college program.


The new guidelines for program review also mandated a change in the composition of the evaluation teams employed in the periodic NASDTEC review process. NASDTEC review teams that had previously been composed of New Jersey teacher educators would henceforth be composed of out-of-state experts (Cooperman, 1983, June 9).


These new guidelines for program review would be the basis for the periodic NASDTEC evaluations of teacher education programs. However, with the substantial changes in the standards governing teacher education programs, the commissioner of education and the chancellor of higher education embarked on a joint process of compliance review. The process required the colleges and universities to document the changes made in their teacher education programs to bring them into compliance with the new standards. The review process involved two rounds of reports from the colleges, a preliminary report submitted in November that described the progress made in implementing the new standards, and a final round of proposals for programs that comply with the new standards. Each set of reports was evaluated by independent consultants. In a joint letter from the chancellor and commissioner in December 1983, a set of general principles resulting from the consultant review of the preliminary reports was presented to presidents, deans, and directors of teacher education. The principles reflected some of the tensions between the new standards and the proposals prepared by the colleges and universities to meet the new standards. Not surprisingly, these principles covered most of the major areas of change in the standards.


In the area of general education, the principle reemphasized the “broad, introductory-level study in the ‘pure’ arts and science disciplines” (Cooperman & Hollander, 1983, December 30, p. 1) In addition, however, it noted that courses meeting the institutions’ standards for liberal education would be acceptable if the policies, processes, and rationale used in so designating the courses were documented.


The principle pertaining to the coherent academic sequence emphasized the preference for the academic major where possible and the inclusion of the core courses of the major in cases where the complete major involved too many credits. A principle regarding technical majors in special education, physical education, industrial arts/technology, home economics, and business education stressed that these interdisciplinary majors would “be evaluated on the basis of having successfully integrated the arts and sciences foundation courses (e.g., biology and anatomy in physical education) with applied technical ones” (Cooperman & Hollander, 1983, December 30) and pointed out that applied technical courses excluded education courses. A more general principle pertaining to interdisciplinary majors pointed out that such majors are acceptable only if they have the approval of the State Board of Higher Education and the college and are offered to all students; collections of introductory courses intended specifically for education students were deemed unacceptable. A principal governing courses in the social/behavioral sciences noted that such courses are expected to have credibility with academic faculties in the relevant field and generally be taught by faculty of the academic departments. It also noted that the curriculum and qualifications of those teaching these courses would be reviewed by consultants who are social/behavioral scientists. Another principle spelled out the conditions under which exemptions from the requirement of 30 credits in professional education and 18 credits in the behavioral sciences would be granted; such requests would be honored in cases where the academic requirements of a field were too extensive to permit 30 credits in education or where the reduction in credits is to increase the requirements in the coherent academic sequence and/or the number of courses taken in the arts and sciences.


Finally, the December letter noted that the State Boards of Education and Higher Education would be likely to refine the requirements regarding education and the social/behavioral sciences in the near future:


At the time the State Boards of Education and Higher Education adopted requirements for behavioral science and education, they did so with some reservation. Members of the State Boards expressed the belief that the number of credits was less important than the substance required. The Boards therefore included in these areas tentative definitions of “topics” to be emphasized, and express the intention in the long term to devote further study to the question of what substance ought be required within these areas for purposes of certification. The Board of Education also resolved to revise the alternate routes to certification. (Cooperman & Hollander, 1983, December 30, p. 4)


It is interesting that such sweeping changes were made in the standards governing teacher education when, by admission of the commissioner and chancellor, the Boards of Education and Higher Education were not completely certain of what the basic knowledge requirements for beginning teachers should be. Such action reflects the overriding desire to reinject liberal education into teacher education.


The letter from Cooperman and Hollander noted specific action planned to address the issue of the content of professional education and social/behavior sciences in teacher education programs:


In January 1984, the State Board of Education will convene a panel of nationally recognized educators to define the areas of knowledge and types of skills essential for beginning teachers. This panel’s report will be used in determining the need for modification in both the primary and alternate routes to certification. The application of more specific requirements to the behavioral science and education components will not necessarily result in a major restructuring of your programs. Nevertheless, the definition of more precise requirements is likely to result in adjustments and refinements in the programs to be implemented as appropriate no earlier than Fall, 1985. (Cooperman & Hollander, 1983, December 30, p. 4)


Thus, the national panel would specify the content for both college-based teacher education programs and the alternate route program.


The compliance review process prompted another memorandum from the commissioner and the chancellor to the presidents of New Jersey colleges and universities in March 1984. This memo (Cooperman & Hollander, 1984, March 9) outlined some modifications in the process and the schedule for the compliance review. The major substantive clarification in this memo concerned the process for reviewing courses in the social and behavioral sciences. The departments had requested course syllabi and faculty vitae as part of the compliance review process to assess the appropriateness of courses proposed as meeting the social/behavior sciences requirement. In the face of resistance from the colleges and universities, the two state departments modified their requests. They noted that they had never really intended to review course syllabi and faculty vitae for courses offered through behavioral or social science departments. They had intended to review such materials for courses offered through education departments and schools proposed as meeting the social/behavioral science requirements when such courses were not cross-listed or taught by faculty with joint appointments in the social and behavioral sciences. However, in responding to the objections of representatives from the colleges and universities about state intrusion in matters of internal governance and quality control, the two state departments actually adopted a potentially more restrictive interpretation. Originally, courses in education deemed social/behavioral science courses at the local campus or by the state-appointed consultants (after review of syllabi and vitae) would be approved. Under the revised procedures, only courses deemed social/behavioral science courses at the local campus would be approved.


THE 1984 REVISION TO THE STANDARDS FOR TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAMS


In September 1984, the State Board of Education modified the standards for the state approval of teacher preparation programs once again. These changes took effect for students entering college as freshmen in September 1985. Although the general approach remained the same, there were two major changes. These changes concerned the professional component of the programs. The first change was a more definite limit on the proportion of the undergraduate program devoted to professional preparation. In the 1982 standards, a minimum of 30 semester credit hours were required in a coherent sequence of professional courses, including the study of reading, school curriculum, teaching methodology, materials and technology, instructional management, and student achievement research. The 1984 standards required that “approximately 30 credit hours of instruction shall be devoted to professional preparation,” and in a new resolution, the State Board of Education clarified the meaning of “approximately 30 credit hours of instruction shall be devoted to professional preparation” as:


1. A college may teach fewer than 30 credits to satisfy the requirement for professional preparation but shall not teach more than 30 credits. The number of credits assigned for this purpose is the decision of the college.

2. The “approximately 30” credits must include the field experiences in the sophomore, junior, and senior year and the teaching of the professional components mentioned in NJAC 6:11-8.2(a).

3. Professional courses may be taught in any appropriate department chosen by the college.  (State Board of Education, 1984)


But the 1984 standards reduced the credits related to the study of teaching in two other ways. The 1982 standards had required a minimum of 18 semester credit hours in courses related to the theory of teaching/learning through the study of the behavioral or social studies. Topics such as child and adolescent development, individual differences, learning motivation and memory, testing and measurement, human relationships and group dynamics, and cultural, minority, and urban concerns were to be included in these 18 credit hours. The 1984 standards eliminated mention of these topics, reduced the credit hour requirement to 9 credits, and permitted these 9 credits to be part of either the liberal arts or professional component of the program. Moreover, the 1984 standards specified that at least 96 credits of the total program be distributed among the general education, academic sequence, and social/behavioral science aspects of the programs. Thus, the 1982 standards required a minimum of 30 credits in the professional sequence, plus 18 additional credits related to the theory of teaching/learning, while the 1984 standards limited professional coursework by requiring that 96 credits of the undergraduate program be outside the professional sequence.


