ERIC Identifier: ED467986
Publication Date: 2002-05-00
Author: Allen, Robin
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse for
Community Colleges Los Angeles CA.
Teacher Education at the Community College: Partnership and
Collaboration. ERIC Digest.
The U.S. Department of Education predicts that nearly 40% of public school
teachers will retire within the next few years. This prospect, coupled with a
dramatic rise in school enrollments, means that the United States can anticipate
hiring two million new elementary and secondary teachers in the next decade
(Stroup, 2002). Therefore, many states, and many institutions of higher
education, are exploring new possibilities for recruiting, training, and
retaining teachers. Community colleges in particular are examining their role in
helping to meet the need for teachers in their own communities, and at least 20
states are looking to community colleges to help train teachers (Evelyn, 2002).
These institutions have large pools of students from which prospective teachers
can be recruited, and for many of those students, community colleges are their
first exposure to higher education. Further, educators have concluded that
teacher preparation is consistent with the community-based and student-centered
missions of two-year colleges (Bragg, 1998). This digest will describe where the
need for new teachers is greatest and discuss some examples of innovative
programs already in place at community colleges across the country.
MEETING THE NEED FOR TEACHERS
Current and anticipated
teacher shortages create several distinct needs. In academics, the need is
greatest for science, mathematics and technology teachers (Bragg, 1998), while
geographically, the need for teachers of all types is greatest in urban and
rural school districts (Gerdeman, 2001). Community colleges are a natural fit in
helping to meet the demand for teachers in these areas because they have the
students, support services, and articulation mechanisms already in place to
recruit and train prospective teachers (Curry, 1988). About 40 percent of
current math and science teachers have completed at least some of their math and
science courses at a community college (Bragg, 1998), making two-year schools a
prime choice in finding future teachers in these academic areas. In addition,
many two-year colleges are located in the geographic areas with the greatest
need for new teachers. Potential teachers can be recruited within these
communities, with the goal of returning students to those same communities as
teachers, once they have been trained.
There is also a great need to increase the number of minority teachers
(Anglin, Mooradian, and Hamilton, 1993; Eubanks and Weaver, 2000). Minority
children make up about 30% of all public elementary and secondary school
students, but minority educators make up only 13% of the public school teacher
workforce (NCES, 1997). Research suggests that minority educators are important
because they tend to be more responsive to children's cultural backgrounds, they
hold higher expectations for minority children, and they tend to incorporate
social reform into their teaching. In addition, the global marketplace requires
educators who reflect the cultural diversity children will encounter later in
life (Eubanks and Weaver, 2000). Since over half of all minorities enrolled in
higher education attend community colleges (NCES, 1991), community colleges are
a natural choice for recruiting minorities into the teaching profession.
COMMUNITY COLLEGE TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAMS
colleges are attempting to meet the challenge of providing new teachers to their
communities through a variety of programs. Many of the new programs involve
collaborating with other educational institutions in recruiting and educating
potential teachers. Some involve encouraging people who already have bachelor's
degrees to obtain a teaching certificate at the community college, and a few
involve offering four-year teaching degrees at the community college.
+ 2 Partnerships
Many states, and many institutions of higher education, have established 2 +
2 articulation or joint registration agreements between community colleges and
local universities for teacher education programs. These programs allow students
to finish the first two years of a teacher preparation program at the community
college, often earning an associate's degree, and then go on to obtain their
bachelor's degree at a four-year institution. Since community college students
who might be interested in teaching often do not self-identify, 2 + 2 programs
use community college faculty and administrators to actively recruit students
who might be interested in such a career. Some programs locate candidates by
identifying high academic achievers, while others target traditional-age
students, minority students, undeclared students, intellectually gifted
students, students already employed as teacher aides, or mid-career students who
have returned to school seeking a career change (Anglin, Mooradian, and
The 2 + 2 programs are different from regular articulation agreements
because, in many of the 2 + 2 programs, students are simultaneously admitted,
registered and enrolled in both the two-year and four-year institutions. Both
institutions provide support services to the students, making sure that they
enroll in the proper courses and are able to obtain financial aid. These
services help to provide a seamless transition to the four-year school. Some 2 +
2 programs also incorporate local middle and high schools, using them to recruit
prospective teachers. These schools then become available for teacher education
field work and placement sites for students upon graduation (Anglin, 1989;
Bragg, 1998; Gerdeman, 2001).
