(The Center Square) – There is a new push to get more teachers certified for some Wisconsin classrooms, including certifications for just a $9,000 price tag.
School Choice Wisconsin and Concordia University in West Allis on Monday announced the new Concordia Teaching and Learning Academy. It is a year-and-a-half long program designed to help people who already have bachelor’s degrees become teachers at private schools.
“[Concordia’s] partnership with School Choice Wisconsin is a unique opportunity to support our private and parochial schools in training teachers in an immersion and mentorship model,” Adam Paape, assistant dean of the School of Education at Concordia University, said. “The CTLA will provide new teachers the knowledge and support that they need to be successful and continue in the profession while allowing them to pursue licensure and a degree down the road. We look forward to this vibrant partnership to growing and flourishing.”
Prospective teachers will take classes and conduct one-on-one mentorships with current teachers to learn what it takes to become an educator.
School Choice Wisconsin’s Nicholas Kelly says it’s a win-win for both new teachers, and the choice schools across the state who need teachers.
“This is an exciting opportunity, not only for our member schools, but also for mid-career professionals interested in giving back to the community by bringing their real-world experience into the classroom,” Kelly said. “CTLA graduates will help private choice schools across Wisconsin continue to be competitive in a highly competitive market to hire experienced professionals to deliver their curriculum and maintain the high standards they have set in their schools while remaining fiscally responsible due to inadequate state funding.”
Wisconsin has struggled with a teacher shortage for years.
School leaders, lawmakers, and teachers unions in the state have suggested several solutions, but there continues to be a need.
A January report from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction said the loss of young teachers is particularly glaring.
“The state is steadily losing teachers in their first five years of employment and that certain areas of licensure are particularly hard to fill for employers,” the report states.
It goes on to say that “Teacher retention rates are 67% after their first five years,” and “Out of a possible 5,391 new public school teachers who completed a program, the state only added 3,618 teachers.”
The report says the Foundations of Reading Test for prospective teachers is one roadblock, as is enrollment in educator preparation programs, which is still below 2008-2009 levels.