Monday, November 02, 2009

Reforming Teacher Education: What's the Budget?

If I wanted to set the tone for a national discussion on teacher education, the first thing I'd do is define the budget. How much money do we have to spend per teacher external to the system -- from philanthropy or state and federal grants, how much should a teacher candidate be expected to kick in, should teacher education programs run a "profit" benefiting their parent organization, how much, if any, should districts taking in new teachers be expected to spend on their training and development, how much free labor should teachers in training provide to districts?

Right now, the way the money breaks down in traditional and alternative teacher education is completely different.

Traditional = little external money / lots of candidate expenditure / often operating at "profit" for a university / little specific expense to districts / up to a year of free part/full time labor for the district.

Alternative TFA-style = LOTS of external money / no candidate expenditure / no money going out as "profit" / little specific expense to district for training / full time labor cost for people essentially learning on the job.

Residency: popular idea now (with good reason) but where's the money going to come from?

If we could start by saying, say, the federal government will kick in $30,000 per teacher, and that's your budget -- now what? We could have more of an apples to apples comparison about optimal teacher training systems.

Why don't people have to pay to get into TFA? Actually, that's a damn good question. There's excess demand. They should charge more!

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