Community colleges in Maryland, for example, which as of last summer had
10,000 openings for elementary and secondary schoolteachers, now offer an
associate of arts in teaching. The curriculum for the two-year degree in
teaching mirrors that of the first two years of a four-year degree, and includes
courses in educational psychology and special education. Students also complete
fieldwork in local schools, and by meeting specified GPA and testing
requirements, all of their coursework is transferable to state universities.
Students then complete the second part of the 2 + 2 program at the universities.
Other states, such as Arizona, California, and Texas, are following suit with
ideas for similar programs (Evelyn, 2000).
and Post-Baccalaureate Programs
Some community colleges are considering, or already have in place, plans that
allow people who already have bachelor's degrees to become certified as
teachers. In Arizona, Maricopa Community College District allows people with
bachelor's degrees to earn teacher certification on-line in one or two years
(Evelyn, 2002). Programs such as this help to recruit mid-career professionals,
who have been laid off or are considering a career change, into the teaching
Community colleges in other states are implementing even more ambitious
programs. In Florida, St. Petersburg Junior College, formerly a two-year
institution, has been renamed St. Petersburg College and will soon begin
offering four-year bachelor's degrees in teacher education. The teacher
education degree includes upper division courses in teaching science and math.
Other community colleges in Florida are also beginning to move in this
direction. In Nevada, Great Basin College already offers a similar bachelor's
degree program (Evelyn, 2002).
Community colleges are engaged in a variety of
programs to help mitigate the current and anticipated teacher shortage. The most
comprehensive efforts involve active recruitment of prospective teachers and
seamless transition from two- to four- year institutions. Community colleges
have diverse student populations and are often located in geographical areas in
need of teachers, making them natural partners in the teacher education
pipeline. If America is to recruit over 2 million new teachers in the next
decade, community colleges must continue to provide active leadership and
innovative programs in order to train America's next generation of teachers.
Anglin, L. W. (1989). Preparing minority
teachers for the 21st century: A university/ community college model. Action in
Teacher Education, 11 (2), 47-50.
Anglin, L. W., Mooradian, P., & Hamilton, A. (1993). A missing rung of
the teacher education ladder: community colleges. Action in Teacher Education,
15 (1), 8-13.
Bragg, S. (1998). Investing in tomorrow's teachers: The integral role of
two-year colleges in the science and mathematics preparation of prospective
teachers. Report from a national science foundation workshop. (ERIC Document
Reproduction No. ED 427 968).
Curry, J. (1998). The role of the community college in the creation of a
multi-ethnic teaching force. ERIC Digest. (ERIC Document Reproduction No. ED 317
Eubanks, S. C., & Weaver, R. (1999). Excellence through diversity:
connecting the teacher quality and teacher diversity agendas. Journal of Negro
Education, 68 (3), 451-459.
Evelyn, J. (2002, March 8). States give community colleges a role in
educating teachers. The Chronicle of Higher Education [On-line]. Available
Gerdeman, R. D. (2001). ERIC review: The role of community colleges in
training tomorrow's school teachers. Community College Review, 28 (4), Spring
National Center for Education Statistics (1997). America's teachers: profile
of a profession, 1993-1994. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. (ERIC
Document Reproduction No. ED 410 225).
National Center for Education Statistics (1991). The condition of education,
volume 1, Elementary and secondary education. Washington, DC: U.S. Government
Printing Office. (ERIC Document Reproduction No. ED330121).
Stroup, S. (2002, April 24). Teacher recruitment, preparation, and
development. Statement Before the House Subcommittee on Labor/HHS/Education
Appropriations [On-line]. Available