The second major change was the specification of the essential areas of study to be included in the professional component of college programs. These areas were detailed in a new section of state regulations. These regulations specified the three essential areas of study—the curriculum, student development and learning, and the classroom and the school—identified by the Boyer Panel that were to apply to college-based programs and alternate route programs. Although these three areas of study are defined quite broadly, as a point-by-point comparison of the old and the new regulations prepared by the New Jersey School Boards Association reveals, three areas covered by the old regulations were not included in the new regulations: reading; human relationships and group dynamics; and cultural, minority, and urban concerns. The difference was particularly salient in the case of reading because the old standards mandated 6 semester credit hours, whereas the new regulations eliminated that requirement.


The chancellor of higher education supported the new certification standards and in November 1984 asked the Board of Higher Education to amend its regulations to conform to those adopted by the Board of Education. These higher education regulations, finally adopted with additional modifications in 1985 to match further changes anticipated by the Board of Education, were consistent with those of the Board of Education and contained language regarding the professional sequence that even more clearly limited the professional study of education:


9:2-12.1e - Each undergraduate teacher preparation program shall provide a coherent sequence of professional courses of no more than 30 semester credit hours which shall emphasize the study of school curriculum and teaching methodology. (Hollander, 1984, November 16, Attachment A, p. 2)


This action completed the reframing of the requirements for teacher preparation by limiting the portion devoted to professional education.


REACTIONS TO THE 1984 STANDARDS


Perhaps the most important factor to consider in reviewing the reactions to the changes in the regulations governing college-based teacher education in 1984 was the larger context of change. At the same time that these changes were being proposed for college-based teacher education programs, a much more substantial change was being proposed: the establishment of an alternate route into teaching, detailed in the next section. Thus, by far, the regulatory changes generating the greatest interest were those regarding the alternate route.


Nonetheless, amid the lengthy statements reacting to the alternate route proposals are at least some comments that illustrate thinking about the college-based changes. Some reactions were supportive of the changes. In testimony before the State Board of Education on behalf of the New Jersey Association of School Administrators, James Dwyer noted “that the revision to the type of courses and required credits in professional preparation and in the social sciences will also enhance the training experience of those students and future teachers seeking certification through the traditional route” (New Jersey Association of School Administrators, 1984, p. 4)


This opinion was certainly not shared by the New Jersey School Boards Association. A representative of the association testified,


The most outstanding feature of the new code is the reduction in course credits relating to teaching from about 33 credit hours to 9 credit hours in the behavioral/social sciences plus whatever the college chooses to offer in the area of professional preparation to cover the topics specified by the Boyer Report. We find this proposal perplexing and disturbing. If the standards that were adopted two years ago after much debate and turmoil are to be suddenly abandoned, we think some evidence of their inadequacy should be presented for public debate and discussion. Moreover, we believe that the code should provide some standards in terms of credit hours required in the area of professional preparation so that there is some uniformity in the preparation and certification of teachers. The topics listed in the code could be covered—however inadequate—in a one week course. They could also entail a full year of study. Such a wide range of discretion should not be left to the individual college. If the standard is not be set in terms of time devoted to study—the credit hours—then it must be set by requiring passage of a test of professional knowledge—and this we do not recommend. (New Jersey School Boards Association, 1984, pp. 5–6)


The School Boards Association continued by noting the changes in the content of the curriculum of teacher education programs:


NJSBA is particularly concerned with the deletion of the requirement that teachers be trained to teach reading. We consider the teaching of reading to be a primary responsibility of the schools and we strongly believe that all teachers should be thoroughly training to teach reading.
In addition, we are concerned about the elimination of human relationships and group dynamics, cultural, minority and urban concerns, and child and adolescent development from the topics to be studied. In our opinion these subjects are as relevant to teacher training as they were two years ago when we endorsed the revisions in the teacher preparation program. (New Jersey School Boards Association, 1984, p. 7)


A number of the reactions to the proposed changes in regulations focused on the change in the reading requirement. Testifying on behalf of the Professional Standards Committee of the New Jersey Reading Association, Lillian Putnam (1984) argued that the required courses in the teaching of reading had been in effect only since 1977, and their effect had not been evaluated. Also testifying on behalf of the New Jersey Reading Association, Albert Mazurkiewicz argued that despite the need for students to respond to print materials across the curriculum,


the approach of the code suggests a lack of concern, if not indifference to these needs by its lack of specificity, by its ambiguity, by its lack of direct reference to reading or the proportional emphasis to be made. . . . The lack of minimum required instruction is regress and can only lead to the production of more retarded readers, more pupil frustration, more inadequate learning. (Mazurkiewicz, 1984, pp. 3–4)

 

Finally, at the end of a list of 37 questions about the proposed alternate route program, Ken Carlson, associate dean for teacher education at Rutgers University, raised two questions about material dropped from teacher education curricula and another type of material not added to the regulations:


—By whom and with what evidence was it determined that intercultural problems in the multiethnic state of New Jersey have been reduced to the point where this requirement can now be eliminated?

—By whom and with what evidence was it determined that students in New Jersey schools read well enough for this requirement to be abandoned?

—If the Boyer Panel’s recommendations are to be determinative, why aren’t the Boyer Panel’s concerns about mainstreamed pupils and intercultural relations included? (Carlson, 1984, pp. 4–5)


These rather specific objections never captured the attention of policy makers in the way reactions to the 1982 standards had. One obvious reason was the preoccupation of the public and the various associations with the implications of the alternate route program.


THE 1985 STANDARDS


The State Board of Education again made changes in the regulations governing teacher certification in June 1985. There were three substantive changes from the 1984 standards. First, the requirement that each student be evaluated by “both education and subject matter” faculty and confirmed as a candidate for certification at the end of the junior year was changed so that such an assessment by “college faculty” would take place in the semester before student teaching. Second, the requirement for local tests of knowledge of the social/behavioral foundations of teaching/learning was dropped as a result of the earlier reduction of the required semester credit hours in this area from 18 to 9. Third, the requirement of local tests of knowledge in the academic subject area was dropped and replaced by state tests of knowledge. The fourth change involved the requirement that all candidates for certification complete a major in the arts, humanities, social science, mathematics, science, or technology disciplines instead of the coherent sequence required previously. These standards went into effect upon adoption in September 1985 for all current freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, with the exception of the requirement for a liberal arts major, which became effective for entering freshmen in September 1986.


REACTIONS TO THE 1985 STANDARDS


The 1985 standards occasioned much less reaction than the earlier changes. Nonetheless, there were significant reservations voiced over the proposed changes. These comments were expressed through a dozen or so letters written in response to the published proposal for the change in regulations and at a hearing called by the Board of Higher Education in response to requests for such a forum raised in the letters. The president of Rider College objected to the frequency with which the teacher certification regulations were being changed (Elliott, 1985, p 1). The associate dean for undergraduate studies at the School of Education at Rider College, while agreeing with the elimination of the test of knowledge of the social/behavioral science foundations in light of the reduction in the credit hour requirements, noted that the Blue Ribbon Panel Report, the Boyer Panel Report, and the NASDTEC and NCATE standards


all underscore the importance of a strong teacher education component consisting of the behavioral/social foundations of teaching. While the semester hour requirement was diminished and the elimination of the knowledge test requirement is suggested, it would be tragic if teacher education programs reduced study of these critical foundations. (Guthrie, 1985, p. 2)


By far the topic of most concern to those commenting on the new regulations was the requirement that students complete an academic major. These comments included a variety of issues. Several comments concerned the value of majors in education. The associate dean for undergraduate studies at Rider College wrote,


