Aspiring educators are best prepared through yearlong teacher residencies, and they need financial supports during their time as residents. Partly through efforts of Bank Street College of Education’s Prepared To Teach initiative, the field has begun to embrace shifts that support a more uniform, sustainable, and equitable approach to teacher preparation across the country.
Developing new, strong partnership models that meet the needs of P-12 schools is an investment that makes sense for the entire nation. A new Prepared To Teach report, Dollars and Sense: Federal Investments in Our Educator Workforce, makes the case for a deeper financial investment in high-quality teacher preparation at the federal level in order to transform preparation programs and support the learning and development of all students.
“By reframing teacher preparation as an integral part of the broader educational system, we hope readers and policymakers will agree that it makes ‘dollars and sense’ to invest in the value of teachers and teaching, beginning with teacher preparation,” said Karen DeMoss, Executive Director, Prepared To Teach.
The report is part of a series of new resources developed by Prepared To Teach in partnership with education research and development agency WestEd to explore financial sustainability opportunities for high-quality teacher preparation to support aspiring teachers and strengthen the field of education. The yearlong research effort, called The Sustainability Project, was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and culminated in a series of reports, case studies, and a suite of user-friendly tools, such as budget calculators, to guide districts, preparation programs, and schools working toward partnership-based clinical practice for aspiring teachers.
To help readers understand the critical components required for system-wide change that embeds hands-on, clinical practice into teacher training, Dollars and Sense and the corresponding reports outline the “3 Rs” of sustainably funded preparation programs:
- Reallocation helps teacher preparation partnerships redesign work roles to better support preparation efforts and allow candidates to earn compensation during their clinical practice.
- Reinvestment helps districts find ways to make shifts that can permanently embed residency funding into local budgets.
- Reduction helps universities maximize access to financial aid sources and minimize costs associated with quality programs.
“The 3 Rs—reallocation, reinvestment, and reduction—represent a framework developed by Prepared To Teach for thinking about the financial aspects of sustainability,” said Hannah Dennis, Sustainability Project Manager, Prepared To Teach. “The reports serve as resources for programs, schools, and districts to learn strategies for strengthening teacher preparation pathways, such as by identifying sustainable funding streams for paid residencies, offering real examples from the field.”
To further explore the framework, Prepared To Teach hosted webinars throughout the month of May in which the case study authors facilitated discussions about each of the strategies and associated tools. For example, a P-12 Residency Funding Calculator explores possibilities for funded teacher residencies, an Excel-based Program Cost Tool examines program budgets, and a variety of presentation materials guide conversations around shifting preparation programming, among other resources that can be accessed on the Prepared To Teach website.
The Sustainability Project was informed by a nationwide thought partner group, spanning across 17 states and the District of Columbia. More than 80 participants from professional, philanthropic, district, state, and higher education organizations shared their perspectives and insight around challenges in the field and opportunities to transform the system.