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Report Outlines Strategies to Prepare Teachers for Success in Response to Shortages

Report Outlines Strategies to Prepare Teachers for Success in Midst of Teacher Shortages

A new report from Bellwether Education Partners titled Rethinking Teacher Preparation: Empowering Local Schools to Solve the Teacher Shortage and Build Better Teachers outlines strategies to improve teacher preparation programs in California public schools. The report is in response to worsening teacher shortages throughout the state.

"The report's recommendations call for California policy makers to empower public schools and teacher preparation programs to build partnerships and encourage innovative pathways to the classroom that maintain high standards," said Bellwether Education Partners in a statement.

According to the statement, in the 2013-2014 school year, California hired over 6,000 teachers less than needed and that the year saw a 37% increase "of teachers working on emergency permits which do not require teacher training or ongoing support of any kind."

The company hopes its recommendations for strengthening teacher preparation programs will help California avoid an impending crisis.

"[A]ccording to a national study, 'the benefit to students of having a teacher from the best teacher preparation program is comparable to that of lowering class size by five to ten students.'"

"Unfortunately, California's current reliance on credential type as the determining factor in whether a teacher is labeled 'qualified' without taking classroom effectiveness into account hinders the state's ability to evaluate how "graduates are performing once they enter California schools, or whether some programs produce better teachers than others,' the report finds."

One of the biggest recommendations the report makes is an increase in partnerships between local schools and preparation providers; it highlights several important partnerships throughout the state that it says has driven recruitment numbers up and created a teacher workforce that best serves its students.

The report says in order to achieve successful partnerships, a district must focus on:

  • Creating open dialog between schools and programs on what defines teacher success in the classroom
  • Sharing information on hiring needs and desired skill sets
  • Collaborating on designing training programs
  • Ensuring appropriate in-class experiences, mentorship and residency programs to ensure teacher success
  • Focusing on bringing under-represented minorities into the teacher workforce to " to create deeper ties between teachers and the communities they work in, which in turn leads to better retention."

In order to keep said preparation programs going, the report recommends districts incentivize the program, encourage local teacher recruitment pipelines, create a way to evaluate the success of the program, reduce the reliance of credential type as the sole factor to label a teacher qualified, and lastly invest state resources into the programs.

"'To reach the goal of excellent teachers in every California classroom we have to be open to promising new approaches that are preparing teachers who are local, qualified, diverse, ready to meet the needs of their students, and committed to the profession and their school,' said Shane Martin, Ph.D., Dean of the LMU School of Education, whose partnerships with Los Angeles schools were highlighted in the report," according to the company's statement.

Read the full report here and comment with your thoughts below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

07/30/2015

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