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Prepared to Teach and WestEd Release Three New Reports on Financially Sustainable Teacher Preparation

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Prepared to Teach and WestEd have partnered on the Sustainability Project, a series of reports and interactive tools to support high-quality, financially sustainable teacher preparation. Three reports are being released this week through that project. Two are co-authored by Prepared to Teach and WestEd—Beyond Tuition, Costs of Teacher Preparation, and Going Further Together: Building Ownership and Engagement to Support High-Quality Teacher Preparation. The co-authored papers are being released simultaneously with a third piece authored by Prepared to TeachDollars and Sense: Federal Investments in Our Educator Workforce.

AACTE members know that aspiring teachers need high-quality, affordable options for teacher preparation—and research has shown that when candidates from diverse backgrounds have access to excellent programs, everyone benefits. Graduates of these programs stay in the classroom for longer and are more well-prepared than their peers who become teachers through faster, less rigorous pathways to the classroom.[1]

All three reports examine the needs of candidates and preparation programs, then offer strategies to make high-quality preparation accessible for more new teachers. The reports are informed by conversations with faculty, administrators, program leaders, and teachers; analyses of data from a finance-focused survey of teacher candidates; and on-the-ground knowledge from the authors’ years working to research, document, and support high-quality practices in teacher preparation.

Beyond Tuition, Costs of Teacher Preparation is the second report to share findings from Prepared To Teach’s national survey of aspiring teachers’ financial burdens, following #MoreLearningLessDebt: Voices of Aspiring Teachers on Why Money Matters. Over 1,200 respondents provided information on their living expenses, income, and debt, as well as the factors that led them to choose a given teacher preparation program. The authors offer suggestions for ways that programs can become more attractive to a wider range of aspiring teachers, based on analyses of the survey data.

Quality teacher preparation programs around the country are providing strong, partnership-driven preparation pathways that are tailored to local needs—while their methods may differ, these programs all share a focus on collaborative strategies to build trust, engagement, and ownership across stakeholders. To showcase these promising approaches, Going Further Together highlights ways that champions of high-quality teacher preparation have built shared commitments within programs, districts, and states to transform preparation programs. The paper also showcases ways that programs have embedded lasting structures (such as liaison positions or standing committees) that will ensure candidates are supported and a diverse set of voices can contribute to teacher preparation efforts.

Dollars and Sense focuses on policy opportunities to support affordable, high-quality preparation at scale. Prepared to Teach’s Karen DeMoss outlines how national investments in teacher preparation can lead to programs that are, across the board, stronger, more sustainable, more equitable, and more accessible. Dollars and Sense suggests that changes at the federal and state level will attract and retain strong candidates—and now is the time to advocate for the support that teachers deserve.

To engage further with the Sustainability Project, you can read a recent blog post by Prepared to Teach that provides an introduction to the first three reports that were released in this series, and you can explore the corresponding tools on this page.

Prepared to Teach is hosting a webinar series that will further explore the newly released tools and reports during the week of May 17 You can read more and register here.

[1] Dennis, H., DeMoss, K., & Mansukhani, D. (2021). The Affordability Imperative: Creating Equitable Access to Quality Teacher Preparation. New York: Prepared To Teach, Bank Street College of Education, http://tiny.cc/affordabilityimperative.


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