In 2002, Florida reduced barriers to teaching in the classroom by creating alternative routes to teacher certification.[35] This change enabled schools to hire high-quality teaching candidates who did not have traditional teacher training. “Educator Preparation Institutes” were established to certify teachers who were college graduates or other professionals who did not major in education.[36]

Florida also began certifying teachers trained by the nonprofit American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence, allowed school districts to create their own certification programs and expanded the reciprocity of approved certifications from other states.[37] There are about 90 different agencies that provided alternative routes to certification, according to the National Center for Alternative Certification.[38] Figures produced by the Florida House of Representatives indicate that district-run alternative certification programs and Educator Preparation Institutes accounted for 37 percent of certifications earned in 2009.[39] Of these new teachers, 68 percent were employed the following school year, compared to 43 percent of those certified through a traditional teacher preparation program.[40]


[35] For more information about alternative certification, see: Marc J. Holley, “A Teacher Quality Primer: For Michigan School Officials, State Policymakers, Media and Residents,” (Mackinac Center for Public Policy, 2008), 98-103, http://goo.gl/SZYV1 (accessed March 20, 2013).

[36] Fla. Stat. § 1004.85(3)

[37] Ladner and Burke, “Closing the Racial Achievement Gap: Learning from Florida’s Reforms,” (The Heritage Foundation, 2010), 9-10, http://goo.gl/2qDlu (accessed June 3, 2013).

[38] “Florida: Summary of Alternate Routes to Teacher Certification,” (National Center for Alternative Certification, 2008), http://goo.gl/ jzeOu (accessed June 3, 2013); “Florida’s Educator Preparation Institutes,” (Florida Bureau of Educator Recruitment, Development, and Retention), http://goo.gl/5eOJe (accessed May 16, 2013).

[39] Author’s calculations based on “Alternative Teacher Certification,” (Florida House of Representatives, 2010), 406, http://goo.gl/doVHp (accessed March 21, 2013).

[40] Author’s calculations based on ibid.