Certifiably sensational

While their large neighbor to the south shrinks the teacher pool, Connecticut legislators look to expand it, by creating more paths to get teachers into the classroom. In a special session last week, they passed a bill containing several laudable provisions: Teachers who've completed alternative certification programs and want to teach hard-to-staff subjects will be able to sit for a competency exam rather than being required to complete further class work; Teach For America will be able to expand beyond its current three school districts (Bridgeport, Hartford, and New Haven); and teachers certified in other states will have fewer hurdles to clear in order to teach in Connecticut. "We've just opened up major avenues to bring great teachers into the classrooms where they are needed," said lawmaker Andrew Fleishmann. The outcome didn't look as rosy at the end of regular session, when the bill stalled in the face of partisan wrangling. But further review by lawmakers--and a fervent advocacy effort led by school-reform powerhouse ConnCAN--propelled the bill to the governor's desk. This end-of-the-school-year victory promises a better start for Connecticut students come autumn.  

"Legislature Approves Proposed Teacher Certification Changes," by Daniela Altimari, Hartford Courant, June 21, 2009

"Key education bill passes in special session," by Elizabeth Benton, New Haven Register, June 22, 2009