The Boston residency program, with $15 million TQP dollars, will now recruit and prepare more than 540 teachers, who will train for more than a year and emerge with expertise in either working with second language learners or special needs students.
The Denver Teacher Residency, in partnership with the University of Denver (DU), also won a substantial award to focus on “growing” teachers from its own community – individuals who have the cultural competence to teach the district’s diverse students and are willing to teach more than a couple of years (unlike many other alternative certification recruits that have been hired recently). While policy pundits dismiss the need for teachers to earn advanced degrees (and higher pay), DTR promotes an 18-month Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction, coupled with a two-year induction program.
In the last round of TQP funding, UCLA and its highly touted Center X, in partnership with LAUSD Local District 4 and the Los Angeles Small Schools Center, are developing a powerful model for teacher education for high needs schools. The UCLA effort will pay very close attention to preparing teachers to work with second language learners (with a focus on theories of language structure, acquisition, and development) and on the resources necessary to provide low-cost housing to teacher recruits within the communities they serve. UCLA-trained residents are expected to conduct research into their practice to inform their own development and to assist the program in evaluating its effectiveness.
Could residencies — urban and rural — serve as harbingers of the teacher leaders needed for 21st century schools? Is it possible there may be a movement afoot to take teacher education seriously? Will our nation get over its dysfunctional infatuation with short-cut training? Stay tuned.
No doubt too many traditional education schools are not getting the job done, but neither are alternatives that offer miniscule training for teachers who teach for a short time, while lulling many policymakers into a sense of false security about the quality of the teacher supply lines.