Teacher preparation in the wild west: The impact of fully-online teacher preparation and uncertified teachers in Texas



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Amidst the persistent challenge of teacher shortages in Texas, the proliferation of online teacher preparation programs has garnered attention as a potential solution, especially as the number of uncertified teachers has increased sharply following the COVID-19 pandemic. However, concerns about the quality and effectiveness of these programs have emerged. We examined the impact of various teacher preparation pathways on student achievement, drawing on comprehensive data analysis spanning eight years. While online programs may offer convenience, evidence suggests that teachers prepared through these platforms exhibit lower initial effectiveness and higher turnover rates. Students taught by teachers prepared via online programs exhibit similar effectiveness to students taught by uncertified teachers. These findings provide critical insights for policymakers, educators, and stakeholders as they navigate the complex landscape of teacher preparation in Texas.

Note: Policy brief updated in April 2024 with latest STAAR achievement data and expanded definitions of preparation pathways.