Professional majors such as Accounting, Engineering, and Education provide the organizational niche for students and faculty needed to provide for a coherent academic program and academic/administrative procedures. A professional component cannot simply be “tacked on” if the college is to provide excellence in professional programming. What is needed in New Jersey is the encouragement of the development of a strong professional education major in the colleges. (Guthrie, 1985, p. 2)


The acting dean of the School of Professional Studies at Glassboro State College, in disagreeing with the regulation to require a liberal arts major of all candidates for the teacher certificate, wrote:


For incoming freshmen (students who are generally 18–19 years of age), it is appropriate and customary that a major be chosen, establishing a career goal. Though change may occur, custom dictates that entering college means “becoming a _________ major”. We are hopeful that current attempts to raise the status of the teaching profession will result in more and more of our most capable young people choosing teaching as a career. Many of us, who feel strongly about the importance of the early school years, hope that the very best will choose elementary education. The elementary education major should sit alone as an honored, valued, respected career choice. Elementary education majors should not be penalized by having to choose another major in order to become an elementary teacher. I strongly urge reconsideration of the second academic major requirement which gives the less than subtle message to prospective students that preparation to teach at the elementary level involves first and foremost the mastery of a single arts and science discipline. (Rilling, 1985, pp. 1–2)


Many of the comments about the major requirement concerned elementary teachers. The president of Rider College argued that a traditional liberal arts major made no sense for elementary teachers, arguing that such teachers should pursue a baccalaureate in liberal studies (Elliott, 1985). The associate dean for teacher education at Rutgers University, although supporting the major requirement in general, suggested that elementary and early childhood education teachers should be permitted to major in an interdisciplinary field like child and family studies, which she viewed as roughly analogous to American studies (Weinstein, 1985).


The replacement of an education major with an academic major provoked objections primarily in the case of elementary and early childhood teachers, with one notable exception. The chairman of the State Assembly Higher Education and Regulated Professions Committee questioned whether the requirement of an academic major would be of benefit to teachers aside from those working in academic high school programs. He wrote,


No one would question the underlying intent of the regulation, to enhance the quality of public school teachers; however, I am not certain that this proposal will accomplish that objective. While academic high school programs will clearly benefit, there is a wide range of pupils who require other educational services. It is by no means self evident that the education of special education pupils, bilingual education pupils or, for that matter, kindergarten and elementary school pupils will be enhanced if their prospective teachers have an “academic” major. (Doria, 1985, p. 1)


A number of objections were raised by those who could not conceive of replacing the education major with a liberal arts major and so saw the problem as one stemming from the requirement of a double major for those students pursuing certification in elementary or early childhood education. These individuals argued that the requirements of a double major would be impossible to accomplish in a four-year program. The problem was seen as being particularly severe in an area like science, where the credit-hour requirements of academic majors were highest, as these observations from the acting dean of the School of Education, Technology, and Related Professions at Kean College illustrate:


The Kean College undergraduate major in Chemistry/Physics requires 60 credits in Physics/Chemistry and Mathematics. The Biology major requires 50 credits in Biology, Chemistry, and Mathematics. The Earth Science major requires 44 credits. These numbers will discourage Elementary and Early Childhood Education majors from selecting a Science major. Every elementary school should have one or more teachers with science concentrations to assist in curriculum development and serve as resource people in science topics. This is not likely to happen. (Healy, 1985, p. 1)


At least some of the concerns over the new regulations had to do with the continued viability of undergraduate programs in teacher education at colleges in the state. The director of the graduate program in education at St. Peter’s College wrote, “Changing the requirement from a ‘Coherent Sequence of Thirty Credits’ to a ‘Major in’ would devastate or completely eliminate our Elementary Education program” (Caulfield, 1985). The chairperson of early childhood, elementary, and secondary education at Rider College interpreted the new major requirement as meaning “that every college would have to either demand a double major or eliminate undergraduate teacher education” (Stein, 1985).


But not all the comments received in reaction to the proposed new regulations were negative. Perhaps the most positive statement from the college community came in testimony by the associate dean for teacher education at Rutgers University. In her presentation, she argued that the new requirement of a major in a liberal arts field would not impose a hardship on students, pointing out that it is possible to complete their programs within the normal four-year period. Moreover, she argued that majoring in an academic field offered the additional benefit of increasing the career opportunities of students by enhancing their marketability, something she saw as particularly important for those who did not enter teaching. She went on to argue that, with the prevailing view that teaching is a low-status field, students would benefit from the greater prestige associated with the liberal arts major. Finally, she argued the intellectual benefits of requiring a major:


I believe that students benefit from an academic major because I believe that only an intensive, extensive study of a field allows them the opportunity to get beyond an introductory, superficial level of understanding. A major is by definition a “coherent sequence of study,” but it is more than that. A legitimate major must build; it has a hierarchical structure. It requires a focus, a progression, so that students are not simply exposed to the concepts and methods of the discipline, but are required to gain some command of them. Moreover, a major should allow students to understand the ways in which knowledge in a particular discipline is generated. (Weinstein, 1985, p. 2)


The views on the new regulations took a variety of forms, though the overall reaction was less intense than that surrounding the earlier changes to teacher certification regulations.


Although the reactions to the proposed changes were heard, three days after the chancellor of higher education conducted the open hearing, he sent a memorandum to the State Board of Higher Education (Hollander, 1985) urging the adoption of the new regulations. In that memorandum, the chancellor responded to three of the issues that had been raised. In response to questions about whether the new regulations would have any impact on the continuation of education degrees and education schools and departments, questions raised by the commissioner of education, the chancellor noted that the intent of the new regulations was to affect the curriculum, not the academic organization of teacher education programs. Such matters would be left to individual institutions to decide.


In response to the issue of how students might complete a liberal arts major and the professional requirements for certification, the chancellor pointed to four other changes that would make it possible for undergraduates to complete all the necessary requirements. These four changes were the limit of 30 credit hours in professional education, the reduction of the social/behavioral sciences requirement to 9 credits, the elimination of the Board of Education’s 12-credit limit on double-counting between the liberal arts major and the general education requirement, and the elimination of the prohibition of counting social/behavioral sciences courses related to teaching toward fulfillment of the general education requirement as well. The chancellor argued that with these changes, most majors at most colleges could be completed in under 130 credits.


In response to concerns about the appropriateness of a major in the liberal arts for elementary teachers, the chancellor argued that authors of these concerns failed to recognize that the 60-credit-hour general education requirement would provide elementary teachers with content for the areas in which they will teach and that they failed to appreciate the importance of study in depth for the intellectual development of college students.


THE PROVISIONAL TEACHER PROGRAM


EVENTS LEADING TO THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE PROVISIONAL TEACHER PROGRAM


On September 6, 1983, in a speech before a special joint session of the New Jersey Legislature, Governor Thomas H. Kean outlined a host of reforms for education in New Jersey. Included were other aspects of Kean’s proposal that would affect the alternative route. For example, his proposal to raise the minimum starting salary for teachers to $18,500 would make it possible for many more individuals to consider teaching as a career. Prominent in the reforms listed was the initial announcement of an alternative route to certification.


There is no question that we are suffering a crisis of quality in the teaching profession. Too many of our best teachers are leaving the profession for jobs in business and industry. At the same time, too many students now enrolled in teacher training programs score at the bottom of their classes on measures of scholastic aptitude. For example, there are 24 possible subjects a college student can major in in New Jersey. Students majoring in education scored 22nd in both the math and verbal scholastic aptitude test. Students majoring in education, our future teachers, scored an average of 32 points lower than the state average on the verbal test and 48 points lower than the state average on the math test. Our future teachers were 42 points lower than the national average verbal score and 62 points lower than the national average math score. Right now, many of our state’s math and science teachers teach with emergency, sub-standard certification. Yet, while this situation exists, talented people who majored in subjects other than education are precluded from becoming teachers in the public schools.

