Faced with alarming teacher shortages, Virginia last month agreed to partner with a for-profit online teacher credentialing company, hoping to get more teachers into classrooms faster and without the higher tuition costs of traditional colleges and universities.
While some of the Virginia school board members had qualms about the process, they agreed to give it a try due to the nagging high teacher vacancy rate. The board unanimously approved a three-year pilot program and partnered with one of the bigger companies in the fast-track credentialing business, iteach.
Such companies pledge they will get a candidate teacher-ready in about a year. The iteach program includes online courses, after which candidates are placed in classrooms, with some supervision and the agreement of the school districts.