Grants are expanding teacher residencies but no sign promised number has been hit
One of the steps President Barack Obama wanted to take in increasing teacher effectiveness was to create residency programs that bring teachers to high-need schools. The administration's Race To The Top and Teacher Quality Partnership programs have provided funds to establish new teacher residency programs in school districts across the country. However, the president specifically promised to "supply 30,000 exceptionally well-prepared recruits to high-need schools,” and we have not found evidence the administration hit that mark.
The Teacher Quality Partnership initiative is more specifically aimed at expanding teacher residency programs than Race To The Top. Over the course of 2009 and 2010, 40 schools across the country received five-year grants. In all, the grants amounted to $142.8 million. According to the Department of Education, 28 of these 40 schools created or built upon teacher residency programs.
In Denver Public Schools, an existing residency program was expanded by an $8.2 million grant. The district is "currently training 40 teachers and looking to expand next year to 70 teachers,” said Teacher Residency Director Thalia Nawi. The program was initially funded by a grant from the Janus Eduation Alliance, but "the bulk of our funding really comes from the Teacher Quality Partnership grant,” Nawi said. "What we received from TQP was the opportunity to sustain and expand the work we're doing.”
In the program, teacher residents work with mentor teachers while taking courses at the University of Denver Morgridge College of Education. Nawi said the residency program is a "more clinically based model” that doesn"t isolate coursework from student teaching but instead looks at the link between the two.
A similar residency program was established in Richmond as the result of a $5.8 million grant the school district there received. At Virginia Commonwealth University, the four-year program brings resident teachers into local classrooms while they also take classes at VCU. Terry Dozier, the director of the Center for Teacher Leadership at VCU, said the goal is to have 80 teacher residents over five years. Currently, the program has nine residents and nine clinical resident coaches in the field.
Dozier said the residency program is "fully funded” by the Teacher Quality Partnership grant. "We would not have been able to do the residency program without the funding,” she said. Dozier said she feels residency programs are a "better way to both recruit and prepare teachers for urban settings.” She also said, as Nawi did, that the programs take into account both coursework and the actual practice of teaching.
In addition to the programs created and expanded by the Teacher Quality Partnership grants, Race To The Top has also helped to fund some teacher residency programs, including programs in Washington, D.C., Syracuse, Delaware and Nashville.
President Obama has continued to support teacher residency programs through a variety of initiatives and grants. However, it is unlikely that these programs have brought "30,000 exceptionally well-prepared recruits to high-need schools.” We asked the Department of Education for information about the number of recruits, but the department provided no numbers. Obama has undoubtedly created more residency programs but without any evidence that the administration reached its goal of 30,000 recruits, we're rating this a Compromise.
Phone interview, Thalia Nawi, director of teacher residency program in Denver Public Schools.
Phone interview, Terry Dozier, director of the Center for Teacher Leadership at VCU
Email interview, Jane Glickman, spokeswoman for the Department of Education.
"Teacher Residencies Make Strides, Encounter Obstacles,” Education Week.
"VCU to create Richmond teacher residency program,” Richmond Times-Dispatch. http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/2010/may/02/b4-rskl02_20100501-190404-ar-157747/
"Denver Teacher Residency Program Awarded $8.2 Million Grant," Denver Public Schools Communications Office. http://communications.dpsk12.org/announcements/denver-teacher-residency-program-awarded-8-2-million-grant
Department of Education press release, 9/30/09. http://www2.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2009/09/09302009.html
Department of Education press release, 3/30/10. http://www2.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2010/03/03302010.html
KIPP DC Press Release, 6/29/11. http://www.kippdc.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/CTR-RTT-Press-Release-Final1.pdf
STEM Teacher Residency Program, University of Delaware. 10/21/11. http://sites.udel.edu/tot/2011/10/31/stem-teacher-residency-program/
Syracuse University News. http://syr.edu/news/articles/2011/soe-race-to-the-top-12-11.html
Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. http://www.mnps.org/Page81152.aspx
States to provide incentives to get good teachers to high-needs schools
President Barack Obama has packed a number of his campaign promises related to education into his "Race to the Top" program, which seeks to encourage innovative approaches to teaching and learning by having states compete for $4.35 billion worth of grants from the Department of Education. The program was funded through the Obama-backed economic stimulus package approved by Congress in February.
In a speech in Madison, Wis., on Nov. 4, Obama announced the criteria for states to win the grants.
One of those is to encourage the reward of effective teachers and to provide incentives to keep those teachers in struggling schools that need them.
"And that means creating alternate pathways to teaching for talented young people by expanding programs like the one used in Boston, where aspiring teachers work side-by-side with effective mentors in a yearlong residency," Obama said. "It means bringing quality teachers in -- it means bringing quality teachers to the neighborhoods that need them the most, because right now a lot of what happens is, is that some of the best teachers, as they get seniority, they move on to the places -- the school districts that pay better and, frankly, are easier to teach. And we've got to give them some incentives to stay so that the kids who need the most help are getting some of the best teachers."
The Notice of Priorities for the "Race to the Top" grants talks about "ensuring equitable distribution of effective teachers and principals."
Rewarded will be "the extent to which the State has a high-quality plan and ambitious yet achievable annual targets to increase the number and percentage of highly effective teachers and principals in high-poverty schools, and to increase the number and percentage of effective teachers teaching hard-to-staff subjects including mathematics, science, special education, English language proficiency, and other hard-to-staff subjects identified by the State or LEA (local educational agencies). Plans may include, but are not limited to, the implementation of incentives and strategies in areas such as recruitment, compensation, career development, and human resources practices and processes."
Competition for the grants will be conducted in two rounds -- the first starting this month and the second in June next year -- with winners announced in April and September next year.
But by establishing a competitive grant program that encourages the very thing Obama talked about in his campaign promise, we move this one to In the Works.
Department of Education, Press release: "President Obama, U.S. Secretary of Education Duncan Announce National Competition to Advance School Reform," July 24, 2009
Department of Education, "Race to the Top Fund"
Department of Education, "Race to the Top Fund; State Fiscal Stabilization Fund Program; Institute of Education Sciences; Overview Information; Grant Program for Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems; Notice Inviting Applications for New Awards Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009"
YouTube, President Obama on Race to the Top , July 24, 2009
Washington Post, Op-ed: "Education Reform's Moon Shot," by Arne Duncan, July 24, 2009
White House Web site, "Fact Sheet: The Race to the Top," Nov. 4, 2009