There are several reasons for the shortage of talent in the public schools and in teacher training programs. Many of our most qualified teachers are leaving. Many of our most qualified citizens are not even entering. Traditionally, a teaching career attracted many outstanding and talented women who because of the prejudices of an earlier age, found other fields closed to them. We can no longer rely on sexual discrimination to give our schools a talented workforce, we must seek more equitable ways to draw our most intelligent citizens back to the schools.


The way we certify teachers actively discourages talent from entering the profession. I see a glaring need to open the profession to otherwise highly qualified candidates who have not taken courses in education. For instance, there are many people now teaching in private and parochial schools who would rather teach in public schools, but will not go back to college to take education courses which they consider meaningless.

There are many other talented people who have valuable knowledge to share with our students. However, we require them to quit their present jobs, take education courses and practice-teaching, and then compete for a teaching job. This asks too much. There should be another avenue by which talented and qualified people could enter the teaching profession.


We desperately need to draw on a wider range of talents and skills for the benefit of the schools. To address this need—to open up the teaching profession to a wider range of talented people—Commissioner Cooperman will present a new certification plan tomorrow to the State Board of Education. It will require three things: 1. A baccalaureate degree, 2. Proven competency in their subject area, to be shown on a state examination, and 3. Successful completion of a one-year, supervised internship. (Kean, 1983, pp. 14–17)


From today’s perspective in an environment where there are many alternatives to traditional college-based teacher certification, it is difficult to appreciate just how breathtaking Kean’s statement was for the policy makers, educators, and teacher educators of New Jersey. The question for us to consider now is just how a first-term governor in a state without much of a history of educational policy innovation came to propose such a departure from long-standing policy. The answer lies in three factors: problem, people, and plans—that is, the perception of the problem with teachers in New Jersey in the 1980s, the people who came together to address the problem, and the plans they formulated in advance of the governor’s statement.  


THE PERCEPTION OF THE PROBLEM


Part of the answer to the question of how New Jersey and its new governor became innovators in teacher preparation lies in the sense of the problem in the state. The perception of the problem was set forth in a background paper on the alternate route prepared at the state Department of Education. That paper (Cooperman, Webb, & Klagholz, 1983) began with a discussion entitled “A Crisis of Quality.” The crisis could be characterized by several trends. First, a declining job market was most immediately responsible for the decline in interest in teaching. Second, a less proximal but nonetheless important factor was the declining prestige of teaching. Third, the problem was exacerbated by the new options available to women and minorities, who previously relied on teaching for opportunities for upward mobility. All these factors led to the declining quality of those entering teaching in the state. Teacher education programs responded to the decline in interest in teaching that accompanied the decline in teaching positions by lowering academic standards in an attempt to maintain enrollments. This, according to the paper, led to a decline in the quality of those entering the teaching field in terms of the standard measures of achievement cited in Kean’s speech.


THE PEOPLE: KEY ACTORS


Into this climate ripe for reform entered newly elected Governor Thomas Kean in January 1982. Kean, a former teacher, had a long-standing interest in education, and early on in his first term, he proposed a number of new initiatives to strengthen education in the state. He would become a key supporter in the development and implementation of the alternate route program. Two other individuals played key roles in this process. Saul Cooperman assumed the office of Commissioner of Education in July 1982. Cooperman, a local school superintendent in New Jersey, also had a long background in education, first as a teacher and then as an administrator. Recognizing the need for the Department of Education to take an active role in the reform of teacher education, Cooperman persuaded Leo Klagholz to leave his position as director of teacher education in the Department of Higher Education to head teacher education and certification in the Department of Education.


Kean, Cooperman, and Klagholz became the key players in the movement to reform teacher education in New Jersey that eventually led to the development of the alternate route program. But in 1982, the alternate route had not yet been proposed. To understand how these three individuals, working in the climate for reform created by the report of the Newman Commission (a report that considered teacher education solely in the context of college-based programs), came to develop the proposal for the changes in teacher education regulations to modify college-based programs and to create the alternate route program, it is necessary to understand something about their backgrounds.


Each of these three key individuals could be considered quite traditional educators. Contrary to the opinions of some opponents of the alternate route, the New Jersey Provisional Teacher Program was not developed by state policy makers with no experience in professional education. If the alternate route program was a revolution in the preparation of teachers, it was a revolution led by insiders, those who were quite comfortable and successful within the established community of professional educators. However, each of the key players had experiences that, in retrospect, can be interpreted as having led them to the alternate route proposal.


Kean had been a social studies teacher who had become certified to teach through a master’s program at Teachers College, Columbia University. However, before receiving his certificate through Teachers College, he had taught in private schools without the benefit of college-based teacher preparation and certification. The pattern of recruitment and induction in many private schools relies on securing the services of bright liberal arts graduates and providing experiences in the school setting to socialize them into the teaching profession. Thus, Kean’s own experience as a liberal arts graduate who became a private school teacher would dispose him to giving serious consideration to a program such as the alternate route. Throughout the campaign to win approval for the alternate route program, it was pointed out that under existing New Jersey regulations, someone such as the governor in his private school teaching days would have been prohibited from teaching in the public schools of New Jersey.


Cooperman also came from a traditional background in education. As a public school teacher and then an administrator, he was a product of traditional preparation programs. However, there were elements of his background that disposed him to consider the alternate route as a viable policy option. His earliest experience in trying to obtain a teaching position in New Jersey illustrated what he and others came to see as a weakness of the current system for selecting and certifying teachers. Upon leaving a command position in the military, he inquired about obtaining a teaching certificate in New Jersey and was told that he needed four credits to become certified to teach. The juxtaposition of a successful military career and the denial of a teaching certificate stuck with him. Later, as a local district administrator, he would come to know the limitations of the certification system firsthand because it restricted his options in hiring new teachers.


But there were several other features of Cooperman’s background that made him more likely to be able to propose the alternate route program. Cooperman came to the commissioner’s office from a local superintendency. As a result, he had no established ties to any state-level interest groups and so was able to take a stand that might offend certain interests. Cooperman also had a reputation for high standards of personal integrity and professional competence and for being willing to take unpopular stands. This combination of characteristics made him well suited to be an advocate of the alternate route program.


Of the three key players, Klagholz had the closest ties to traditional college-based teacher education. He had directed the Office of Teacher Education in the Department of Higher Education and so had worked with teacher educators throughout the state. Before taking the position in the Department of Higher Education, he had directed a competency-based teacher education program at Trenton State College. Thus, Klagholz was not only a professional educator, he was a teacher educator. Of the three, Klagholz may have been the one most affected by the debate over the reform of teacher education in the state. Kean and Cooperman were both new in their leadership positions in Trenton, but Klagholz, in his position in the Department of Higher Education, had been in the thick of the debate since the late 1970s. He had been a staff member for the Newman Commission and fully understood the development of its ideas. Moreover, his own academic background was in the liberal arts: a degree from Catholic University. His experience in competency-based teacher education can be seen as a natural prelude to the emerging state emphasis on assessing the competence of individual candidates for teaching credentials.


PLAN: THE ALTERNATIVE ROUTE PLANNING PAPER


More than any others, Kean, Cooperman, and Klagholz shaped the development of the proposal for the alternate route program. They did this by developing a plan for the alternate route and its implementation. Their imprint may be found throughout the Department of Education’s planning paper on the alternate route (Cooperman et al., 1983). This document, like so much of the thinking that undergirded the alternate route program, had more to do with the reform of teacher education in general than with the alternate route in particular. The paper articulated many of the same positions as the report of the Newman Commission, but it added a few new principles and developed the idea of an alternative route to certification that would not involve the colleges of education.


