- State and local district leaders should craft better policies for teacher residency and induction programs, and they should have mutually-reinforcing goals to improve teacher effectiveness and encourage more diversity in the workforce, according to a recent report released by the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE).
- States including Louisiana, Illinois and Tennessee are focusing on using teacher residency programs to combat isolated school cultures in some areas, as well as insufficient supports and resources for teachers who work with traditionally underserved student populations.
- Other states, including North Carolina, Hawaii and Connecticut, are focusing on creating stronger beginning teacher induction programs to improve their effectiveness, as well as student outcomes, over the first three years of their careers.
The lack of enough teacher diversity to mirror student populations has been a big concern for school districts recently. While teachers of color make up only 18% of the profession nationwide, the analysis released by NASBE says, students of color make up more than half of the population. Part of the reason for this gap is the lack of supports for teachers, especially at the beginning. Teachers of color are also concerned about insufficient opportunities for growth and accountability that can result in leadership roles.
Strengthening induction programs that provide teacher support for at least the first three years benefits all new educators and allows them a greater chance to face challenges confronting their own schools and districts, learn to be more effective and let them explore pathways in their district that can lead to more future opportunities. North Carolina, Hawaii and Connecticut are exploring expanded funding options that can help provide the additional support teachers need.
Teacher residency programs offer a more intense clinical approach to education that treats the field more like the profession it is. These residency programs are gaining popularity and are especially valuable in helping to prepare teachers for hard-to-staff positions that may require more specialized approaches to be effective. As more state and local school districts begin to see the results reaped from these residency programs, they may become more popular pathways to teaching excellence and school leadership advancement.