The Career Trajectories of Alternative Route Mathematics Teachers in New York City

Selective alternative teacher certification programs have become a route that many college graduates, especially those from highly ranked universities, have taken to become teachers. One such program is the New York City Teaching Fellows (NYCTF). Dr. Andrew Brantlinger, from the University of Maryland’s Center for Mathematics Education, has been exploring how NYCTF and similarly selective programs have transformed mathematics education specifically in urban school districts.

Over the past decade, Dr. Brantlinger and his colleagues have used been exploring a number of research questions about mathematics teachers from NYCTF, for example, how the backgrounds, preparation, and induction of these teachers influences their retention, effectiveness and instruction. 

Dr. Brantlinger and colleagues have been exploring how teacher selection, university training and induction in NYCTF play a role in shaping mathematics teachers’ career trajectories in urban schools. For example, Brantlinger and Cooley (2017) find: (1) Black mathematics teachers had better rates of retention in the district than others, (2) even basic first-year mentoring can vastly improve mathematics teacher retention, and (3) that a focus on mathematics in pre-service training is associated with improved retention.

Dr. Brantlinger and colleagues have also found that mathematics teachers in selective programs like NYCTF do not have strong mathematics backgrounds – with most mathematics Teaching Fellow having completed only 2 to 4 post-secondary mathematics courses prior to entering NYCTF (Brantlinger & Cooley, 2017). In spite of this, NYCTF does little to improve this situation beyond a two-week intensive review for the state required test for certification in secondary mathematics. Moreover, to varying degrees, mathematics teachers from NYCTF received little mentoring support that would have helped them improve their mathematics teaching (Meagher & Brantlinger, 2011; Foote, Brantlinger, Haydar, Smith. & Gonzalez, 2011).). Moreover, a significant number of urban mathematics teachers, from any background, hold deficit views of urban students of color (Brantlinger, Cooley, & Brantlinger, 2010) and that NYCTF does little to counter those views and may even reinforce them (Brantlinger & Smith, 2013). 

The following are some publications by Dr. Andrew Brantlinger centering around the discussion of alternative certification of teachers:

Brantlinger, A., Cooley, L., & Brantlinger, E. (2010). Families, Values, and Class Relations: The Politics of Alternative Certification. In M. Apple, S. Ball & L. Gandin (Eds.). International Handbook of the Sociology of Education: Critical Research for Social Justice. New York: Routledge.

Brantlinger, A., & Smith, B. (2013). Alternative teacher certification and the new professionalism: The preparation of mathematics teachers in the New York City Teaching Fellows Program. Teachers College Record, 115(7), 1-44.

Brantlinger, A. & Cooley, L. (2017). How Urban Mathematics Teacher Selection, Training and Induction Affect Retention. In Galindo, E., & Newton, J., (Eds.). (2017). Proceedings of the 39th annual meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education. Indianapolis, IN: Hoosier Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators.

Foote, M., Brantlinger, A., Haydar, H., Smith. B., & Gonzalez, L. (2011). Are we supporting teacher success?: Insights from an alternative route mathematics teacher certification program for urban public schools. Education and Urban Society, 43(3), 396-425.

Meagher, M., & Brantlinger, A. (2011). When Am I Going to Learn to Be a Mathematics Teacher? A Case Study of a Novice New York City Teaching Fellow. Journal of Urban Mathematics Education, 4(2), 96-130.


Andrew Brantlinger Profile University of Maryland

Andrew Brantlinger






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