World Education Services

States and school districts around the country are wrestling with long-standing teacher shortages in a number of important areas, including STEM fields, with schools in poor and minority neighborhoods facing the largest challenges. This report explores the role that immigrant and refugee professionals can play in addressing these urgent shortages – and increasing the diversity of the teacher workforce – through alternative teacher certification programs that tap into these newcomers’ training, skills, and professional experience. The report looks at developing initiatives in several states and cities as well as relevant federal policies. It also offers wide-ranging recommendations for promising program and policy models, and how local, state, and national education stakeholders can work together to leverage the unique assets that immigrant professionals bring to addressing the needs of schools and students across the U.S.

Highlights include:

  • Overview of alternative teacher certification and "Grow Your Own" programs.
  • Promising initiatives in Washington State, California, Oregon and New York City.
  • Federal policies and funding streams supporting alternative certification pathways.
  • The role that nonprofit advocacy groups can play in supporting immigrant professionals in becoming teachers.
  • Policy recommendations and next steps for local, state, and national education stakeholders.