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Alternative Routes to Teacher Licensure: Experiences and Perceptions of Professionals
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This qualitative study explored and described the phenomenon of alternative route to licensure (ARL) policies and programs from the perspectives of professionals who work with teacher preparation, recruitment, selection, negotiation, and retention or dismissal processes. While ARL policies and programs have been a long-standing debate in teacher education reform discourse and the existing research on ARL is voluminous, there is a dearth of information on the experiences and perceptions of professionals who work with ARL policies and programs and the integrated work they do implementing the wide array of teacher policies that exist to support having a high-quality teacher in every K–12 classroom. This study provided opportunity for reflection and information sharing through an assemblage of narrative conceptualizations towards ARL policy and program developments. Interview data was used to analyze and interpret the participants’ individual and collective accounts. Six participants were chosen for their intimate knowledge and experience with ARL, and their willingness to participate in this iterative research process. The study was informed and guided by the framework of research as historically situated social practice (Cochran-Smith & Villegas, 2015a) and examined ARL as a phenomenon integrated with social, cultural, and institutional factors. The results showed that the participants’ shared ideological frameworks. They saw ARL as an emergent and transitional measure to attract more teachers into the profession; they shared the idea that ARL was a tool for attracting and retaining second career professionals and unemployed graduates into teaching; and their accounts reflected a need for more data and data systems to support decision making around ARL programming. The results also culminated as an assemblage of the participants’ suggestions towards ARL policy and program improvements. The study contributed to the discourse on teacher policies and provided valuable information and direction towards meaningful understandings and developments for ARL policy and program stakeholders.