The paper echoed the Newman Commission in arguing for the importance of assessing the competency of individual teacher candidates, but it provided a more compelling rationale for this shift in policy:


Given the inconsistency of teacher preparation programs and their limited effectiveness as predictors of competence, any new requirements should be concerned with process (courses taken) only in the most general sense and must instead emphasize the assessment of each individual candidate. There is little information and data on individuals in the certification process and a lack of clarity in the goals and standards for employment of teachers. Since our course-oriented approach provides no real information on individuals, districts find it difficult to distinguish between the best and least able in the hiring process. Yet, the widespread and long-standing failure of efforts to improve teacher education and to “upgrade” the existing teaching force indicates the need to emphasize individual teacher selection as the goal of certification. (Cooperman et al., 1983, p. 7)  

 

This passage from the planning paper clearly links the shift to the assessment of individual competence with the failure of the policy of reliance on college-based programs to ensure the quality of new teachers. It is important to recognize that the problem as perceived in New Jersey was primarily one of the quality of those entering teaching and the quality of teacher education programs in the colleges that were unable to guarantee the quality of their graduates. This problem was exacerbated by the high percentage of individuals certified through individual transcript evaluation, as opposed to completion of an organized program of teacher education. There was, from time to time, some acknowledgment of shortages in areas such as math and science, but the issue of the quantity of teachers available to teach in the public schools of the state was always cast as an issue of finding enough teachers who could meet certain quality standards. Overall the Provisional Teacher Program in New Jersey was designed to respond to the insufficient quality, not the insufficient quantity, of those entering teaching. Indeed, as noted earlier, the planning paper begins with a section titled, “A Crisis of Quality.”


The planning paper elaborated and extended other themes from the Newman Commission report. In some cases, the planning paper departed in major ways from the Newman Commission. The Newman Commission report had argued for the importance of theoretical studies and recommended that 1/8 the total semester hours for the degree be required in the social and behavioral sciences most related to teaching. Indeed, this standard made its way into the 1982 revision of the statutes governing teacher education. However, the planning paper took quite a different position on theoretical knowledge. It argued that although theoretical knowledge might be important to beginning teachers, there was no consensus as to what specific theoretical knowledge was essential. In the absence of such consensus, the paper argued that there was no basis for a state standard that might merely serve as another hurdle blocking talented individuals from entering the profession. And then, in a move that brought the planning paper more into line with other recommendations of the Newman Commission, the paper went on to argue,


Part of the problem and, perhaps, the solution lie in the fact that, indeed, all of the liberal disciplines do contribute to the teacher’s ability to perform. A strong case is made for the argument that a broad-based liberal arts education best provides the eclectic academic background needed for teaching. Jean Piaget, himself a biologist, addressing this point noted that “there are links with biology on the one hand, and, on the other hand, with all other disciplines that can teach us something about the nature and evolution of reason (Piaget, 1969). (Cooperman et al., 1983, p. 6)


This position, which might seem radical and even irresponsible to traditional teacher educators, came easily to Thomas Kean, who taught in private schools with only a liberal arts degree, and to Leo Klagholz, who spent his undergraduate years at Jesuit-dominated Catholic University. Indeed, the planning paper was tapping into a tradition that had long existed in private education and in higher education outside of teacher education. The result was to reinforce the importance of the liberal arts degree as an essential requirement for all beginning teachers, not just alternate route teachers.


Although the authors of the planning paper found no consensus about the theoretical knowledge essential for beginning teachers, they had no difficulty concluding,


The research literature does indicate evidence that there is a body of applied knowledge and skills which does have relevance to professional success. Again, however, the knowledge is applied knowledge not purely theoretical, and it is rooted in inductive research on effective practice rather than on abstract theory building. In general, this knowledge involves effective management of the school classroom and, because it is applied and integrative, it is acquired best in an internship setting. Therefore, any approach to certification must ensure that such practical knowledge and skill is acquired in some way by all candidates, whether they possess a liberal arts or a professional education background. (Cooperman et al., 1983, p. 7)


This juxtaposition of theoretical and applied knowledge and the conclusion that consensus was possible about applied knowledge but not about theoretical knowledge—although convenient for a state department that had little confidence in the quality of instruction offered at colleges of education throughout the state and wanted to move to district-based preparation programs—led to understandable tensions between proponents of the alternate route program and scholars and researchers around the nation. Scholars in education and professional educators, at least since Dewey, had held the position that the basis of the profession was the application of theoretical knowledge in practice. Indeed, the notion that nothing is more useful than a good theory had been a guiding principle, at least among that portion of the community of scholars devoted to education that viewed research as the basis of the development of the profession. The position articulated in the alternate route planning paper could, therefore, only be read as an attack on the very foundation of teaching as a profession. The alternative vision set forth of teaching as an activity that could only profit from the inductive study of effective practice would strike many leaders of the education community as too limited to make teaching an attractive occupation.


But philosophical issues aside, there were other more practical problems with the positions on theoretical and practical knowledge set forth in the planning paper. If the authors of that paper had understated the degree of consensus about the theoretical knowledge essential for beginning teachers, they may also have been overly optimistic about the degree of consensus possible about the practical knowledge essential for beginning teachers. The report itself specifies no areas of practical knowledge essential for beginning teachers. If there was consensus, apparently it could not be easily stated. Instead, the planning document proposed, “A panel of nationally recognized experts and members of the profession will be appointed to define the criteria for developing and judging teaching ability, as well as the practical knowledge about teaching which fosters that ability” (Cooperman et al., 1983, p. 3). This panel would play a key role in the effort to move the alternative route program from the planning stage to the implementation stage.


There were many factors that led state leaders in New Jersey to turn to the alternate route program. Chief among them appears to have been the pervasive perception that college-based teacher education in general, and particularly in New Jersey, could not attract and/or develop enough individuals with sufficient talent and ability to become effective teachers in the public schools. College-based teacher education was not perceived by state leaders as a promising option for improving the teaching force. One might imagine that the state would have considered investing resources in strengthening college-based programs. One option considered early on was the imposition of a requirement that all beginning teachers complete a master’s degree, but there was so much discontent with undergraduate teacher education that it was difficult to justify asking prospective teachers to do more of the same. The discontent with college-based teacher education was also reflected in the only other option considered, the elimination of the weaker teacher education programs throughout the state. The package of policies that finally developed included greater regulation of college-based teacher education programs, assessment of individual candidates, and the alternate route program.


FROM ANNOUNCEMENT TO IMPLEMENTATION


The alternate route program was announced by Governor Kean in an address to the state legislature on September 6, 1983. The following day, the Department of Education’s planning paper and proposal for the alternate route program was presented to the State Board of Education. These announcements came as a surprise to most educators in the state because there had been no prior indication that the state was considering such a program. The surprise announcement of the alternate route program was the first part of a very deliberate strategy fashioned by Kean, Cooperman, and Klagholz to secure approval for the program.


There are at least two major ways to institute a major change in policy such as the alternate route. On the one hand, a participatory model might be used in which the problem is discussed by all relevant parties, and a solution to the problem is jointly developed with all interests represented in the design stage. On the other hand, a top-down model might be employed in which a small group of decision-makers assesses the problem and develops a solution, and only then seeks the support of others. Kean, Cooperman, and Klagholz deliberately choose the latter approach. Thus, on September 6, 1983, the alternate route program had the support of only its designers. Over the course of the next 18 months, these designers would structure a process that resulted in the final approval of the program. This process between the announcement of the proposal and the commitment to implement the program reveals a great deal about both policy making in New Jersey and the principles of the alternate route program.


