RELEASE: New Teachers Shouldn’t Be Forced to Sink or Swim, Says TeachStrong Coalition

The TeachStrong coalition releases a policy proposal recommending that states and school districts create or expand high-quality residency and induction programs for new teachers; these programs would accelerate the learning curve that teachers experience as they enter the profession and provide support in order to improve their practice at the beginning of their careers when it can make the most difference for students.

The TeachStrong campaign brings together more than 60 teachers unions; teacher voice organizations; and education reform, civil rights, and education policy leaders to make modernizing and elevating the teaching profession the top education policy issue of 2016.

Washington, D.C. — Today, the TeachStrong coalition—a diverse group of more than 60 education organizations—released a policy proposal calling on states and school districts to provide every teacher with high-quality residency and induction programs to ensure that new teachers are set up for success. The TeachStrong campaign is a coalition of leading education groups aimed at making modernizing and elevating the teaching profession the top education policy priority of 2016 so that students, especially those from low-income families, can be taught by great teachers. The campaign’s nine policy principles detail the need for comprehensive, systemic change to the teaching profession.

“TeachStrong’s policy proposal explains an essential gap in preparation that states and districts must address: New teacher preparation must include extended school-based practice and should draw on the pool of excellent, experienced mentor teachers,” said Anissa Listak, founder and CEO of the National Center for Teacher Residencies. “Making these shifts will lead to new teachers who are prepared to be effective with all students.”

TeachStrong believes that policymakers must invest in and develop policies that better recruit, prepare, support, and compensate teachers through all stages of their careers. The policy proposal released today calls for additional supports specifically designed for new teachers who should be ready to serve their students the moment they step into their own classrooms. TeachStrong’s new policy proposal offers the following policy recommendations for states and school districts to consider when establishing residency and induction programs:

  • States and school districts should create or expand high-quality residency and induction programs to ensure that all new teachers are set up for success.
  • States and school districts should ensure that residency and induction programs provide every new teacher with ample opportunities to practice new skills and gradually assume additional responsibility leading a classroom.
  • State and federal governments should use data on the performance of new and resident teachers, new teacher retention, and principal satisfaction with new and resident teachers to create and improve successful teacher residency and induction programs.
  • School districts, nonprofits, and colleges of education should form partnerships to create successful residency and induction programs.

“New Teacher Center knows that excellent teachers aren’t born—they are developed,” said Ellen Moir, founder and CEO of New Teacher Center. “Educators do not—and cannot—stop learning and improving following their initial preparation. The TeachStrong coalition’s latest policy proposal recognizes that the need to support all of our beginning educators with job-embedded induction is paramount in our efforts to improve student outcomes.”

“Our students suffer when their teachers have to learn their craft on the job because we don’t require residencies,” said Karen DeMoss, director of the Sustainable Funding Project at Bank Street College of Education. “Just as our doctors experience both coursework and paid clinical residencies, our preservice teachers should have the opportunity to put their theory into practice for an entire year before leading their own classes. TeachStrong’s release of this principle for quality residencies and induction shows the way for us to ensure that all students have strong teachers.”

Today, TeachStrong also released a new video—part of its Story Project—in which TeachStrong ambassadors Kyle Schwartz of Colorado, Ciana DeBellis of New York, Maureen Torrez of New Mexico, Tonia Holmes-Sutton of Nevada, and Heidi Welch of New Hampshire discuss the need to better support new teachers, and emphasize the importance of high-quality residency and induction programs that include mentor teachers.

The TeachStrong campaign has also released policy proposals on recruiting excellent and diverse teacher candidates, reimagining teacher preparation, and raising the bar for licensure. Throughout 2016, TeachStrong will release additional policy proposals as part of its effort to make modernizing and elevating the teaching profession the top education policy priority of 2016.

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