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Prepared To Teach Releases ‘3 Rs’ Reports on Sustainably Funded Teacher Preparation

A sixth-grade math teacher leads a lesson about the connection between music and math.

Photo by Allison Shelley for EDUimages

AACTE members have been working to strengthen clinical practice for years, with examples from all across the country—many highlighted in EdPrepMatters each month—of how partnerships between universities and P-12 districts can build great foundations for those aspiring to enter teaching.  A dilemma exists for many programs, though, when they increase clinical practice requirements: Candidates—particularly those from under-represented backgrounds[1]—can face financial barriers if clinical placements don’t offer funding to help them fully engage their learning.  As Prepared To Teach shared last month through the release of a survey on teacher candidates’ financial burdens, many individuals must either work excessive hours outside of their placements and coursework, or they resort to taking out huge burdens of debt. [2]

With over five years of work with universities, districts, and schools across the country, Prepared To Teach has developed a framework for thinking about how the field might make strong teacher preparation more affordable.  Our “3 Rs” of Sustainably Funded Teacher Preparation—Reduction, Reallocation, and (Re)Investment—can help local partnerships bring high quality preparation programs within reach for more aspiring teachers.

This week, Prepared To Teach released three new reports informed by more than 40 partnerships to illustrate how each of the 3 Rs might help pave the way towards more sustainably funded, affordable, high-quality preparation programs.  The reports offer insights for different audiences: P-12/program partnerships working in collaboration, universities working internally, and districts re-imagining their human capital and instructional budgets to incorporate funding for quality pre-service pathways.  

The Reallocation report, Simple Shifts: Paying Aspiring Teachers With Existing Resources, explores how partnerships can redesign in-school work roles to better support preparation efforts while simultaneously offering candidates compensation during their clinical practice. The Reduction report, The Affordability Imperative: Creating Equitable Access to Teacher Preparation, helps universities maximize candidates’ access to financial aid sources and minimize costs associated with quality programs.  Ensuring that high-quality programs are as affordable as possible can incentivize more candidates, including those from historically underrepresented backgrounds, to enter the field fully prepared rather than through fast-track teacher of record programs.  Finally, the (Re)Investment report, The Residency Revolution: Funding High Quality Teacher Preparation, helps districts find ways to make shifts that can permanently embed residency funding into local budgets by identifying values- and outcomes-based commitments to support high-quality, district-aligned residency programs because of their positive impacts on both turnover and instructional  budgets. Access to district-aligned teacher preparation pathways impacts recruitment, retention, and teacher quality; investing in strong pathways makes sense.

Alongside the case studies, Prepared To Teach is releasing the first set in a series of user-friendly tools and resources intended to serve as guidance for educators, program leaders, faculty, and administrators seeking to make changes in their preparation systems. Based on lessons from programs across the country, we have developed web-based Mini Calculators for Program Costs and Structures that can help universities explore budget implications of different program models; an additional, more comprehensive tool that allows for full local budget input will also be available within the month. For districts, we have developed the P-12 Residency Funding Calculator, a web-based interface  that allows users to input assumptions for enrollment in a teacher residency, resident & mentor financial supports, and role reallocation scenarios to see how role reallocation and reduced teacher turnover might impact long-term funding for residencies.  Other resources, such as an animated PowerPoint presentation that shows different models for integrating aspiring teachers into the classroom to support instruction while furthering their own learning, offer concrete examples of examples for building a strong, integrated clinical practice design that serves both P-12 and program goals. All Prepared To Teach materials are licensed under the Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-SA; we hope they prove useful to our colleagues everywhere.

Any of these transformations is worthy of P-12 and/or preparation programs’ efforts.  Alone, though, these efforts are not likely to be sufficient to ensure that every aspiring teacher can afford to enter the field fully prepared through a high-quality program before becoming a teacher of record.  Next month, the project will release policy proposals that would address the systemic need for more investments in high-quality teacher preparation.

We invite you to join us in a live conversation about these ideas and resources and to inform our upcoming policy recommendations.  Please register here to join us for an interactive webinar on May 18 at 2 :00 p.m. ET.

[1] Jacqueline E. King, “Education Students and Diversity: A Review of New Evidence” (Washington D.C.: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, February 2019).

[2] Divya Mansukhani and Francheska Santos, “#MoreLearningLessDebt: Voices of Aspiring Teachers on Why Money Matters” (New York: Prepared To Teach, Bank Street College of Education, February 2021), tiny.cc/morelearningreport.

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