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 Teach – Dollars 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.
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—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. 
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.
Every institution knows that affordability is an important factor in attracting candidates into teacher preparation programs. During the 2019-20 school year, Prepared To Teach at Bank Street College conducted a survey of more than 1,200 aspiring teachers at 12 institutions across seven states to understand their financial situations. Our first report on the survey findings, #MoreLearningLessDebt: Voices of Aspiring Teachers on Why Money Matters, unpacks the financial anxiety felt by so many aspiring teachers and makes recommendations to alleviate that anxiety through research, practice, and policy.