State board supports alternative authorization to help alleviate growing teacher shortage

Posted at 5:31 PM, Oct 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-25 19:34:42-04

A recent decision made by the Idaho State Board of Education is opening more doors to folks looking to cross over into education -- a response to the growing teacher shortage in Idaho.
Columbia High School educator, Dan Neddo, started teaching in 2010.

"I originally thought about being a math teacher, because I knew there would always be jobs for math teachers," Neddo said. "But I looked at the curriculum and it wasn't something I was real excited about...but I'm a huge nerd and I love science, so I thought I'd go in and try to get a science job."

Neddo's the first to tell you he's not traditional by any means, including his path to the classroom. 

The military veteran and former entrepreneur earned his teaching certificate seven years ago, based on his work experience. 

"I could go learn the content, I knew I could do that," Neddo said. "But managing the classroom was my skillset." 

Neddo has taught physics and chemistry, and now teaches engineering. 

With a growing shortage of teachers, state education leaders say this alternative authorization route is gaining popularity.

"With 900 alternative authorization folks going that path, we really need to gsit up and pay attention now, and make sure that we're helping districts get this gap filled," said Sherri Ybarra, State Superintendent of Public Instruction. 

Teaching positions in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), along with special education positions, are hard to fill.

"The board recognizes this isn't the magic arrow in the quiver to solve the teacher shortage," said Blake Youde, Chief Communications & Legislative Affairs Officer for the Idaho State Board of Education. "But they certainly believe this is another tool."

A tool that allows folks like Neddo to teach those hard-to-fill subjects.

"We bring our real-world experiences to the classroom, and the kids get to have that experience, as well," Neddo said.

According to our media partner, Idaho Education News, 4.9 percent of teachers entered the classroom through an alternative route during the last school year.