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MDE Approves Second Program to Provide Alternative Route to Teacher Licensure

LANSING – The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) announced today that it has approved a request by New Paradigm For Education (NPFE) to offer a Michigan alternative route to interim teacher certification program.


New Paradigm will offer a residency-based alternative route to teacher certification program to recruit, train, and retain high quality educators, particularly teachers of color and male teachers of color, for careers in teaching in Michigan schools. 


“We continue to work beyond conventional methods to help address the gaps in the teacher workforce,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. “There is a substantial teacher shortage in Michigan, which is even more acute for teachers of color.”


While 17.7% of Michigan public school students are African American, only 6.9% of Michigan public school teachers are African American and only 1.6% are African American males.


New Paradigm proposed a program focused on increasing the diversity of Michigan’s educator workforce, particularly in greater Detroit, to reflect more closely the diversity of our public school students. 


“NPFE's alternative route to certification program, part of our burgeoning Educator Development Institute, is a unique solution grounded in a critical need,” said Ralph C. Bland, CEO of New Paradigm For Education. “Our recruitment places an explicit focus on candidates of color, with an emphasis on African American males, because we know that being taught by teachers that share their racial identity has a positive impact on academic outcomes and social-emotional well-being for Black, Latinx and other children of color.


“To promote long term sustainability in the field, our program is designed as a true education residency,” Bland added. “While working full time in schools, candidates will be given time and training to prepare for and practice the craft of teaching under a mentor educator before fully taking over a classroom. This is not a silver bullet short-term solution to our ongoing teacher shortage, but instead reflects the responsibility we have as an education community to take ownership of growing and developing a diverse teacher workforce that experiences teaching as a sustainable—and joyful—career path. These are the teachers that all of our children need and deserve."


MDE established a request for proposal process for new alternative route providers several months ago for new educator preparation institutions to meet significant Michigan-specific needs. Eleven organizations responded and MDE advanced two to the second round for review. Detroit Public Schools Community District was granted approval in January, and now New Paradigm’s proposal has been approved.


“While more providers don’t necessarily mean more teachers, in each case, the proposal offered the possibility of addressing both the need for more quantity and need for more diversity,” Dr. Rice said.


New Paradigm’s program is grounded in research-based, core teaching practices and will offer ongoing, job-embedded professional learning and coaching for early-career teachers—all of which is in alignment with MDE’s program standards.


Recruitment for the program will begin immediately for launch in summer 2021. Members of the first-year group will begin working in schools in the 2021-22 academic year, and will provide instruction to small groups of students. 


Unique among Michigan’s alternative routes, this program will provide a full year of paid work in schools under the close mentorship of certified teachers. It will provide candidates extended time to become familiar with the school setting and demonstrate effective classroom practices before they earn certification and become teachers of record in their own classrooms.


New Paradigm plans to partner with Black Male Educator Alliance of Michigan, Detroit Children’s Fund, In Demand, Urban Teachers’ Black Educators Initiative, the Skillman Foundation, and the National Center for Teacher Residencies.


The program’s initial approval is for a period of five academic years (2021-22 through 2025-26) with annual reporting to MDE on program enrollment, key assessment data in support of program efforts, and any program changes or modifications made in response to analysis of key assessment data.


Subsequent program approval at the end of five years will be contingent on fulfillment of program efforts as demonstrated by positive outcome data on the key assessment data.


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