The decision to avoid a participatory approach in the development of the alternate route program was probably the result of several factors. First, although the development of the alternate route program could be seen as a logical and incremental step as part of the evolution of thinking about teacher education in the state, state leaders were well aware that the education community, particularly teacher educators, would view it as a radical departure from past practices that would end the exclusive control of colleges over teacher certification. The colleges of education might lose a great deal if the alternate route program were implemented.  Second, New Jersey is a state with many well-developed interest groups quite experienced in battling over state education policy. It would be unlikely that all these groups could be involved in the development of such a different approach to teacher preparation without paralyzing the effort or introducing sufficient inconsistencies in its design as to make it unworkable or unacceptable. Third, New Jersey is a state with over 600 local school districts and a strong tradition of local control. Although the alternate route program would give local districts more options for hiring certified teachers, the elimination of emergency certification that was part of the alternate route proposal would prevent them from hiring those who were not fully certified. Moreover, although the alternate route program would give local school districts the primary role in the preparation of new teachers, it would impose on them new requirements for the in-school supervision and preparation of those teachers. In addition, the alternate route proposal challenged traditional teacher education, the pattern of preparation of most administrators and teachers in the local districts.


The announcement of the alternate route proposal touched off 18 months of public debate. During this time there were a number of forums for debate in the form of state board hearings. In addition, constituency and interest groups met often and were involved in a great deal of lobbying and discussion. In November 1983, the executive committees of New Jersey Association of School Administrators and the New Jersey School Boards Association supported the alternate route initiative. Shortly thereafter, the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association announced its support. The New Jersey Education Association at first opposed the program but ultimately came to support it. Their initial opposition centered on their contention that provisional teachers would enter a classroom without any training. They at first contended that the four-week phase of the training before the provisional teacher taking over the classroom was inadequate. The college-level American Federation of Teachers in New Jersey opposed the program from the outset.


The major group in opposition to the alternate route program proposal was the deans and directors of teacher education. Because the alternate route program would remove the preparation of teachers from their exclusive control, such opposition was quite natural. Of course, not all those in higher education were opposed to the program. Several college and university presidents were early supporters of the program, most notably Edward Blaustein, president of Rutgers University, and Harold Eichkoff, president of Trenton State College.


The opposition of the deans led to the introduction of a bill in the state assembly to prevent the establishment of the alternate route. This bill (New Jersey Assembly, 1984–1985) would have required a 2.8 grade point average to be recommended for certification, with a 3.0 in student teaching, and the passing of a nationally validated teaching exam and a subject matter exam. More damaging to the alternate route proposal, the bill provided that as of September 1, 1984, only those with a permanent teaching certificate could teach in a public school. In the case of emergency shortages of fully certified personnel, the bill permitted the commissioner of education to issue a temporary certificate provided that the individual issued the certificate was enrolled and in good standing in an approved college or university teacher preparation program. The bill would have strengthened, rather than weakened, the exclusive role of higher education institutions in the preparation of teachers. After a period of intense lobbying, the chief authors were persuaded to withdraw the bill.


Several formal steps were taken during the 18-month period between the announcement of the alternate route and its eventual adoption by the State Board of Education to enhance the legitimacy of the initiative. In December 1983, Cooperman received an endorsement from the State Board for his proposal to convene two panels to assist in designing the structure of the alternate route program. One panel would focus on the essential knowledge for beginning teachers, and the other would focus on the design of the specific means by which knowledge and skills would be conveyed to provisional teachers and the means by which their abilities would be assessed during the internship period.


THE PANEL ON THE PREPARATION OF BEGINNING TEACHERS (THE BOYER PANEL)


The first panel, the Panel on the Preparation of Beginning Teachers, was a group of national experts convened under the chairmanship of Ernest Boyer, president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, “to help define two critical elements of teacher preparation: 1) what is essential for beginning teachers professionally to know? and 2) what teaching skills and abilities are most effective?” (Boyer, 1984, p.1). Although the Boyer Panel was brought together in the midst of the controversy over the alternate route proposal, their charge did not involve consideration of that proposal. Indeed, the focus of the work of the panel was on the preparation of beginning teachers in general, and their report came to have a substantial effect not only on the alternate route program but also on efforts to reform college-based teacher education.


The Boyer Panel was necessary to develop the consensus on the professional knowledge essential for beginning teachers that had been proclaimed, but never specified, in the planning paper for the alternate route program. The report of the panel identified three broad areas of knowledge as essential for beginning teachers:


1. The Curriculum: What is Taught and How it is Assessed

...new teachers should first know the subject matter they must teach—the curriculum priorities of the school—and be skilled in assessing student progress. (Boyer, 1984, pp. 4-5)

2. The Student: The beginning teacher should also know about students, their characteristics as individuals, and the ways in which they learn. (Boyer, 1984, p. 6)

3. The Setting: The Classroom and the School

Beginning teachers must know something about the classroom as a social unit and about the management of the classroom. They need to know about the school as an organization, with more or less sharply focused goals. (Boyer, 1984, p. 7)


In addition to these areas of essential knowledge, the panel also discussed effective teaching skills. The general discussion of these topics in the report of the panel found its way into state regulations for teacher preparation in a more specific form. The regulations eventually affected both college-based teacher education and the alternate route. Although they generated considerable controversy when applied to college-based programs because they were perceived as state intrusion into what had traditionally been left to the discretion of professors of education, they were a necessary ingredient for the alternate route that had no formal involvement of professional teacher educators. They would become the necessary knowledge base for district-based teacher preparation.


The Boyer Panel was also asked to comment on two additional questions. The first question concerned whether there were differences in the essential knowledge and skills among elementary, secondary, and special education teachers. The panel concluded that “the knowledge and skills identified in this report apply equally to both elementary and secondary teachers” but then elaborated on this point by adding,


While the categories are the same—the content, the student and the school—it’s also true that the content and context differ for each level. For example, we recommend that all new teachers know about the students they teach. Obviously this is essential for both elementary and secondary teachers.  However, elementary teachers will focus on young children while, for secondary teachers, the emphasis will be on adolescence. (Boyer, 1984, pp. 10–11)


The panel concluded that different knowledge and skills were required to teach the severely and profoundly handicapped. However, the panel’s contention that the knowledge and skills it identified applied equally to elementary and secondary teachers strengthened the Department of Education’s position, which favored permitting both elementary and secondary teachers to participate in the same program of professional knowledge and skill development in order to be certified.


The final question the panel was asked to comment on concerned the areas of knowledge for beginning teachers that were best taught in a collegiate setting. After some discussion of the advantages of collegiate settings and school settings, the panel concluded that no one arrangement was always best. It went on to argue that the best approach might be one that joined colleges and districts in partnerships or coalitions to prepare teachers, though it warned of the danger that higher education institutions tend to dominate such arrangements.


The report of the Boyer Panel did much to legitimate the thinking of the designers of the alternate route. It provided the consensus on the knowledge base for beginning teachers that the designers of the alternate route needed in the absence of being able to rely on college faculty to make decisions about such issues. The knowledge base identified by the panel was modest enough in scope to fit within the parameters of the alternate route model, yet broad enough to appear to cover the essentials for beginning teachers. Moreover, the panel’s conclusion that the same knowledge would be appropriate for all teachers of regular students reinforced the notion that a single set of generic experiences to provide professional knowledge would be appropriate for beginning teachers if coupled with extensive practical experience teaching in a school. The report of the Boyer Panel provided reassurance that from the standpoint of professional knowledge for beginning teachers, the alternate route format would be acceptable.


