Bowling, A. M., & Ball, A. L.  (2018). Alternative certification: A solution or an alternative problem? Journal of Agricultural Education, 59(2), 109-122


Teacher education is facing a number of challenges such as policy changes, funding issues, and teacher recruitment and retention. These challenges, whether on the national, state, district or school level, contribute to continued teacher shortages. Many school districts are faced with the conundrum of hiring under qualified individuals, leaving vacant positions open, or eliminating positions altogether. Thus, within all subject areas of education, a strong philosophical perspective needs to be developed to answer the question: Is alternative certification a solution to these problems or an alternative problem? This philosophical manuscript investigates the research related to alternative certification within education as a whole, career and technical education, and agricultural education. Research in education broadly indicates a lack of consistency within the current alternative certification pathways and a lack of consistent/positive influence on student outcomes within alternatively certified teachers. It is recommended that future research should investigate the impacts of various certification pathways on students. Furthermore, teacher certification pathways should be based upon solid evidence from research regarding what generates the best learning outcomes for students.

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