THE STATE COMMISSION ON ALTERNATVE TEACHER CERTIFICATION


The second panel proposed by Cooperman and approved by the State Board of Education in December 1983 was the State Commission on Alternative Teacher Certification. This group was composed of individuals from within the state and included leaders of interest groups, a college president, a dean of education, and several school administrators. The group was charged with designing the structure through which provisional teachers could acquire the knowledge and skills designated by the national panel. The report of the State Commission (State Commission on Alternative Teacher Certification, 1984) was completed in May 1984.


Much of the report of the State Commission dealt with describing the specific elements of the alternate route program. At this point, it is most important to understand the aspects of the recommendations contained in this report that were not realized in the actual operation of the program. Two aspects of the report stand out when viewed from the perspective of the actual operation of the program. First, the report of the State Commission envisions greater collaboration between colleges of education and local districts than actually materialized when the program became operational. For instance, the report specified that a college faculty member must be on the Professional Support team assigned to the provisional teacher. Moreover, in a deferential move toward the colleges of education, the report specified that the vitae of college faculty on the professional support team would not have to be submitted with the vitae of other members of the team when the district submitted its plan for the preparation of provisional teachers.


The report also suggested that college faculty should be involved in the seminars that would operate simultaneously with the district training program and that the seminars could “take the form of a college credit-bearing course(s) as long as the criteria for integration with experience and broad use of available support team resources are met” (State Commission on Alternative Teacher Certification, 1984, p. 12). Indeed, the report of the commission specified that district plans for preparing alternate route teachers should be required to contain “documentation of the agreement of college faculty to participate in the seminar and on the Professional Support Team” (State Commission on Alternative Teacher Certification, 1984, p. 19). Thus, the report of the State Commission envisioned an important and essential role for college faculty in the alternate route program. The role of the colleges in the program at the outset was quite different.


The second aspect of the report of the State Commission that differed from the eventual implementation of the program was the emphasis on the participation of local districts in the kinds of partnerships and coalitions with colleges suggested in the Boyer Panel report. The State Commission recommended a higher level of district involvement than actually developed. The State Commission report envisioned smaller districts participating in consortia and organizing regional training centers in partnership with colleges in those cases where the resources of individual districts were insufficient to mount a training program. The regional training centers that eventually became part of the alternate route program were organized by the Department of Education and staffed by state college faculty with little district involvement.


Both the Boyer Panel and the State Commission contributed to the development of the alternate route program, but both operated within the rather specific parameters developed by the Department of Education. Each group had a highly specific charge, and each group met for a relatively brief period of time to produce reports that were easily integrated into the original plan developed by the Department of Education. Neither group raised fundamental questions about the most appropriate way to prepare beginning teachers in the state.


Because this discussion is focused on events in New Jersey that influenced the development of the alternate route program, little has been said about the reaction to the program from those outside the state. However, the program provoked reactions of both support and opposition. In general, federal policy makers voiced support for the program. Assistant Secretary of Education Chester Finn, Secretary of Education William Bennett, and even President Ronald Reagan spoke in favor of the program. During his year as president of the Education Commission of the States, Governor Kean was able to call attention to the program as a key element in the reform of education. However, among professional educators in higher education, the program was widely criticized. With the community of teacher educators, such as those involved in the work of the Holmes group, calling for greater reliance on college-based programs, the alternate route was viewed as an attack on the professionalism of teaching. Although these outside voices were heard within the state, they appeared to have little serious impact on the debate and decision-making process in New Jersey.


The alternate route program was approved by the State Board of Education in February 1985, and the first teachers began working under provisional certificates in September 1985. One might disagree with the strategy selected by Kean, Cooperman, and Klagholz to announce the program after it had been designed and to structure discussion and debate only within relatively narrow lines, but one should not fail to appreciate the effectiveness of their efforts, which led to the adoption of a program that, at least to most traditional educators, appeared to be radically different from previous approaches to the preparation of teachers.


In summing up the development of the alternate route program, the central feature of the policy context in which the alternate route was developed was the dissatisfaction with the traditional methods of recruiting, selecting, and preparing teachers. The alternate route was developed as a solution to this problem, but it was only one solution. The alternate route was part of a comprehensive reform of teacher preparation in New Jersey directed toward recruiting, rewarding, and retaining the most capable individuals as teachers in New Jersey schools. The reform effort produced both the alternate route program and significant changes in the requirements for college-based teacher education. Although the discussion thus far has focused on the alternate route program, the more significant aspect of the reform may be the changes in the requirements for college-based programs, particularly because far more teachers are prepared and certified through this traditional route than through the alternate route. In 1985, the State Board of Education approved regulations that substantially altered the requirements for college-based teacher education programs to bring them into line with the thinking of the Boyer Panel. These regulations required candidates for teacher certification to complete a minimum of 96 semester hours in the arts and sciences, including 60 semester hours in general education, an academic major, and 9 semester hours in behavioral and social sciences. These same regulations limited coursework in professional education to 30 semester hours, including sophomore, junior, and senior practica, and required that all teacher preparation programs include the topics outlined in the report of the Boyer Panel.


PROGRAM DESIGN


ELEMENTS OF THE PROVISIONAL TEACHER PROGRAM


Perhaps the best way to understand the New Jersey Provisional Teacher Program as it was organized in its first years of operation is to examine the process by which a provisional teacher enters the program, moves through the program, and completes the requirements for a standard teaching certificate. Following this flow of events provides a good overview of the design of the program as it was experienced by the alternative route teachers in our study.


RECRUITMENT AND ELIGIBILITY


Recruitment of individuals into the program occurs at both the state level and the local district level. At the state level, the Department of Education has established an Office of Teacher Recruitment and Placement. The staff of this office actively recruits individuals for the Provisional Teacher Program at selective colleges and universities and other organizations, particularly those that serve minority populations. Recruitment visits are made once at the beginning of the year and a second time 5–7 months later. The recruiters work through the placement services and deans of liberal arts units. Visits are also made to corporations and the military, where the target of the recruitment effort is midcareer people. In addition, the Office of Teacher Recruitment and the Office of Teacher Education respond to inquiries from individuals from across the country who have heard about the program.


At the local district level, individuals may be identified as candidates for the Provisional Teacher Program by district officials. Such individuals may include those who have never taught in the district before, those who have taught in the district as substitutes, as well as those who had been teaching under emergency credentials before the elimination of emergency credentials with the introduction of the Provisional Teacher Program. Because the same regulations that authorized the Provisional Teacher Program also eliminated emergency credentials in New Jersey, all those teaching under emergency credentials had a limited amount of time to complete the requirements for a regular teaching certificate, either through a college-based program or the Provisional Teacher Program. Individuals identified as candidates for the Provisional Teacher Program at the local level must complete the same application process and meet the same eligibility standards as those identified at the state level.


The process of entering the Provisional Teacher Program begins with individuals establishing eligibility by demonstrating that they have: (a) completed a B.A., (b) completed a 30-credit-hour academic major, and (c) passed the appropriate National Teacher Examination test (for secondary candidates, the relevant test of subject matter, and for elementary candidates, the test of general knowledge).


Candidates in the pool receive an official letter of eligibility. This gives them the ticket to seek employment in a school. When local officials decide to hire a provisional teacher candidate, they contact the state Office of Teacher Education. At this point, the Office of Teacher Education checks to see that the proposed individual has achieved eligibility.


In addition to determining the eligibility of the candidates, the Office of Teacher Education reviews with the district its responsibilities as a trainer of new teachers. District officials must file two documents with the state Department of Education. First, they must file a Provisional Teacher Program Training and Supervision Contract. This document specifies who will be on the team of supervisors for the provisional teacher. Second, the district must file a Statement of Assurance of Position to Teach. When the Department of Education receives both documents, the Office of Teacher Education asks the Office of Teacher Certification to issue a provisional teaching certificate.


THE PROVISIONAL TEACHING YEAR


The activities of the provisional teaching year are also coordinated at both the state level and the local district level. Local districts have typically adopted one or two forms of organization for managing the Provisional Teacher Program. Districts with a large number of provisional teachers (e.g., Newark, East Orange) often assign a single person who is responsible as the coordinator or director of the program in the district. These individuals see to it that the program is carried out. Districts with fewer provisional teachers often have a principal or supervisor coordinate the program. This is a more typical pattern in a district with one or two provisional teachers.


Each provisional teacher must have a support team in the local district. The principal is the primary member of the support team. The Provisional Teacher Program recognizes the principal as the leader of the training process. The principal is the person who ultimately recommends certification. Before the establishment of the Provisional Teacher Program, only a dean of education could recommend a candidate for certification. The principal is the chair of the support team. A second person required on the support team is an experienced teacher certified in the field in which the candidate is seeking certification. This person is paid $900 for participation on the team, a fee paid by the candidate. In many cases, local districts subsidize the cost of participation in the Provisional Teacher Program. In addition to the principal and an experienced teacher, a curriculum supervisor in the field in which certification is being sought is often involved, and, on occasion, a college faculty member is involved.


The local district must ensure that all practical aspects of the training take place. Prescribed amounts of training are organized in three phases. Phase 1 includes 1 month or 20 days of experience. The provisional teacher usually works full time with the teacher member of the support team. The new teacher undergoes a gradual introduction to the classroom. Phase 1 can take place at a number of points throughout the year. Most often, it occurs at the beginning of the academic year, either before or in September. It may also occur in the spring before September. About 15% of the time, it occurs in May or June of the previous academic year. Students participate without compensation in this case. In the summer, any appropriate placement is acceptable. For example, a district may involve the candidate with a district-sponsored summer program or the summer program of another district. Phase 1 may also occur during the academic year when an emergency vacancy occurs.


Phase 2 of the clinical training lasts for 10 weeks. During this time, the provisional teacher is supervised at least once a week by one member of the support team, usually the experienced teacher. At the end of Phase 2, the first formative evaluation is performed by the principal who solicits feedback from the other members of the support team. A district has the right not to permit a teacher to move onto Phase 3 at this time.


Phase 3 is the remaining 20 weeks of the academic year. During this time, continuing support is provided. The provisional teacher must be supervised at least once a month. Two more evaluations are done. A second formative evaluation occurs after the 20th week of full-time teaching. A final summative evaluation occurs after the 30th week of full-time teaching. The summative evaluation results in one of three ratings: “approved,” with a recommendation for certification; “insufficient,” with no recommendation for certification but a right to repeat the program; and “disapproved,” with no recommendation for certification and no right to repeat the program.


Local districts must also see to it that provisional teachers complete the formal instructional element of the program. The program requires 200 hours of formal instruction. Local districts have two options. They may provide instruction in the district and must submit a plan to do this.  The original plan for the Provisional Teacher Program called for all aspects of the preparation of provisional teachers to be based in the local district. However, provisions were made for those districts that might be too small to provide such training. These provisions allowed for regional or interdistrict training centers in which districts would collaborate to prepare teachers.


In reality, most districts participating in the Provisional Teacher Program have been unable or unwilling to organize the formal instructional element of the program on their own. In the first years of the program, only 1 of 200 districts have gone in this direction. In response to this situation, the state Department of Education has organized a network of regional training centers that serves the entire state. These centers were originally staffed by a combination of college faculty and private consultants, but all centers were soon operated by the colleges of education in the state. These schools of education are strongly encouraged by the Office of Teacher Education to use local school professionals as adjunct faculty.


Four types of faculty are required at each regional training center. These four types are: education generalist, behavioral scientist, reading/language arts specialist, and other specialist (e.g., 8 hours devoted to educational technology). Participating colleges must submit plans for Phases 1, 2, and 3, and they must submit faculty vitae to the Office of Teacher Education.


There is also a link between the regional training center and the support team. Three contacts per year are required between the regional training center faculty and the head of the support team, the principal.  The staff of the regional training centers are compensated at the state college overhead rate formula, which was $410/credit at the outset of the program. A credit is defined as 15 hours of clock time of instruction. The state Office of Teacher Education contracts with the college and pays a lump sum for the cost of instruction. Each center also gets funding for coordination and for faculty travel. The college then pays faculty as it sees fit. In most cases, this is just passed through.


PROGRAM COMPLETION AND CERTIFICATION


Once an individual has completed all three phases of the regional training center instruction and all three phases of the supervised teaching, he or she must receive a recommendation for certification from the leader of the instructional support team, the principal. The Office of Teacher Education receives the summative evaluation of the provisional teacher by the principal, checks the candidate’s files to make sure that all fees have been paid and forms completed, and then formally transmits the file to the Office of Teacher Certification with a recommendation that a standard certificate be issued. The Office of Teacher Certification again checks the file for completeness and issues a standard certificate.


CONCLUSIONS


In considering the policy context and program design of the New Jersey Provisional Teacher Program, several points seem particularly important. First, as has been demonstrated, the alternate route program evolved from a much broader and more fundamental effort to reform teacher preparation. This may explain why the alternate route program as it developed in New Jersey was relatively comprehensive. It was not limited to certain teaching areas or certain school districts; rather, it was an integral part of the total approach to the preparation of teachers.


Second, the New Jersey Provisional Teacher Program was intended as a district-based preparation program for beginning teachers, not as an effort to eliminate formal preparation for teachers. That the participating school districts did not embrace the vision of district participation evident in the planning documents for the program says more about the difficulty of moving organizations into new roles than it does about the intent of the planners of the alternate route.


Third, the role of the colleges of education in New Jersey in the Provisional Teacher Program is a peculiar one. Although the developers of the program saw a very limited role for colleges of education and their faculty members, the State Commission suggested a more substantial and essential role. The reality of college participation was different from the recommendations of each of these groups. When local school districts were unwilling or unable to rise to the challenge of organizing the formal instructional component of the program, the Department of Education turned to the colleges of education to staff regional training centers organized under the sponsorship of the state. Thus, the same institutions that were deemed a source of the problem of low teacher quality were now, with substantially more state supervision, in charge of the only formal instruction in the Provisional Teacher Program. The activities of these institutions in operating the regional training centers were subject to close monitoring by the Department of Education. The recruitment and admissions process was managed by the Department of Education, curriculum was specified in terms of the categories identified by the Boyer Panel, faculty vitae had to be submitted for approval, and instructional plans were submitted for review. Thus, the Department of Education encouraged college participation but under conditions that reflected the new state policies regarding teacher preparation.


The Provisional Teacher Program called for substantially different roles for both colleges of education and local school districts. Clearly, neither the colleges nor the local school districts assumed the roles envisioned, but just as clearly, they engaged in new kinds of activities directed toward the preparation of beginning teachers. The Department of Education issued requests for proposals from local districts and required them to join with colleges in planning the preparation of alternate route teachers. This, of course, was an original recommendation of the State Commission.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 119 Number 14, 2017, p. 1-64
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 22219, Date Accessed: 6/4/2020 4:47:08 AM

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  • Gary Natriello
    Teachers College, Columbia University
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    GARY NATRIELLO is the Ruth L. Gottesman Professor of Educational Research and professor of sociology and education at Teachers College, Columbia University. His research interests include at-risk youth, school organization, the social aspects of assessment, and networked learning.
 
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